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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
A Revealing Looks At First Lady Melania Trump. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired March 10, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Full CNN Special Report, "Melania Trump: The Making of a First Lady."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The following is a CNN Special Report.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Her journey to the White House spans two continents.
MELANIA TRUMP, U.S. FIRST LADY: I'm from Slovenia and I grew up there as a teenager.
KAYE (voice-over): Melania Trump, Slovenian models turned wife of a bombastic billionaire suddenly in the spotlight herself.
M. TRUMP: I will fight until the end, because I don't want to damage my reputation and my name.
KAYE (voice-over): Answering questions about her husband's past.
M. TRUMP: He's an adult. He knows the consequences.
KAYE (voice-over): And making promises about the future.
M. TRUMP: I will be different than any other First Lady. I will help him (ph). I will help children.
KAYE (on camera): Tonight, a revealing looks at First Lady Melania Trump. She's more than a so-called First Lady of Fashion. She's a devoted mother who speaks six languages. And after watching her husband surge to stunning victory is now on her way to becoming a global icon.
I'm Randi Kaye and this is a CNN Special Report, "Melania Trump: The Making of a First Lady.
(voice-over): The future first lady always turn head. Even when she was young, growing up in her home country of Slovenia.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is you maiden name? It's not Trump, obviously. What is it?
M. TRUMP: Knauss.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Knauss? M. TRUMP: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: K-N-A-U-S-S? Oh, from Slovenia.
M. TRUMP: From Slovenia.
KAYE (voice-over): She was born Melania Knauss on April 26, 1970. That was long before Slovenia split from communist Yugoslavia, so she grew up under communist rule.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP: Her father was apparently a member of the Communist Party, which was a very unusual thing. He sold cars. He built the family a nice home outside of the central city.
Her mother was a pattern designer in a textile factory. She worked hard as was common for women in eastern block countries.
M. TRUMP: My sister, Ines, who is an incredible woman and a friend and I were raised by my wonderful parents. My elegant and hard working mother, Amalija, introduced me to fashion and beauty. My father, Viktor, installed in me a passion for business and travel. Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflect to this day on me and for my love of family and America.
KAYE (voice-over): Friends in her hometown remember Melania Knauss as sophisticated. She didn't drink or stay up late, nor that she like being the center of attention.
CARL SFERRAZZA ANTHONY, HISTORIAN, NATIONAL FIRST LADIES' LIBRARY: One of her classmates recall how she would get cat calls and boys would sort of make nasty silly remarks at her. Her friend would notice that Melania would sort of pull up inside of herself and look ahead as if she didn't hear it.
KAYE (voice-over): She immersed herself in her studies of design and architecture and she dreamed big.
ANTHONY: She also decided early on that Slovenia was too small for her, that she was determined to get out into the larger world, bigger world.
KATI MARTON, AUTHOR, "HIDDEN POWER: PRESIDENTIAL MARRIAGES THAT SHAPED OUR HISTORY": She's obviously a very pretty girl and was told that from the beginning and therefor that kind of made modeling and fashion and style and all the rest of it, an obvious outlet.
KAYE (voice-over): Melania Knauss put college on hold by the time she was 20 to pursue modeling jobs in Milan and Paris. She got commercial work too, playing of all things what appears to be the first female president of the United States in this 1993 ad.
Paolo Zampolli saw her in Milan and was so impressed. He suggested she move to New York City to model for his agency.
PAOLO ZAMPOLLI, FOUNDER, I.D. MODEL MANAGEMENT: She had a great portfolio and I told her, "Melania, would you like to try the American market."
KAYE (on camera): And she said?
ZAMPOLLI: Yes. She was very interested and a few months later she came to the States.
KAYE (voice-over): At the time, she was 24. Able to speak six languages, including Italian, French, and German, but immediately felt like New York was home.
M. TRUMP: Just the energy of New York, the opportunities, different world, different culture. It really attracted me.
[21:05:11] KAYE (on camera): Well, how would you describe her style and her beauty?
MARTON: She has a very strong sense of style and this has been her life since she was a child. Fashion and fashion magazines and modeling. She has a sure sense of style and she has a beautiful body.
KAYE (voice-over): Then in September 1998, at 28, two years after the future First Lady arrived in New York City, came a chance meeting that would change her life forever.
