As she’s barely spoken publicly since her husband, Donald Trump, became president, every word that’s come from Melania Trump‘s lips has been worth noting—even if they’re reported by suspiciously anonymous “sources.” They’re especially remarkable if they happen to line up with Melania’s public, on-the-record wish to retreat to a deserted island. Altogether, the buzz paints a picture of a first lady who desperately wishes she could escape the White House. This storyline, even without the rumors, is plain enough from her constant stoicism, which has been impressionable enough to make the theory that she’s been using a body double for her public appearances seem to hold some weight.
On Sunday night, People got its hands on the latest from those “sources” supposedly close to Melania who’ve been feeding the press information. Their statement that she’s “furious” over the “24/7 tornado” her life has become since her husband took office isn’t so groundbreaking on its own, but it is significant that Melania has put two and two together and realized she’s not the only family member with this problem. (Her stepdaughter Ivanka, along with her husband, Jared Kushner, have lately been in the headlines almost as frequently as the president and first lady.) “What’s happening is exactly what she didn’t want to happen,” the source continued, implying that Melania has also realized they aren’t the only family to face these issues. “They’ve literally become like the Kardashians: scandals, divorces, headlines.”
The more you think about it, the comparison is actually quite astute. There are the obvious similarities: generations and generations of a family commanding the center of the media’s attention—often as a result of their own efforts—as well as, of course, dominating and upending the landscape of reality TV. But, no doubt much to Melania’s chagrin, upon closer inspection, there are actually many more, much subtler similarities between the two. From Kanye West’s and Josh Kushner’s allegiance as their families’ single relatively woke member, to Rob Kardashian’s and Tiffany Trump’s connection as the neglected sibs, here’s a guide to the eerie similarities between the two families currently ruling America.
A Truly Scary Amount of Power
Trump is, plain and simple, the President of the United States—and, thanks to his determination—far from the only member of his family with an official White House title. Through endless self-promotion and captivation of the public eye, though, the Kardashians have become pretty much as influential as the Trumps in their own arenas. Consider how much even just 20-year-old Kylie Jenner has the world wrapped around her finger: She kept the media and public absurdly obsessing over solving the mystery of her pregnancy for months, and, upon re-emerging, recently made a casual remark about Snapchat that ended up causing the company’s stocks to plummet.
A Way Too Publicly Politically Incorrect Parent
Okay, Caitlyn Jenner and Donald Trump are 100 percent on different levels when it comes to not being PC: Jenner is nowhere near declaring that Mexicans are rapists, or referring to parts of Africa as “shithole countries.” Still, it’s worth noting that, though she has toned things down a bit lately, Jenner has also proven to be quite conservative over the years, voting for Trump, whom she’s said seems to be “very much for women”; standing with politicians like Ted Cruz, even though they’ve worked to suppress transgender rights; and so staunchly preaching her Republican politics that she even swatted a professor who disagreed with her with a rolled-up newspaper on camera in her show I Am Cait.
A Superstar Businesswoman
It’s been said and proven so often that no further evidence is necessary: Like Paris Hilton before her, Kim Kardashian managed to turned a sex tape into a full-fledged empire. Meanwhile, Ivanka has taken advantage of her father’s often less-than-positive presence in the public eye to launch her own career long before she ended up in the White House, starting her own line of diamond and gold fine jewelry over a decade ago, which wound up having flagships in SoHo and on Madison Avenue. There’s also, of course, her fashion line, which was quite successfully sold at stores like Macy’s before her father had to go and ruin it. (She’s since moved on to, ironically enough, writing her second self-help book to date.)
A Gratuitous Number of Family-Branded Lines
Ivanka is hardly alone in making some money off her own name: In addition to the infamous Trump University and the Trump Organization, which consists of around 500 business entities, Trump has a winery that produces tens of thousands of cases of wine each year. (Never mind that he doesn’t drink.) All that and Jared Kushner’s real estate and development companies have caused more than enough questions about political conflict of interest—almost as many as the number of namesake lines successfully owned by all the Kardashians and Jenners. Kylie Cosmetics is set to be worth $1 billion by 2022—a game Stormi is already getting in on at just two months old with her very own collection. There are too many other entrepreneurial pursuits to list here, but many of them are definitely moneymakers: Kim Kardashian’s app, for one, has generated tens of millions of dollars.
