33 photos show how Melania Trump has evolved as first lady

Melania TrumpMelania Trump.Win McNamee/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump's campaign was a family affair, with his eldest daughter Ivanka leading the charge.
  • Though his wife Melania spent the first few years of her husband's political career out of the spotlight, she has emerged as one of the most closely watched figures in the White House.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When President Donald Trump entered the White House, many speculated that his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump would take on the traditional role that a first lady fills - hosting events, championing causes, standing at the president's side.

First lady Melania Trump stayed back in New York while their son Barron finished the school year, and Ivanka was much more visible at first. Melania didn't move to the White House until June 2017.

Two years later, Melania has cemented herself as a constant presence in Americans' lives.

The first lady has planned state visits, hosted children's groups, and celebrated holidays in the "People's House." But with more visibility has come more scrutiny, and Melania has had her share of controversies.

Here's a look back at Melania's first two years in the White House.

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Despite being pregnant with her third child, Ivanka initially took the lead as a more vocal figure on the campaign trail while Melania, a self-described "full-time mom" took care of the Trumps' 10-year-old son.

Despite being pregnant with her third child, Ivanka initially took the lead as a more vocal figure on the campaign trail while Melania, a self-described "full-time mom" took care of the Trumps' 10-year-old son.

Source: Vanity Fair

Both were formally included in election festivities in accord with presidential tradition.

Both were formally included in election festivities in accord with presidential tradition.

Source: Vanity Fair

Melania made headlines then for her classic wardrobe choice, which prompted many comparisons to former first lady Jackie Kennedy.

Melania made headlines then for her classic wardrobe choice, which prompted many comparisons to former first lady Jackie Kennedy.

Source: Town & Country

Melania took center stage at the glamorous inauguration ball.

 Melania took center stage at the glamorous inauguration ball.

Melania carried out her first official engagement with Donald when they hosted the Japanese first couple at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Melania carried out her first official engagement with Donald when they hosted the Japanese first couple at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

She was also notably pictured at his side with female lawmakers in the Oval Office when he signed a bill to promote women's education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math.

She was also notably pictured at his side with female lawmakers in the Oval Office when he signed a bill to promote women's education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Though the first lady was present for the bill's signing, it was Trump's daughter and adviser Ivanka who appeared to spearhead the initiative, reportedly telling press ahead of the ceremony she believed it is "vital" that young "students become fluent in coding and computer science."

Ivanka and Melania were side-by-side for the Trump administration's visit to the Vatican in May 2017.

Ivanka and Melania were side-by-side for the Trump administration's visit to the Vatican in May 2017.

Source: USA Today

In June 2017, Melania finally moved to the White House, and Ivanka focused on her role as White House adviser.

In June 2017, Melania finally moved to the White House, and Ivanka focused on her role as White House adviser.

A few weeks after she arrived in Washington, Melania accompanied the president to Europe, where they had a press-heavy Bastille Day celebration with French President Emmanuel and first lady Brigitte Macron.

A few weeks after she arrived in Washington, Melania accompanied the president to Europe, where they had a press-heavy Bastille Day celebration with French President Emmanuel and first lady Brigitte Macron.

Source: Business Insider

In August 2017, Melania accompanied the president to the site of Hurricane Harvey. On the way, Melania drew widespread criticism for looking out of touch after she was pictured boarding a plane in heels.

In August 2017, Melania accompanied the president to the site of Hurricane Harvey. On the way, Melania drew widespread criticism for looking out of touch after she was pictured boarding a plane in heels.

Source: Vanity Fair

Following the lead of previous first ladies, Melania has hosted several public events at the White House. She made headlines when she continued former first lady Michelle Obama's tradition of hosting student groups for gardening on the White House's South Lawn.

Following the lead of previous first ladies, Melania has hosted several public events at the White House. She made headlines when she continued former first lady Michelle Obama's tradition of hosting student groups for gardening on the White House's South Lawn.

Source: Business Insider

To celebrate Halloween, the Trumps got in the spirit as they handed out candy to children and military families who visited in costume on the South Lawn.

To celebrate Halloween, the Trumps got in the spirit as they handed out candy to children and military families who visited in costume on the South Lawn.

Source: Business Insider

She marveled at the White House staff's handiwork in decorating for her first Washington Christmas.

She marveled at the White House staff's handiwork in decorating for her first Washington Christmas.

Source: Business Insider

She even hosted a group of children to construct wreaths in honor of the holiday.

She even hosted a group of children to construct wreaths in honor of the holiday.

Source: Business Insider

The first couple then left Washington for their glamorous New Year's Eve at Trump's private club, a tradition that pre-dated their time in Washington.