M. TRUMP: We met at a fashion party. It was big fashion party that my friend organized, a fashion week and he invited me. That's how we met Donald.
KAYE (voice-over): Donald as in Donald J. Trump.
She met her future husband and the man who would become the nation's 45th President at a party at Manhattan's famous Kit-Cat Club.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was actually supposed to meet somebody else. There was this great super model sitting next to Melania. I was supposed to meet the super model and they were saying, "Look, there's so and so." I said, "Forget about her. Who's the one on the left?" And it was Melania.
KAYE (voice-over): Paolo Zampolli hosted the party and introduced them
ZAMPOLLI: Very simple I said, "Melania, please meet my friend Donald. Donald, please meet Melania."
KAYE (voice-over): She told "People Magazine" she thought the billionaire businessman had, "sparkled."
(on camera): How did they react when they first met each other.
ZAMPOLLI: I saw that there was some kind of chemistry. Some type of magic, as I'm calling it. I am still calling it magic.
M. TRUMP: He asked me for the number and I said, "I will not give you my number. So, if you give me your numbers I will call you." And he was known as kind of a lady's man. KAYE (voice-over): Melania Knauss waited a week to call Donald Trump, later telling "GQ Magazine," "I was not star struck and maybe he noticed that."
M. TRUMP: We went on a date and we had a great time. We went Wumba (ph). That was a place in New York downtown.
KAYE (voice-over): At the time they met, Donald Trump was 52. Melania Knauss is just 28. But even with more than decades between them, the romance grew until 2000. That year, Donald Trump considered running for president on the Reform Party ticket and the couple broke up briefly.
M. TRUMP: I don't want to change him. I don't want, you know, to say, "Come home and, you know, be with me." I don't want to change him. I want to give him space and I think that's very important in the relationship.
KAYE (voice-over): Coming up, how the couple got back together? And the Slovenian model becomes a Manhattan mom.
M. TRUMP: Barron and I, we will give a lot of kisses, a lot of hugs, a lot of love. And I think that's the most important for me and for him also.
[21:11:48] KAYE (voice-over): Despite her successful modelling career, Melania Knauss never craved the spotlight outside of that.
D'ANTONIO: Melania Trump could have been happy retiring from the fashion world and raising a family and keeping a home and never appearing in the press.
KAYE (voice-over): After a brief breakup, she and Donald Trump got back together and from that point on, there was no escaping the public eye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Melania, Trump.
KAYE (on camera): How much would you say their relationship raised her profile?
D'ANTONIO: Oh, I think very few people would have known much at all about then Melania Knauss, but for Donald Trump. She was not a person who would be on page six of "The New Pork Post" prior to this relationship. She would never have been on Howard Stern. This is just not her world.
KAYE (voice-over): Suddenly, she was christening a crews ship, appearing in the movie "Zoolander" and posing in the 2000 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
M. TRUMP: It's the biggest issue of the year. It's once a year. It's very important for the model to be in.
KAYE (voice-over): There were also appearances on Trump's hit reality show "The Apprentice."
D. TRUMP: OK, Nick, Melania loves your show, loves your show.
M. TRUMP: So cute. It's really cute.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
HOWARD STERN, RADIO PERSONALITY: Well, Robin --
KAYE (voice-over): And yes, on Howard Stern's radio show.
STERN: Are you in love with Trump.
M. TRUMP (via telephone): Yes, we have a great time.
STERN: Do you want to marry him?
M. TRUMP (via telephone): I'm not answering that.
KAYE (voice-over): She did answer that on April 26, 2004. Nearly six years after Donald Trump first laid eyes on Melania Knauss, he proposed with a 15-carat, $1.5 million diamond engagement ring.
The future Mrs. Trump telling "The New York Post," "It was a great surprise, we are very happy together." The couple wed, January 22nd, 2005.
D'ANTONIO: I think of their wedding as almost a Broadway production.
KAYE (voice-over): Hundreds attended the star-studded reception at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Country Club in Palm Beach, Florida. Cristal Champagne was served along with a 57-pound Grand Marnier wedding cake.
D'ANTONIO: There was a moment when Donald wanted to sell the broadcast rights to this wedding and Melania put her foot down at that.