A Quietly Influential Powerhouse of a Matriarch
She may try to keep things low-key, but Kris Jenner’s ability to strategically promote her children’s careers has necessitated the invention of the term “momager.” Similarly, though she rarely speaks in public, Melania Trump has been rumored to wield much more power in the White House than anyone thought, influencing her husband and therefore policy. She’s also been able to navigate and shape the narratives around Trump’s recent alleged affairs by simply being selective with her appearances and her hand-holding, the latter of which she’s made sure from the start to only do on her own terms.
Extremely, Um, Eye-Catching Family Portraits
Kylie Jenner’s long-awaited snaps with her newborn daughter Stormi Webster are almost too easy of an example here, given that Jenner hid her pregnancy for months. The Kardashians’ annual family Christmas card, on the other hand, has not failed to attract attention recently, from a glimpse at the pre–Keeping Up past to maddening clues about Kyle and Khloé’s pregnancies.
A Definitive Ranking of Kardashian Christmas Cards, From Least Kardashian to Most Kardashian
Mispelling of Khloe’s name aside, this card is most definitely the least Kardashian thanks to one notable exception: as if Kris Jenner would ever miss a photo opp nowadays.
While this was years before Kim was running around with Karl Lagerfeld and Riccardo Tisci, you can still see the pain in her eyes over having to wear ill-fitting, matching motorcycle jackets with the male-heavy Jenner clan.
A Kardashian never misses the chance for a full-scale, glam-squad heavy photoshoot. The fact that they skipped a prime opportunity for the 2009 holiday card in favor of an outtake from Khloe’s wedding is very off-brand.
As everyone who has caught a glimpse of Keeping Up With the Kardashians or paged through an Us Weekly in the past decade knows, this family is not without some serious drama. The party-themed, all smiles 2012 card is just a little too happy.
Another all-white card, but at least this one comes with some angst (Hi, Khloe) and tense smiles that nod to some underlying drama. Bonus points for a tiny baby Kendall Jenner and an appearance from Santa.
Here we have some high glamour Kardashians, as we’ve come to know and love—at least, until the Yeezy athleisure movement came in full-force. The fact that Kim’s shade of red is just slightly off from the rest of the clan is a great easter egg.
The 2013 David LaChapelle-lensed card was a tipping point for the family, as they went from “delightfully zany” to just “full-on insane.” There are just so many things to look at here—which, truly, could be said about the family in general.
A distinct departure from the bonkers previous card, once Kim and Kourtney started building their own brood, they let the kid’s take center stage in the family’s holiday card. A cute thought, but if rumors are too be true, the concept might be a little too crowded come next year.
You want drama? Glamour? Welcome to the 2010 Kardashian family card. This was the first year to let each sister’s individual style stand out, a nod at many fashion empires to come.
2011, however, was the card to end all cards. Case in point? It was in 3-freaking-D. Your Christmas card could never. But hey, what are Kardashians if not ahead of their time?
Unfortunately, the Trumps’ family snapshots haven’t proven to be quite so positive. There have been years of creepy photos of Trump getting close to his daughter Ivanka, whom he has quite the disturbing history of publicly sexualizing, but the campaign image of his children (sans the ever-neglected Tiffany) that Trump posted shortly before the collection was terrifying enough to launch what seemed like an endless number of memes.
An Adorable Child Unfortunately Caught Up in the Mess
It’s best to leave children out of it, but we’re going to quickly mention that as villainous as his parents may be, Barron Trump is pretty darn adorable. By nature of being 12 years old, though, he naturally pales in comparison to five-year-old Penelope Disick and of course her four-year-old BFF North West.
At Four Years Old, North West Is Already Chicer Than You On Instagram
Out in New York City with mom Kim Kardashian, wearing matching furry coats. 2016.
Throwing serious side-eye while wearing sunglasses on vacation with dad, Kanye West.
Dressed like a princess with her best friend, Ryan, and cousin Penelope Disick.
Trying on mom’s thigh-high, silver Balenciaga boots. “Didn’t think it would happen this soon…my baby girl stealing my shoes. At least she has good taste,” wrote Kardashian.
Visiting Bambi’s friends while in character at Disneyland.
Taking a bath with a few glowing accessories, 2016.
Trying out Snapchat’s flower crown and somehow avoiding looking basic.
