The Female Politician Who Might Be Coming Between Melania And Donald Trump

Correction 07/24/2023: A previous version of this article misidentified Kari Lake as Arizona governor. Lake ran for governor in 2022 and lost.

Melania and Donald Trump's marriage has been a source of curiosity and speculation from the get-go. There was much twittering when Slovenian model Melania Knauss (born Melanija Knavs) began seeing the billionaire businessman before his second divorce was final. The murmurs grew even stronger when the businessman set his sights on the White House and succeeded. Melania gamely played the gracious hostess and child welfare advocate as first lady, but it was clear her heart wasn't really in the job. As the Chicago Tribune commented on the day the Trumps left for Florida, Melania's priority was supporting her husband, no matter what. "Melania and Donald Trump are one and the same," the op-ed declared. "She has never pretended to be anything else."

But that loyalty has been tested more than once, and Melania is reportedly none too pleased. Adult film star Stormy Daniels claimed to have had an affair with Trump shortly after Melania had given birth to their son, Barron, and her lawyer unsuccessfully sued Trump for defamation over denials that he had paid Daniels to keep their relationship quiet. Sources told People the former first lady was fuming over the scandal, but opting to take the ignore-it-and-it'll-go-away approach. Now, it appears another woman may be causing trouble for the Trumps for an entirely different reason.

Kari Lake is reportedly getting a little too close to home

Ever since Donald Trump announced his third run for the presidency, he's been getting a boost from both his MAGA faithful and from political figures, such as Reps. Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, Among his most vocal boosters is former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, whose Instagram feed is devoted to her appearances at Republican rallies and declarations of loyalty to Trump and his policies. Lake has a special bond of sorts with Trump: She, too, lost a recent election bid, and she is convinced fraud was to blame. Even after a judge upheld the confirmation of Katie Hobbs as governor in May 2023, Lake announced she would appeal. In the meantime, Lake is said to have her eye on a bigger career goal: becoming Trump's running mate. 

But Lake's ambition may end up working against her. In June, People magazine reported on Lake's frequent visits to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort during the quiet summer season. Saying she was there more often than Melania Trump, the source claimed she had virtually moved into one of the property's suites. On the Daily Beast's podcast, "The New Abnormal," reporter Zach Petrizzo recently claimed the former first couple is upset at the implication Lake is taking Melania's place. "They meet for dinner or what have you, and Melania Trump and her people are very cognizant of headlines, and, of course, this didn't really sit well," Petrizzo said.

Trump may go Greene with his running mate

Though Kari Lake is still chummy with Donald Trump — she tweeted they recently attended a screening of the film "Sound of Freedom" — her odds of becoming his running mate appear to be dropping. Her extended stays at Mar-a-Lago (which her spokesperson has denied) are reportedly a source of tension between the Trumps, and given the embarrassment of the Stormy Daniels court case, Trump may not want to risk hurting his marriage further and entering the White House without a first lady at his side. Lake's "spotlight hound" nature may be off-putting to Trump, his advisors told the Daily Beast. "She is a woman that knows what she wants and knows how to get it," said one.

So who will Trump pick for veep?  Since Mike Pence can safely be ruled out, the buzz is turning toward another outspoken woman. Despite her rep for verbal gaffes, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene might appeal to both Trump and his voters. Like Lake, Greene is a hard-line MAGA who preaches the narrative of Trump as superhero. Only he, she declares, can defeat Joe Biden and rescue America. And while Greene may aspire to being Second Lady, she's a less dynamic presence than Trump and poses less of a threat, attention-wise. On the other hand, Trump may go in a different direction altogether. Staffers claim he's not entirely sold on the idea that he needs a female running mate to make him more appealing to voters.