KAYE (voice-over): The new Mrs. Trump wore a costume made Christian Dior gown from France, adorned with 1,500 crystals, estimated coast, $100,000 to $200,000. "Vogue Magazine" featured her on the cover.
After the wedding, the Trump settled in at their 3-story Manhattan Penthouse overlooking Fifth Avenue.
They granted Larry King, their first post wedding interview on CNN.
M. TRUMP: Kind of a joking --
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Do you use the name Trump?
M. TRUMP: Yeah, I used the name Trump. Yes.
KING: Because you're proud of it.
M. TRUMP: I'm proud of it. Yes, I am.
KAYE (voice-over): And that name brought opportunity.
The chief executive for Aflac personally chose Melania Trump to star in this ad saying she's the bride of the year.
[21:15:07] Then came in an inevitable questions about motherhood.
KING: Do you want to parent? Do you want to be a mother?
M. TRUMP: Yes. We want to have a family. We want to have a baby together.
D. TRUMP: You'll be an amazing mother. There's no -- I have no doubt about that. She'll be an amazing mother.
KAYE (voice-over): On March 20th, 2006 the couple welcomed their son, Barron William Trump. His birth made headlines around the world. He was featured on "Extra."
M. TRUMP: Hello, (inaudible).
KAYE (voice-over): Which got a tour of his nursery and a glimpse of the gold baby carriage. There was also a photo spread in "People Magazine," which revealed the newest Trump heir had his own floor in the couple's penthouse. Melania Trump makes it clear she will be heavily involved in raising her son.
M. TRUMP: I'm raising him and I just want to raise him the right way. I don't want nanny raising him.
D'ANTONIO: She deserves enormous credit for sheltering her son from the mail strum that is Trump world. She sheltered him and allowed him to just be a kid and that's a pretty great thing.
KAYE (voice-over): Just months after Barron was born, Melania Trump got her United States citizenship.
M. TRUMP: I obeyed the law. I did it the right way. I didn't just sneak in and stay here.
KAYE (voice-over): As Barron grew, motherhood remained her top priority.
M. TRUMP: Say hi, Larry.
BARRON WILLIAM TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: Hello. I like my suitcase. I have to go to school now.
M. TRUMP: Yeah. You will have lunch and then you go to school.
B. TRUMP: No, I'm going to go.
M. TRUMP: Yeah. First, you will have lunch and then you go to school.
KING: Is he a little Donald?
M. TRUMP: He is. He's bossing everybody around the house.
KING: Does he fire anybody yet?
M. TRUMP: He did. Yes, actually he did. He's firing the housekeeper, the nanny many times.
KAYE (voice-over): Melania Trump taught Barron her native Slovenian language and until the campaign, always picked Barron up from school.
M. TRUMP: And its unconditional love and I enjoy every day. I love being a mom. A very special time, because sooner or later he will have wings to fly and I will be always there for him, but he will be very independent and ready to go.
B. TRUMP: Mommy, can I bring this to school?
M. TRUMP: No.
EMILY JANE FOX, STAFF WRITER, VANITY FAIR: She was a very hands on mother. This is the wife of a famous billionaire and not every mother at the school was as involved as she was.
KAYE (voice-over): Mrs. Trump found time for personal projects, too, launching a skin care line made with caviar and her own jewelry line on QVC. And despite their hectic schedules, those who know them say she remains a devoted wife and mother in a loving relationship.
M. TRUMP: We are very strong. We are two independent people thinking on their own and have a very open conversation. And I think that's very healthy for the relationship.
D'ANTONIO: I see in Donald this surprising almost tender quality toward Melania. When we were meeting, he said to her, "Well, tell him what a great husband I am, babe."
KAYE (on camera): He used the word babe.
D'ANTONIO: Yeah, he used the word babe. And he -- she looked at him and kind of laughed and resisted. And I think she was tormenting him a little bit for fun. And I think this is something that President Trump needs in his life. I think he needs someone who can be playful, who can challenge him a little bit, who might not be frightened of him. And I don't think Melania is a bit afraid of him.
KAYE (voice-over): Coming up, Donald Trump announces he's running for president and Melania Trump faces new challenges and controversies.
M. TRUMP: I will fight until the end because I don't want to damage my reputation and my name.
[21:22:45] KAYE (voice-over): The New York billionaire and his model wife in the Trump Tower escalator ride that is now part of history.
