In her two years as first lady, Melania Trump hasn’t exactly been known to speak freely with the press outside of prearranged interviews or engagements. Off-the-cuff comments have been particularly rare. Indeed, her steely silence has been notable (CNN recently pointed out that she said very few words in public during her recent trip to Europe alongside the president), and perhaps the most famous words associated with her have been those on the back of a certain jacket.
But on Wednesday, on the occasion of Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda’s visit to the White House, Trump abruptly changed her ways. But first, she and Donald Trump met with the press in the Oval Office, where, as usual, Donald did the talking, fielding questions such as how Melania and Kornhauser-Duda planned to spend the day. “Well, the first ladies know each other. They get along with each other. They are going out to lunch right after this,” he said, turning to look at Melania for confirmation.
To be clear, to say that the first ladies went “out” to lunch is rather generous; they simply dined in the Green Room of the White House. Still, Melania nodded all the same—at which point Trump would have usually resumed his monologue. But this time, he held her gaze, then tilted his head to the side: “Would you like to say something?” he asked his wife. And, shockingly, even to right-leaning outlets like the Daily Mail, Melania obliged.
“It is great to have them here again,” Melania said, before putting the focus on Kornhauser-Duda. “I’m looking forward to talking with Mrs. Duda about children, what they are facing in our country, what they are facing in Poland, as we did the first time. And we will continue to do so.”
On the surface level, the comment is not noteworthy, but the fact that she said anything at all—and, even rarer, something apparently impromptu—is significant. And yet, when it came to Kornhauser-Duda, the first lady made headlines for abruptly changing her ways.
You might not recognize her name, but chances are you’re familiar with Kornhauser-Duda, thanks to a video of her appearing to expertly snub President Trump as he went in for a handshake in 2017. (The clip later turned out to be misleading; Kornhauser-Duda had already shaken the president’s hand but had to wait to shake the first lady’s until after a break for applause.)
But to Melania, Kornhauser-Duda is familiar in other ways. Not only is she also a first lady, but she knows what it’s like to be married to a controversial right-wing world leader. They both like to wear hot pink, and, according to both of their public statements and the comment that Melania made in the Oval Office, they also both like children!
Melania’s relationship with Kornhauser-Duda is pretty much as old as her relationship with the White House; having put off the move for five months, she’d only been living there for a few weeks before she and Donald Trump paid a visit Poland to meet the Dudas. Clearly, they got along well enough; just over a year later, the Dudas paid a visit to them in Washington, D.C. (On that occasion, the first ladies dined in the Red Room; at this point, they only have blue and yellow left.)
“We’ve become friends,” Donald Trump said of his and Melania’s relationship with the Polish first family on Wednesday. That seems true enough, given that only eight months have passed since they last met. And now, they’ve already begun to plan their next hangs, with an even shorter wait time: “We’re looking very seriously at going back to Poland,” the president said.
As of right now, it looks like that’ll be in September. Unfortunately, it would be on the somber occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion. But on the bright side, at least Melania will see what may be her favorite foreign first lady friend again.