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Did the first lady avoid holding Trump’s hand again? Let’s go to the tape

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump and Melania Trump walked across the South Lawn after arriving at the White House after a trip to Ohio on Monday.

By Globe Staff 

Did Melania Trump avoid holding her husband’s hand again?

Let’s go to the tape.

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On Monday, as President Trump and the first lady walked before a phalanx of cameras on their way to a tax reform rally in Ohio, the president seemed to reach for — and then fumble to find — his wife’s right hand. After what appeared to be a botched attempt, Trump momentarily stopped and repositioned himself on his wife’s opposite side. There, he gestured briefly at the press before the couple continued across the South Lawn of the White House toward Marine One.

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As she frequently does, the first lady was wearing her overcoat — a bright lemon-yellow one paired with a matching turtleneck — hanging loosely on her shoulders, her arms at her sides beneath it. She carried her handbag in her left hand under her coat.

While the president awkwardly moved to Melania’s left side, the first lady glanced away from the press for an instant.

If Melania was rejecting the president’s hand-holding overture, it wouldn’t be the first time. Last May, Melania famously — and quite obviously — swatted Trump’s hand away as the couple walked the red carpet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, at an airport welcoming ceremony in Israel.

A picture of the couple’s return from Ohio on Monday afternoon also appear to show the president groping for the first lady’s hand — and once again getting nothing but coat.

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Recent reports have put the president’s marriage under scrutiny. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that porn star Stormy Daniels allegedly received $130,000 before the November 2016 election to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006, just months after Melania gave birth to their son Barron.

More details of the alleged affair were included in a 5,000—word story in gossip magazine In Touch. Daniels gave In Touch a detailed interview about her alleged experiences with Trump back in 2011, but the account was not published until a few weeks ago.

Not long after the publication, Melania canceled plans to accompany the president to the economic forum in Davos, Switzerland, citing scheduling issues. Though the first lady did attend the State of the Union address Jan. 30, she traveled in a separate vehicle, which, according to CNN, was a “break with longstanding tradition.”


Hayley Kaufman can be reached at hayley.kaufman@globe.com.