D. TRUMP: Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for President of the United States and we are going to make our country great again.
KAYE (voice-over): June, 2015, Republican Donald Trump enters the presidential race. A decision his wife Melania Trump says they made as a family.
M. TRUMP: I gave him my support and I said to him, "You know, you cannot just talk, you need to go and run."
KAYE (voice-over): Do you think she wanted him to run for president?
FOX: When she said, "Look, you have to do what you think is right for the country," but definitely expressed her trepidation with the decision when he first came to her with the idea.
KAYE (voice-over): Her husband's idea landed Melania Trump smack in the middle of one of the ugliest presidential campaigns in history.
(on camera): Would you describe her, would you consider her reluctant campaigner?
D'ANTONIO: Oh, I think she was a reluctant campaigner. I don't think that she relishes public speaking. I don't think that she wants to be caught in the controversies.
KAYE (voice-over): Like the backlash from her primetime address at Republican National Convention.
M. TRUMP: I'm so proud of your choice for President of the United States, my husband Donald J. Trump.
FOX: There was a bit of her speech that very clearly was borrowed from a speech that Michelle Obama gave at the Democratic National Convention years earlier.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER U.S. FIRST LADY: You work hard for what you want in life.
M. TRUMP: You work hard for what you want in life.
OBAMA: That your word is your bond.
M. TRUMP: That your word is your bond.
OBAMA: Pass them on to next generation.
M. TRUMP: Pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow.
FOX: That's a big deal to plagiarize on a world stage at a national convention where her husband is receiving the nomination. To have such a big moment for her and for the campaign botched in such a major way, that's really just devastating.
KAYE (voice-over): Within days, an in-house writer for the Trump organization took the blame saying passages Melania Trump told her she'd liked from Michelle Obama's speech made its way into the freezing of the final draft. The writer called it a mistake. [21:25:14] D. TRUMP: She made a mistake and, you know, people make mistakes. You've made mistakes, we all make mistakes.
KAYE (on camera): Did the campaign fail Melania Trump to some extent?
D'ANTONIO: She should have been given a lot of help, a lot of really good attention before that speech was finished and delivered and it was obvious that no one vetted it in the way it should have been reviewed.
KAYE (voice-over): About the same time, questions surfaced about Mrs. Trump's path to citizenship after "The New York Post" published nude photos of her. The photos appeared to be taken in 1995. Though she had always said she came to the U.S. as a Slovenian immigrant the following year.
M. TRUMP: I came to United States, to New York in 1996.
FOX: The issue was whether or not the visa she had when she first came over to work as a model allowed her to work or simply to visit.
M. TRUMP: I followed the law. I follow a law the way it's supposed to be. I never thought to stay here without papers. I had visa.
ZAMPOLLI: Mrs. Trump came with a visa, and I recall I sign the visa. And that was some time in '96.
KAYE (voice-over): So you helped her arranged to secure the H-1B visa?
ZAMPOLLI: Yes. As a model agency, I arrange a model visa.
KAYE (on camera): Just to be clear, though, did she ever work in the U.S. illegally.
ZAMPOLLI: Not to my recollection.
KAYE (voice-over): Mrs. Trump took to twitter writing, "I have at all times been in full compliance with the immigration laws of this country. Any allegation to the contrary is simply untrue."
D. TRUMP: Was that a great introduction?
KAYE (voice-over): Then candidate Donald Trump promised to provide proof at a press conference at a later date.
D. TRUMP: Oh, and by the way, they said my wife, Melania, might have come in illegally. Can you believe that one? No, no, no. They said, "Headlines, maybe she came in illegally, maybe." Let me tell you one thing. She has got it so documented.
KAYE (on camera): Are you still waiting for that press conference.
FOX: I think everyone is still waiting. I think no one will be surprised that that press conference will never come.
M. TRUMP: We love you New Hampshire. We together, we will make America great again.
D'ANTONIO: I think there is an issue with her immigration history and there is a doubt. It may never be resolved.
KAYE (voice-over): Nor may questions about Melania's college degree and whether or not she earned one.
FOX: Once people started calling attention to it her website was scrubbed and with a reference to her being a college graduate was removed.
