It only takes until the second paragraph of GQ’s profile of Melania Trump for the condescending tone to break through.
The Donald’s wife, at their wedding, wore “a $100,000 Dior dress that laborers’ hands had toiled upon for a legendary 550 hours, affixing 1,500 crystals.”
Message: She’s a wealthy trophy wife who shies away from politics and doesn’t have much to say. A good mom, but not much more. Take this blind quote from a supposed friend: “She’s smart for the things she’s interested in, like jewelry. She’s not stupid, she’s not a bimbo, but she’s not especially clever.” Meow.
Writer Julia Ioffe did plenty of reporting for the piece, but makes clear her frustration that she doesn’t get much from her subject:
“She is just like her husband. She’s alluringly opaque. She makes meaningful eye contact and emphatically repeats affirmative, folksy banalities—she ‘has a thick skin,’ she takes things ‘day by day,’ she follows the news ‘from A to Z’—until the interviewer either is transported into a supra-verbal understanding or decides it’s pointless to press for specifics.”
The author even suggests that the former model had a boob job, which Melania denies.
But the egregious part here has to do with Melania’s family back in her native Slovenia. Before her dad married her mother, according to GQ, he had to pay child support to a girlfriend after a paternity suit. Melania has never met the guy, who the author tracked down.
What, therefore, does this “secret” half-brother have to do with the potential first lady or with Donald Trump? Why is this news? Has her dad in any way tried to become a public figure or feed off the Trump candidacy? Melania asked the magazine to respect her father’s privacy, but that request was denied.
In a Facebook posting, Melania says:
"The article published in GQ today is yet another example of the dishonest media and their disingenuous reporting. Julia Ioffe, a journalist who is looking to make a name for herself, clearly had an agenda when going after my family. There are numerous inaccuracies in this article including certain statements about my family and claims on personal matters. My parents are private citizens and should not be subject to Ms. Ioffe’s unfair scrutiny.”
I get that everyone’s life is fair game when they run for president, and that includes their immediate family. But does that extend to what Trump’s father-in-law, Viktor Knavs, did in Slovenia back in 1965?
I’ve had a couple of short conversations with Melania Trump and she seems like a savvy, classy lady with no desire to bask in the spotlight. Here’s how GQ describes her husband summoning her at a political event:
“Obediently, she teetered out onto the stage on vertiginous Louboutins, a long-legged doll in a summery dress the color of sea foam. She was unseasonably tan, clearly comfortable in this role: being admired as a specimen of physical beauty.”
Too bad the magazine could find little to admire in her beyond that.
Update: Julia Ioffe stands by her story and says it was fact-checked. She has been hit by a wave of anti-Semitic slurs and threats online, which is a despicable and troubling response no matter what the merits of the piece.
Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of "MediaBuzz" (Sundays 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.