The first couple then left Washington for their glamorous New Year's Eve at Trump's private club, a tradition that pre-dated their time in Washington.

Source: Business Insider

But she made a stunning return to Washington for the president's first State of the Union, sporting a suit many pointed out shared the #MeToo movement' signature color.

But she made a stunning return to Washington for the president's first State of the Union, sporting a suit many pointed out shared the #MeToo movement' signature color.

White clothing has also been associated with women's suffrage.

Source: Business Insider

Melania has also taken center stage in hosting the Easter Egg Roll, which is customary for first ladies.

Melania has also taken center stage in hosting the Easter Egg Roll, which is customary for first ladies.

Source: Business Insider

Melania was pictured alongside the last four presidents after former first lady Barbara Bush's April funeral, which she attended alone.

Melania was pictured alongside the last four presidents after former first lady Barbara Bush's April funeral, which she attended alone.

Source: Business Insider

Melania and her staff planned the details for the Trump administration's first state visit, for which they hosted the French first couple.

Melania and her staff planned the details for the Trump administration's first state visit, for which they hosted the French first couple.

Source: Business Insider

Melania was by the president's side for state visit activities, and was described by French first lady Brigitte Macron as "really fun."

Melania was by the president's side for state visit activities, and was described by French first lady Brigitte Macron as "really fun."

Source: Business Insider

For Melania's April 26 birthday in 2018, the president told Fox News he got her "a beautiful card and beautiful flowers".

For Melania's April 26 birthday in 2018, the president told Fox News he got her "a beautiful card and beautiful flowers".

Source: Business Insider

Melania came into her own as an active part of the White House when she announced her own campaign focused on childhood well-being.

Melania came into her own as an active part of the White House when she announced her own campaign focused on childhood well-being.

Source: Business Insider

After an unannounced surgery in May, Melania disappeared for several weeks and sparked concern, speculation, and conspiracy theories, all of which she and her spokesperson denied.

After an unannounced surgery in May, Melania disappeared for several weeks and sparked concern, speculation, and conspiracy theories, all of which she and her spokesperson denied.

Source: Business Insider

Melania then came into the crosshairs of the Trump administration's controversial policy of separating families at the US-Mexico border after she sparked criticism and confusion when she wore this jacket while in transit to a Texas immigration detention center.

Melania then came into the crosshairs of the Trump administration's controversial policy of separating families at the US-Mexico border after she sparked criticism and confusion when she wore this jacket while in transit to a Texas immigration detention center.

Source: Business Insider

The jacket inspired similar versions at protests against the Trump administration's immigration policies.

The jacket inspired similar versions at protests against the Trump administration's immigration policies.

Source: Business Insider

After the jacket incident, Melania took a second trip to the border, which the president said she returned from "really saddened by the plight of the people" at the border.

After the jacket incident, Melania took a second trip to the border, which the president said she returned from "really saddened by the plight of the people" at the border.

Source: New York Post

She renewed her commitment to promoting childhood wellness by announcing a trip to Africa, as has been traditional with many first ladies before her.

She renewed her commitment to promoting childhood wellness by announcing a trip to Africa, as has been traditional with many first ladies before her.

Source: Business Insider

As the 2018 holiday season came about, Melania plunged into her second year of White House decorating duties.

As the 2018 holiday season came about, Melania plunged into her second year of White House decorating duties.

Source: Business Insider

At Trump's 2019 State of the Union, Melania found herself back in the political spotlight after turning up in black for the speech, sharply contrasting female Democrats who wore white to honor suffragists.

At Trump's 2019 State of the Union, Melania found herself back in the political spotlight after turning up in black for the speech, sharply contrasting female Democrats who wore white to honor suffragists.

Source: The Washington Post

The first lady showed off her softer side for her second annual solo visit with sick children for Valentine's Day.

The first lady showed off her softer side for her second annual solo visit with sick children for Valentine's Day.

Source: Business Insider

The first lady's outfit choice didn't disappoint for her first welcoming ceremony by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The first lady's outfit choice didn't disappoint for her first welcoming ceremony by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Source: US Magazine

While presiding over the all-American July 4 celebration that included military tanks, Melania raised eyebrows when she wore a rainbow dress and shoes instead of the expected red, white, and blue.

While presiding over the all-American July 4 celebration that included military tanks, Melania raised eyebrows when she wore a rainbow dress and shoes instead of the expected red, white, and blue.

Source: The New York Times

When she visited a field of American flags that represented orphaned children, many of whom lost their parents to the opioid crisis, the first lady added a touching personal side to her patriotic duties.

When she visited a field of American flags that represented orphaned children, many of whom lost their parents to the opioid crisis, the first lady added a touching personal side to her patriotic duties.

Source: The Herald-Dispatch

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