D. TRUMP: How -- did you said I won? Did I win?
KAYE (voice-over): And there was also this, an anti-Trump Super PAC ad aimed at Mormon voters put out before the Utah caucuses. The group used an old nude photo of her with the caption, "Meet Melania Trump, your next First Lady. Or you could support Ted Cruz on Tuesday."
Senator Cruz denied having anything to do with it, but Donald Trump hit back tweeting, "Lying Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a "GQ" shoot in his ad. Be careful Lying Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife."
The issue injected Melania Trump's modeling career into the campaign, something she didn't shy away from.
M. TRUMP: I think people will always judge. I was a very successful model. And I did some photo shoots. Yes, they were really risky, but nothing more than you see every year in sport illustrated.
ANTOINE VERGLAS, PHOTOGRAPHER: Beautiful
KAYE (voice-over): Photographer Antoine Verglas took that picture and others for the January 2000 issue of British "GQ Magazine."
VERGLAS: It was just an idea to have a beautiful James Bond girl, type of, and I thought that, you know, the fact that we could use a jet and have her play that role, it was just too perfect. We were trying to profile a beautiful woman, sexy woman. A little bit provocative.
M. TRUMP: I'm very proud I did those pictures. I'm not ashamed of my body.
FOX (voice-over): Melania keeps being reminded of why she didn't want to do this. I don't envy the position that she's been in and she didn't ask for it.
KAYE (voice-over): Coming up--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa, yes, whoa.
KAYE (voice-over): -- the tape.
D. TRUMP: When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything. KAYE (voice-over): And the question, how would Melania Trump respond?
[21:33:15] M. TRUMP: If you elect him to be your president, he will fight for you and for our country.
KAYE (voice-over): On the campaign trail, Melania Trump was more often seen than heard, but when she spoke, she never wavered in her public support.
M. TRUMP: He has a great heart. He is tough. He's smart.
KAYE (voice-over): Even early on when then candidate Donald Trump referred to a Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers, she had his back.
M. TRUMP: He's not racist. He's not anti-immigrant. He wants to keep America safe.
KAYE (voice-over): And when he announced his plan to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S.
M. TRUMP: We need to screen them who is coming to the country. He wants to protect America.
KAYE (on camera): Would you say as far as the campaign goes she helped or hurt her husband's campaign?
D'ANTONIO: I think that ultimately Melania Trump helped her husband win the presidency. She made a few key appearances in places where people were very receptive to her. And I think she add a touch of glamour and also affirmed him in a way that only she could.
KAYE (voice-over): Including when he needed it the most.
D. TRUMP: You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait.
KAYE (voice-over): On October 7the, 2016, just weeks before Election Day, the Trump campaign in crisis mode. A recording of the candidate on "Access Hollywood" 11 years ago had just been released. On it, Donald Trump is heard bragging about not only kissing women, but grabbing women's genitals, all without consent.
[21:30:00 D. TRUMP: And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you want.
D. TRUMP: Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.
FOX: You know, this was a campaign full of bombshells and full of moments where everyone's head was spinning and the internet was falling off its access. This was a moment where truly the world stopped and everyone said it's over. The campaign is over.
KAYE (voice-over): The world waited and wondered just how Melania Trump would respond. She issued a short statement the next day calling her husband's words unacceptable and offensive, but also said he has the heart and mind of a leader. 10 days after the tapes came out, she broke her silence on national television.
M. TRUMP: I was surprised because that is not the man that I know. And he was lead on like add on from the host to say dirty and bad stuff. He apologized. I accept his apology. I hope the American people will accept that as well. That's not the sexual assault. He didn't say he did it.
MARTON: She did what she had to do. She defended him. It was a critical moment in the campaign.
D'ANTONIO: She steadied herself and then she went forward and spoke for him. I think that made a huge difference, especially with white women voting for Donald Trump. I think this thought to themselves as well. This woman is no pushover.
KAYE (voice-over): And at the debate, just days after that tape was released, Mrs. Trump raised eyebrows by wearing a hot pink Gucci blouse with a so-called pussy bow. It set off a frenzy given her husband's choice of words on the "Access Hollywood" tape.
(on camera): Do you think that was a deliberate move on her part?
