Melania Trump is leaving the White House tomorrow, but couldn’t help dismissing another American tradition on her way out. The soon-to-be former FLOTUS notably did not invite incoming first lady Dr. Jill Biden over to the White House for the ceremonial tea and tour, reports the New York Times, in the first snub of its kind in modern history.
It’s mortifying, and not for Biden. Her spokesman, Michael LaRosa, told USA Today that “We have not heard from the First Lady’s office,” and a source confirmed to the Times that since President Trump is still delusional about having lost the election, it “would not make sense” for Melania and Biden to meet. Actually, it would make perfect sense, but the Trumps can’t help but be infantile and petty even on their way out.
Luckily, the Biden family really couldn’t care less (“do u?“). Ashley Biden, daughter of Joe and Jill Biden, said “No, I don’t think they’re doing the traditional protocol, which is unfortunate,” in an interview with the Today Show. That word “unfortunate” is doing a lot of work, and Ashley shadily followed it up by remarking that “We’re all OK with it.” That source at the Times seconded the Biden’s family’s chill by noting that Jill knows “her way around [the White House], anyway.” As the former second lady, Jill has been to the White House plenty of times and doesn’t need Melania to show her where to find the thermostat.
Many of us have never paid much attention to the norms and traditions around the peaceful transfer of power in America’s democratic process. We’ve taken it for granted — that the losing candidate would concede, the outgoing administration would meet with the incoming, and the FLOTUS would show the new first lady-elect around the White House. It is, after all, the new first family’s home for the next four years. But the distinct absence of these traditions feels like an affront to our collective sense of decency. That despite everything we try to teach kids, being nice to other people is for uncool squares. Graciousness is just like, so pathetic.
But here’s what’s actually pathetic. The Trump family’s willingness to publicly nurse their own pettiness over the election loss is, frankly, second hand embarrassing; it’s like, come on people, get over yourselves. Take the election L and move on. Melania may be snubbing Jill, but she’s really just making herself look like the mean girl that no one wants to sit with at lunch anymore.
The inauguration takes place Wednesday, January 20 at 12pm.