First Lady-elect meets First Lady

Melania Trump met yesterday with Michelle Obama at the White House. I doubt that two more physically attractive women have ever met in this context.

The meeting went very well, according to all accounts. I suspect that’s what “all accounts” would say regardless of how the meeting actually went.

However, I’d be very surprised if Michelle Obama was other than gracious and helpful to Melania Trump. The First Lady has barely put a wrong foot forward in eight years.

These meetings don’t always go well. Mamie Eisenhower was very cold towards Jackie Kennedy, whom she referred to as “the college girl.” Mrs. Eisenhower was more than twice as old as Mrs. Kennedy.

Jacqueline Kennedy was recovering from a C-section. The operation had occurred just two weeks before their meeting. Her staff asked in advance for a wheelchair. Mamie Eisenhower didn’t provide one.

Edith Wilson reportedly was beastly towards Florence Harding when they met following the election of Warren Harding. She declined to show her successor around the premises, assigning that task to a housekeeper (if I recall correctly).

Mrs. Wilson had, in many respects, been the acting president for about a year and a half during which time President Wilson was largely incapacitated due to illness. This doesn’t excuse her behavior towards Mrs. Harding, but may, in part, explain it.

Florence Harding was probably used to being snubbed. It is said that Washington society didn’t receive her well during her husband’s time as U.S. Senator.

Despite Edith Wilson’s snub, Florence Harding would later invite her back to the White House for tea. Mrs. Wilson, in turn, invited Mrs. Harding, by then an ex-First Lady, to Woodrow Wilson’s funeral in 1924.

“The Duchess,” as Mrs. Harding was known, wasn’t as gracious as she might have been to Harding’s vice president, Calvin Coolidge, and his wife Grace. According to reliable accounts, she vetoed the idea of establishing a vice presidential residence, saying that a hotel would do.

The Coolidge’s ended up at the Willard, I believe.

I doubt that Cal minded. The frugal New Englander and his family lived for many years in a rented duplex in Northampton, Massachusetts.

In any case, Mrs. Harding and Mrs. Coolidge seem to have gotten along well in the end.

Grace Coolidge was a model First Lady. By modern standards, Michelle Obama has been too, in my opinion.

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