FOX: If that was her way of speaking out, it was a very smart way of doing it. It was kind of a move that was true to herself. It was very fashion. It was a little bit cunning.
KAYE (on camera): What do you make of that blouse at that moment?
VANESSA FRIEDMAN, FASHION DIRECTOR, NEWYORKTIMES.COM: Commentators in talking has kind of throwing their hands there and saying, "Oh my god, Melania is secretly subversive." You know, she's actually -- she's making a comment on her husband and you know, she's not on board and she's mad at him.
I'm not entirely sure that was true. I think she probably thought it was a pretty blouse. She probably thought it was appropriate. You know, it's high necked. It was covered. It was feminine. And my guess is that was far as it went.
KAYE (voice-over): That same month, the campaign was also pushing back against allegations by dozens of women that Donald Trump had kissed them or groped them without consent. Some of their stories date back 30 years. Mr. Trump denied all of it.
M. TRUMP: I believe my husband. I believe my husband. This was all organized from the opposition.
D. TRUMP: Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me --
KAYE (voice-over): And when her husband turned the tables on the accusers mocking some of them publicly, his wife stood by him.
M. TRUMP: He treats everyone equally. So, if you're a woman and he attacks that they attack him, he will attack back. No matter who you are. We all human and he treats them equal as man.
KAYE (voice-over): One accuser was a "People Magazine" writer who had profiled the couple in 2005. She claimed that Donald Trump forcibly kissed her at their Palm Beach home while a very pregnant Melania Trump was in another room. The "People Magazine" writers said she ran into Mrs. Trump on Fifth Avenue months after the incident and she says Melania Trump asked her why she hasn't seen her around recently.
FOX: That is the portion of the story that Melania chose to take issue with.
KAYE (voice-over): Mrs. Trump's lawyer sent a letter to "People Magazine" demanding a retraction saying that meeting on Fifth Avenue never happened.
M. TRUMP: I was never friend with her. I would not recognize her. I would not recognize her on the street or ask her why we don't see her anymore. So, that was another thing like people come out saying lies and not true stuff.
KAYE (voice-over): She briefly retreated from the campaign trail. But then Melania Trump came out strong in the final days to make her closing argument on behalf of her husband.
M. TRUMP: He knows how to make real change. Make America great again is not just some slogan. It is what has been in his heart since the day I met him.
FOX: It was a moment where everyone stepped back and said, "Why hasn't she been doing this more often? She is magnetic. She is magnanimous. And she is really a force here and such a good image for the Trump campaign to project."
M. TRUMP: God bless this beautiful country.
KAYE: And on election night when Donald Trump J. Trump wins the White House, Melania Trump makes history too as our next first lady.
[21:40:10] D' ANTONIO: All of a sudden she's gone from being the wife of this celebrity T.V. show host to the wife of the President of the United States.
KAYE (voice-over): Coming up, as her husband prepares to move to the White House, all eyes as usually are on Melania Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Melania, who you're wearing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You look beautiful.
M. TRUMP: Thank you. KAYE (voice-over): It's a question Melania Trump has been asked over and over.
M. TRUMP: I'm wearing Roberto Cavalli.
KAYE (voice-over): And it's always a different answer.
M. TRUMP: Marc Bouwer.
KAYE (voice-over): From Roberto Cavalli to Gucci to Michael Kors, it's no wonder style watchers are already calling Melania Trump the First Lady of Fashion.
FRIEDMAN: Melania Trump tends to wear already very well established designers.
KAYE (on camera): Big brands.
FRIEDMAN: Big brands.
KAYE (on camera): Yeah.
FRIEDMAN: Definitely. I mean, brands that I think are, you know, labels of achievement and aspiration. The kind of things you wear when you want to show you've arrived.
KAYE (voice-over): On her wedding day back in 2005, Melania Trump wore this Christian Dior gown.
[21:45:02] FRIEDMAN: That was (inaudible) and that 13-foot train, 1,500 crystals, John Galliano for Dior found when she went to Paris.
KAYE (voice-over): She mainly favors European brands, but mixes in American labels like Derek Lam and Ralph Lauren, too. And she often shops online.
Melania Trump seems to be charting her own path in terms of style. How unique is that?
