Here’s the Melania Frowning Meme in Context; Judge for Yourself


In the days since President Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States, one moment from the swearing in has exploded more than any other in the meme-heavy world of Twitter. That would be this GIF of his wife, Melania Trump, frowning after he turned to her at one point:

There’s been plenty of speculation about what is going on in the GIF. Did the new president say something to his wife that upset her? Was she flashing a smile only for his benefit then going back to displaying feelings of malaise? Or something else?

The folks at Snopes pinpointed exactly where it happens, a which comes during Reverend Franklin Graham’s prayer (to see the moment in context, skip to 2:51:54 if the video doesn’t automatically start playing there):

In the context of the video, Mrs. Trump may very well be going from “solemn prayer face” to smiling at whatever her husband did/said and then back to “solemn prayer face. It doesn’t eliminate other options, but seeing the moment in context certainly sheds new light on it. There’s also an alternate camera angle that leads to, potentially, another interpretation as well (go to 1:20:52 if the video doesn’t start playing there):

In this version, from CBS News, we can see that the Trumps’ son, Barron, is between them, and it looks like the new president is talking to him, not Melania. Trying to analyze the interaction further is probably a bit overly presumptuous, but the alternate camera angle certainly gives further context to the moment.

[Photo: Time YouTube screen grab]

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