France’s first lady had a great time with the Trumps during her three-day visit to the U.S. with husband Emmanuel Macron, but she told a French newspaper that she felt sorry for Melania Trump because she’s a virtual prisoner in the White House.
Melania “cannot do anything,” Brigitte Macron told Le Monde on Friday, apparently referring to security constraints, the newspaper reported. “She can’t even open a window at the White House. She can’t stick her nose outside. She’s much more constrained than I am. Me, every day, I’m out in Paris.”
No wonder she appears to look so grim, Brigitte Macron said. “Everything is interpreted, over-interpreted,” she added, perhaps referring to scrutiny by the media and the public. “She’s a woman with a lot of character but tries to hide it. She laughs very easily about everything but shows it less than I do.”
The two first ladies got along swimmingly, said Macron. Melania was “really fun,” she said. “We have the same sense of humor. We laugh a lot together.” Macron called her “kind, charming, intelligent and very open.”
France’s first lady admitted that she has to deal with some of the same limitations as her American counterpart because she has to be “careful what I say.”
She added: “I have the impression that every word is a word too many. I’m constantly holding myself back. That’s the hardest part: There’s never really any time off, never a moment when you can be completely calm.”
But she said she tries to live as normal a life as possible and goes out each day. She often visits her three children from a previous marriage, and she visits her grandchildren. Macron said she tries to be more than just a decorative “flower pot” in the shadow of her husband. But that was difficult to do on their trip to the U.S. “Everything was very framed,” she said. “There were small labels on the ground. I put myself where I had to put myself.”
Macron, 65, is 25 years older than her husband, who was once her student. That’s about the same age gap between Donald Trump, 71, and his wife, who just turned 48.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated Brigitte Macron is 20 years older than her husband. She is 25 years older than him.