FRIEDMAN: It's pretty unique, but also an expression for somewhat conflicted relationship with the American fashion industry, which started after the election when a number of designers stood up and said, "Well, I'm not going to dress Mrs. Trump. You know, I'm not going to work with her on her clothing."
You know, one of the funniest moments for me was that Derek Lam was one of those designers, when he said that he wouldn't actively work with the new administration. And, you know, she wore a Derek Lam sweater to watch the Super Bowl in Palm Beach because she could buy it.
KAYE (voice-over): Her first magazines cover as first lady, "Vanity Fair Mexico," a photo featured in "GQ" a year before. The glossy cover captures her twirling not spaghetti, but a string of diamonds. The magazine refers to her as the new Jackie Kennedy, a comparison that's been made before. M. TRUMP: I see around that they compare me to Jackie Kennedy. It's an honor, but, of course, we are 21st century and I would be different. And she had the great style and she did a lot of good stuff, but this is different time now.
KAYE (voice-over): During a photo shoot for "Harper's Bazaar," Melania Trump called Mrs. Kennedy's style elegant, simple and feminine. She may have been trying to emulate that with this Ralph Lauren powder blue skirt suit on inauguration day.
FRIEDMAN: It certainly looked a lot like the outfit Mrs. Kennedy has worn on inauguration day. Her hair was kind of bouffant like Mrs. Kennedy. She had gloves. She had matching pumps.
MARTON: It was a knockout. I couldn't walk down Pennsylvania Avenue in those stilettos, however.
ANTHONY: She is developing what you might call a signature style. It is very simple classic lines, but what she wears does not distract from her. And so one always' focused on her face and her hair.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you put up with it?
M. TRUMP: A bit heavy (ph).
FRIEDMAN: She likes bright colors. She likes very simple clothing. You know, often sheath dresses. Generally now sort round necks and fairly covered and its actually not very Trumpian (ph) or what we think of this very Trumpian. You know, it doesn't match the kind of Versailles look of the apartment, for example.
KAYE (voice-over): On Election Day, she wore a simple sleeveless Michael Kors with a Balmain coat dread over her.
FRIEDMAN: That's the queen's essential one look. You know, it's the jacket or the coat slung over shoulder, it's not actually with the arms through. It's a very New York look. It's very cool. It's very collected.
KAYE (voice-over): On election night she wore this $4,000 Ralph Lauren one-slit pantsuit. On New Year's Eve, it was a Dolce & Gabbana dress. And at one inaugural ball, it was this Herve Pierre dress she helped design.
(on camera): Can the American woman relate to her?
FRIEDMAN: I don't think did that promise of the Trump administration is about being every woman.
Do they really hold themselves up as aspiration as something that everybody should want. And, you know, Melania is that trophy.
D. TRUMP: An amazing mother, an incredible woman, Melania Trump.
KAYE (voice-over): For her speech at Republican National Convention, she stepped out in this pricey cotton silk Roksanda dress. A few nights later, this white Sindhi dress with hand embroidered made and crystal detail that she reportedly bought online at Neto Portei (ph). For Mrs. Trump observers say there have been a few fashion missteps.
FRIEDMAN: I think what we're seeing as her kind of undergoing a crash course in First Lady 101. The Derek Lam sweater when photographed was slightly sheer. You know, that's a little racy for a First Lady and probably wasn't intentional.
KAYE (voice-over): And that dress the First Lady wore on red heart day.
FRIEDMAN: They hadn't thought through what it might say that she was wearing a (inaudible), which is, you know, which is a French brand in her first public appearance since her husband had, you know, stood on the steps to the Capitol and said, "My first rule is buy American."
KAYE (voice-over): Despite it all, to some her style exhibits strength and independence.
ANTHONY: Melania Trump is to my imagination, emerging as rather a Mona Lisa of the first lady, because it is by her appearance and her posture that she seems to signal a strong impression. It's a centered quality. It's an independent quality.
[21:50:04] KAYE (voice-over): An independent quality that adds to the mystery of Melania Trump.
D'ANTONIO: I see in some ways as the same expressions on her face every moment, I know that she's hiding from us. And to some degree I feel great empathy for her, because it would be hard to be the one who's the subject of so much attention and who knows that everyone's trying to figure out what's going on inside of you when all you really want it to be a private person.
KAYE (voice-over): Coming up, First Lady Melania Trump takes Manhattan?
