American First Lady Melania Trump and wife of Japanese Prime Minister Akie Abe today enjoyed a visit to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden in Delray Beach, Florida where the President is hosting the Japanese diplomatic delegation. The First Lady played hostess to Akie Abe, wife of Shinzo Abe, by highlighting Japanese culture in America with the official tour, and the shared the importance of horticulture and gardening to both nations. The diplomatic visit marks Melania Trump’s first public appearance as First Lady without her husband, President Donald Trump, and was a great success.
The garden tour followed the prior day’s breakfast at the White House for the delegation from Japan, and a flight aboard Air Force one with the entire First Family including First Daughter Ivanka and her children. Melania Trump demonstrated her interest in horticulture while hosting Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, not only by selecting a garden to tour, but also in statements released to the press.
First Lady Melania spoke about the importance of nurturing and care-taking both in the family and the community, and highlighted the parallels between motherhood, first ladyship, and gardening. The engagement was followed by a private lunch for the ladies back at Mar-a-Lago.
When speaking on the importance of gardening to American culture, it was stated that “the First Lady has a deep personal commitment to her role as caretaker and nurturer, beginning with her family.” First Lady Melania has come under fire for choosing to live out the remainder of the school year in New York City for the benefit of her young son, and may be quietly defending her position with this remark. Historically, there were a few other First Ladies not in residence at the White House for personal or family reasons, so it is not without precedent.
Melania Trump showed that commuting to carry out political engagements on the weekends is not only workable, but a breeze for the former model and businesswoman. “She believes there is a connection between a child’s mind and places of calm and beauty to be used as a tool for us all,” stated Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, senior adviser to Melania Trump in her role as First Lady of the United States, referring to public gardens and other places of contemplation and serenity that are available to all citizens. Traditionally highlighting such public venues as well as national landmarks and projects has often come under the attentions of past First Ladies, showing Melania intends to continue efforts to showcase the beauty of America as a tourist destination.
To the interest and delight of the nation, Melania Trump let it be known that she would be preserving and maintain the White House kitchen garden started by Michelle Obama, the previous First Lady. “As a mother and as the First Lady of this country, Mrs. Trump is committed to the preservation and continuation of the White House Gardens, specifically the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden and the Rose Garden.”
“Both our countries histories and cultures are steeped in the nurture and nature of gardening,” Melania Trump’s statement continued, “Having knowledge of different cultures and customs is a wonderful way to learn and to explore. Gardening teaches us the fundamentals in care and the evolution of living things, all while inspiring us to nurture our minds and to relax and strengthen our bodies. I hope that together Mrs. Abe and I can continue to inspire our youth to enjoy the beauty around them and to restore their minds in the peacefulness of their surroundings.”
The guest of honor, Akie Abe, has enjoyed a life as interesting as the American First Lady, and in Japan is regarded as a socialite. The Prime Minister’s wife is from a wealthy Japanese family; her father is the former president of Morinaga & Co., one of Japan’s largest confectionery companies. In her own country she is outspoken in her views which oftentimes are opposed to those of her husband, leading her to be known as the “domestic opposition party” for her role in making her opinions heard.
Following her husband’s first stint as prime minister, Akie Abe opened an organic izakaya (comparable to an Irish tavern or casual gastropub) in the Kanda district of Tokyo, but no longer manages the property due to the request of her mother-in-law, who does not find it suitable for a woman in a supportive political role to be in business.
Akie Abe went through unsuccessful fertility treatments earlier in life, but the couple remained childless. However, she has channeled her energy into many causes and is a supporter of sexual minorities and the LGBT community, even participating in the gay pride parade in Tokyo to show her support for broader rights to Japan’s LGBT community.
In addition to aides and Secret Service, the two were guided by Morikami’s Bonnie White LeMay and Tamara Joy, describing the sights of the Japanese garden and cultural center to them. The two First Women were also engaged in animated conversation throughout the tour, and can be seen in repose on a bridge having a quiet moment while enjoying the natural beauty of the Japanese gardens.
First Lady Trump marked the occasion and nodded to the theme of nurturing and horiticulture by presenting Akie Abe with a porcelain rose, the “Rose in Bloom,” from Ukrainian-born American artist Vladimir Kanevsky. The acclaimed master sculptor produces delicate and strikingly realistic ceramic flowers and arrangements that are highly collectible and valuable, some with prices reaching into the several thousand dollar range. It is traditional to welcome foreign leaders and guests with gifts, and Melania chose a beautiful and thoughtful piece that even the esteemed Japanese couple will surely enjoy displaying.
