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U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attend the 60th Annual Red Cross Gala at Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., February 4, 2017.
Reuters/Carlos Barria
Highly photographed.
THE ART OF THE DEAL

Melania Trump views being First Lady as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for her brand

By Steve Mollman

Last August, the British tabloid Daily Mail published a story that could have left readers with the impression that Melania Trump once worked as a prostitute. It retracted the story in September and issued an apology. That’s not good enough for her.

On Monday (Feb. 6), the wife of the US president refiled a libel lawsuit against the publisher in New York. (An earlier filing in Maryland was rejected on jurisdictional grounds.) Her lawyer Charles Harder—who won Hulk Hogan a $140 million verdict against Gawker—filed the $150 million suit, which reads in part:

Plaintiff had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person… to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world… These product categories would have included, among other things, apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care and fragrance… As a result of defendant’s publication of defamatory statements about plaintiff, plaintiff’s brand has lost significant value, and major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her have been lost and/or significantly impacted.

The suit suggests Trump views being First Lady as a potential business opportunity, where she could help launch a brand as “one of the most photographed women in the world.”

Meanwhile, Politico estimates her husband’s campaign paid his companies—including his golf courses—over $12 million from the time he launched his presidential bid until the end of last year.