D. TRUMP: I Donald John Trump do solemnly swear --
KAYE (voice-over): January 20th, 2017, Donald J. Trump is inaugurated as President of the United States. At his side, his wife and former Slovenian model, Melania Trump.
(on camera): She is only the second foreign-born first lady. Is that a big deal?
ANTHONY: I think it's a big deal because it's only occurred twice in over 200 years. And the first time it happened was with a woman who was born in England. So, she spoke English and who had an American father. That's very different with Melania Trump.
FOX: Most first ladies who come into office have been a senator's wife or a governor's wife or some kind of political spouse before. Melania was the wife of a New York flashy billionaire. [21:55:05] KAYE (voice-over): Still, inauguration weekend the new First Lady dazzled crowds.
M. TRUMP: I'm honored to be your First Lady.
KAYE (voice-over): But soon after attending church at the National Cathedral, she swiftly returned to New York City with her son. She and Barron Trump would not be moving into the White House, at least not right away.
For 12 days after the inauguration, the First Lady is nowhere to be seen. Then, she reemerges, greeting her husband in Palm Beach, Florida, as he disembarked from Air Force One. That weekend, they attended the Red Cross ball. But when the Prime Minister of Japan and his wife visited the White House, Melania Trump was absent.
D'ANTONIO: She wasn't really engaged with Mrs. Abe, and so she went around Washington on her own. This is a really significant breach of protocol.
KAYE (voice-over): When asked about this, the White House explained that Melania Trump wanted to greet Mrs. Akie Abe, but that Mrs. Abe had already made commitments.
Melania Trump later flew with the president and the Abe's to Florida, spent the weekend at Mar-a-Lago and did some sightseeing together. A few days later, Mrs. Trump returned to the White House for the first time in nearly two weeks to greet the Israeli Prime Minister and his wife.
(on camera): How important is it that the First Lady be by the president's side?
MARTON: First Lady can be tremendously important and play a really important role for the rest of us by reaching her husband whom she knows better than anybody and telling him what's really going on in the land, because her security bubble is somewhat less than, than his. And she can be a real truth teller.
KAYE (voice-over): A time Mrs. Trump will spend more time at the White House eventually, the hiring of staff for the east-wing, a Social Secretary and a Chief of Staff.
D. TRUMP: I think that Melania is going to be outstanding. Its right, she just opened up the visitor's center, in other words touring at the White House.
KAYE (voice-over): As First Lady, she has promised to focus on cyber bullying and children and what else remains to be seen.
M. TRUMP: It is never OK when a 12-year-old girl or boy is mocked, bullied or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground and it is absolutely unacceptable when it's done by someone with no name hiding on the internet.
FOX: There is a little bit of irony there considering her husband has been known to be quite a cyber bullyer (ph) himself, but it is an issue that resonates with many moms and parents and children across the country.
KAYE (voice-over): At a recent thank you rally in Melbourne, Florida, Mrs. Trump appeared to be playing a bigger role, reciting the Lord's Prayer.
M. TRUMP: Let us pray. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
KAYE (voice-over): And introducing her husband after her own remarks.
M. TRUMP: I will always stay true to myself and be truthful to you, no matter what the opposition is saying about me.
KAYE (on camera): How do you see her as First Lady?
D'ANTONIO: I really don't expect Melania Trump to become a prominent figure in the way that Rosalynn Carter or Nancy Reagan or the Bush women or Michelle Obama were. It's just not in her, I think, to be that engaged with the American public.
FOX: It's a great responsibility and probably a very terrifying one as well. And so, I think maybe let's give her time to settle in and adjust.
MARTON: It's a daily grind and with a total loss of privacy, but with enormous benefits. The first thing you see in the morning is the Washington monument, your mode of transport is Air Force One and every time you walk into the room they play "hail to the chief."
The rewards are enormous, but you have to make sacrifices for that role, too. You have to do your part. You have to prove your self worthy of this great traditional historic role.
D. TRUMP: The First Lady of the United States.
KAYE (voice-over): When Melania Trump moves into the White House this year, she will be 47 years old and the 47th First Lady.
[22:00:08] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, dozens of U.S. attorneys are had roughly fired by the Trump administration. This is "CNN Tonight", I'm Don Lemon.