Wearing matching custom Vetements with Mom while heading to Dad’s concert.
Wearing matching custom Vetements with Mom while heading to Dad’s concert.
Accessorizing a velvet slip dress with furry slides and a white baseball cap.
With Mom, Dad, and President Barack Obama. “Oh Northie!!! North fell and was crying so Potus gave her White House M&M’s. She smiled when I opened the box but I wanted to save them for memories so wouldn’t let her eat them so she cried again,” Kardashian wrote.
Again, with President Obama, this time playing it cool.
Playing the part of a very chic tennis girl in a white velvet slip dress and matching white hat.
Getting a backstage tour with Ariana Grande before the singer’s stadium tour.
Giving aunt Kylie a run for her lip empire money with goth black lips.
Cozing up to Mom in a fashionable leopard print top and black choker.
Posing for a family portrait on Easter with Mom, Dad, and brother Saint.
Working hard as the fit model for Mom and Dad’s new clothing line.
“That time North gets a time out & is a little too quiet… I go in her room to check on her & she’s in the bathroom, made her own spa & tells me she’s chilling out,” wrote Kardashian.
“she has no clue what 100 million followers means but she’s excited cause i’m excited lol thanks for the follows and the love” captioned Kardashian.
Of the mommy-and-me style, Kardashian wrote, simply: “Besties!”
For a Mother’s Day post, Kardashian wrote, “Thank you to my babies for choosing me and allowing me to be your mom. You’ve given me a deep love I can’t explain. I’m always here to teach you and protect you! Thank you for making my Mothers Day so special!”
An Ever-Neglected, Almost-Forgotten Family Member
Whereas Barack Obama dropped his daughter Malia off to college in tears, Tiffany Trump quietly made her way to Georgetown University with only her mother, Marla Maples, whom she’s said raised her “like a single mom”—hardly a surprise given Trump’s track record of pretty much ignoring his youngest daughter, cutting her off from perks like personal credit cards that the rest of his children enjoyed. (He, Melania, and Ivanka all ignored her most recent birthday on social media.) Especially now that she’s fresh from a breakup, Tiffany may be feeling even lonelier these days, but she’s definitely not alone: The Kardashian and Jenner sisters have long left no room in the spotlight for their 31-year-old brother, Rob, and have done little to encourage his appearance in the public eye.
A Single Relatively Woke Family Member
There’s Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband; and then there’s Josh Kushner, his handsome brother (and boyfriend of Karlie Kloss), who attended the Women’s March and reportedly donated $50,000 to the March for Our Lives in the fight for gun control. Then there’s also Kanye, whose slew of problematic comments we can pretty much always forgive thanks to the legendary time after Hurricane Katrina when he publicly proclaimed that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
A Book That Managed to Ruffle the Family’s Feathers
Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House was predicted to be so inflammatory that it sold out at bookstores on the first day of its release, in part because Trump sought to block its publication and, in repeatedly stating his outrage, essentially promoted the damning book for free. At least Wolff was never a member or even supporter of the Trump family: That was in part what made Caitlyn Jenner’s tell-all memoir, The Secrets of My Life, so damaging that it managed to tear the Kardashians apart, to the point that Kendall Jenner called it “insane.”
A Truly Unique Use of Twitter
Alas, it’s been years since Kanye West has posted on his since-deleted Twitter account, which once never failed to deliver a constantly amusing source of eye-catching tweets, from all-caps messages to unexpected musings like “I hate when I’m on a flight and I wake up with a water bottle next to me like oh great now I gotta be responsible for this water bottle.” Such statements are certainly more welcome than the vitriol that comes from Trump’s account, though revisiting his pre-presidential, surprisingly strong opinions on, say, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s relationship have certainly proven amusing.
A Relationship That’s the Center of Conspiracy Theories
Over the course of his presidency, and pretty much ever since they’ve been married, there’s never seemed to be even a hint of romantic spark between Trump and Melania. (Though there have been, of course, several rumors of his cheating on her.) Meanwhile, though she recently spoke out about the matter in a Vogue cover story, the internet still isn’t sure if Kendall Jenner’s relationship with Blake Griffin is actually happening.
Of course, there are many, many differences between the two families, too. The power of the Kardashians, for example, probably isn’t in danger of taking a big hit after the midterms. (Though we’re certainly hoping the power of the Trumps will.)