During this first solo engagement, the First Lady adopted a creamy neutral ensemble that celebrated the warm weather of Florida and the relaxed atmosphere that one should approach a leisurely garden tour with. Sartorial critics could find no fault with the ladylike outfit, which matched elegantly with Akie Abe’s fitted white button-up shirt with feminine ruffled black skirt that was both professional, diplomatic, and still pretty enough to be appropriate for a garden tour.
Melania Trump wore a cream-hued white ribbed Calvin Klein dress and matching cardigan. She surprised sartorial watchers by adopting a pair of nude flats, in sharp contrast with her usually towering heels. You can emulate the First Lady’s fashion style by selecting a long, thick knit fabric with a subtle geometric design such as ribbing or cable knit. Pair it with a pair of nude or beige flats or ballet shoes, and a pair of heavy sunglasses, and you have the perfect look for your own garden parties or engagement.
Melania Trump’s fashion choice was absolutely appropriate to a gentle stroll, and will hopefully inspire more women to wear flats for practical days out. The pair seen on Melania are by Louboutin, a favorite of the First Lady that we’ve seen on her several times before. Calvin Klein appears on First Lady Melania for the first time today, for Inauguration Day she chose fellow American designer Ralph Lauren who designed her powder blue suit dress.
Melania Trump spent the past week in New York City where her young son Barron is in school, after enjoying a busy weekend with the Superbowl Party and other diplomatic events last week at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. White House staff has told reporters that President Donald Trump intends to remove to Florida every weekend this month, which cleverly coincides with several large snow storms that will cripple White House life and much of business on the East Coast. President Trump’s retreats also appear to be an escape to a simpler time, as Mar-a-Lago was originally created to be a satellite office for the government, and it’s creator left it to the government so that it could become a ‘Winter White House.”
Many snide and ignorant remarks have been made about Donald Trump’s attempts to eleveate Mar-a-Lago to the “Winter White House,” but that was the original purpose the resort was going to be used for. Marjorie Merriweather Post, a socialite and the wealthiest American woman of her time, bequeathed Mar-a-Lago to the United States government upon her death in 1973, with the express intention that it was for use as a winter retreat for the sitting President of the United States.
The beautiful, sprawling Mar-a-Lago estate remained government property for several years, though it was never used by President Richard Nixon who had a different Florida retreat, or his successor President Jimmy Carter. The Carter administration gave Mar-a-Lago back to the Post estate in 1980 to avoid paying $1 million in annual maintenance and the property was put up for sale.
Donald Trump, at the time a billionaire property developer, made an aggressive move to purchase Mar-a-Lago once it was on the market. Trump offered the Post estate with a $28 million, which was rejected as it was considered offensively low, but Trump cleverly bought the actual beachfront between Mar-a-Lago and the ocean, and threatened to put large buildings on it and block the view unless the resort was sold to him.
The estate eventually sold Mar-a-Lago to Donald Trump for $5 million, plus $3 million for the estate’s furnishings. Now, with the surprise candidacy and election of President Trump, Mar-a-Lago has finally returned to its former glory and will be used the way Marjorie Post wanted, to serve as a place of retreat and solace for the person with the most challenging job in the world. Disparaging remarks regarding Trump in this matter are unfounded, he has preserved an architectural gem at great personal expense and restored it to it’s former glory and almost inexplicably, returned it to its original purpose.
People can pay $200,000 to join the exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort, a fee that was doubled after Trump was elected, to attend the club and possibly socialize with the President or First Family. There is also a yearly $14000 dues requirement to be a member of the resort where Donald Trump frequently mingles with guests and attends social events.
In the past two weekends President Donald Trump has already attended a few social engagements at the club and neighboring Trump International Golf Club which hosted the First Family’s Superbowl party last weekend, and the glittering annual Red Cross Gala Ball where Melania Trump stunned in a magenta gown. Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeatedly clarified that the Japanese prime minister would pay nothing for his stay at Mar-a-Lago, and that it was a “personal gift” from President Trump.
Did you enjoy seeing First Lady Melania tour the Japanese gardens? What do you think of Mar-a-Lago and the Winter White house? Let us know in the comments below!