In a lawsuit filed today, First Lady Melania Trump revealed her intention to leverage the presidency to ink new “licensing, branding, and endorsement” deals worth many millions of dollars. In the filing, Melania Trump’s lawyer described the position of First Lady as a “once-in-a-lifetime” money making opportunity. She told the court she intended to pursue deals in “apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care, and fragrance.”
These kind of endorsement deals would be especially lucrative while Melania Trump is First Lady and thus “one of the most photographed women in the world.”
The First Lady’s lawsuit is against the Daily Mail, which published a story repeating allegations in a Slovenian magazine that Melania Trump once worked as an escort. The allegations were unsupported and the Daily Mail has since issued a retraction.
According to the lawsuit, because of the Daily Mail’s inaccurate reporting, these business opportunities will be less available to her while her husband is in the White House.
The strategy Melania Trump lays out in her lawsuit is similar to the one already being executed by President Trump.
Donald Trump maintains full ownership over his businesses and recently doubled the initiation fee for his private club in Florida, Mar-a-lago, from $100,000 to $200,000. He then spent last weekend at Mar-a-lago attending events with members. Trump is effectively using his position as president to make membership at Mar-a-lago more attractive and then monetizing the increased demand.
Trump is also taking advantage of the increased prominence of his brand and plans to triple the number of hotels with his name in the United States.
Despite calls from a bipartisan group of legal and ethical experts, Trump has refused to divest his myriad holdings. He claimed to have a plan to “separate” from his businesses but it was little more than smoke and mirrors.
Since Trump’s businesses receive a steady stream of payments from foreign governments, his continued ownership violates the Constitution.