As her reality TV star husband meets many of his Western allies for the first time as U.S. president on Thursday, Melania Trump will be offered a different take on the surreal by her hosts in Brussels.
The first lady, a Slovenian-born former model, will tour a museum dedicated to Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte in the company of wives of other national leaders who will be attending a summit of the NATO military alliance across town.
Famed for works like the 1964 “self-portrait” of a bowler-hatted man whose face is hidden by an apple or the image of a pipe subtitled “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (This is not a Pipe), Magritte has much to teach the world about questioning outward appearances, and about self-effacement, Belgian organisers said.
“You never know,” museum director Michel Draguet said ahead of the first lady’s visit. “Maybe Donald Trump will move from one kind of surrealism to another, thanks to Magritte’s ideas.”
The outspoken 70-year-old wealthy businessman and TV celebrity stunned many U.S. allies by entering the White House in January. He has broken a mould among world leaders with a style that offers little evidence of self-doubt and ideas that run counter to received wisdom among Western diplomats.
His 47-year-old third wife will be joined by other NATO spouses including the devoutly Muslim wife of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan; Brigitte Trogneux, who met Emmanuel Macron when she taught the new French president in school; and Gauthier Destenay, who is married to Luxembourg’s gay prime minister.
Trump’s first foreign tour, which has so far taken him to Riyadh, Jerusalem and Rome and will end this weekend at a G7 summit in Sicily, has been presented by aides as reassuring allies that Washington remains a reliable partner under a head of state who faces a series of ethics questions back home.
For Charles Michel, the 41-year-old Belgian premier whose partner will show the first ladies around Brussels, an itinerary that also takes in a storied maker of leather handbags and tea at the palace with the queen is also a chance to show those close to power a host country keen to punch above its weight.
(Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
Bill Maher rips Trump and ‘the gang that couldn’t do treason straight’ on Real Time
HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher ripped the incompetence of the Trump administration after acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney confessed that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine in Rudy Giuliani's search for foreign election assistance.
"It's not just that he's always breaking the law, it's that he obviously wants you to know about it," Maher said. "The Joker doesn't want to get caught this bad."
"This is Trump's definition of three-dimensional chess, 'I'm going to distract you from impeaching me by committing more crimes," he said.
"It's like he comes home and Melania says to him, 'you have lipstick on your color,' and he says, 'you should see my d*ck,'" Maher said.
‘Stand with Hong Kong’ shirts fill the stands at Nets game as NBA is protested for China subservience
The National Basketball Association was protested on Friday for bowing to pressure from China.
The NBA has been harshly criticized for standing by the oppressive regime instead of standing in solidarity with the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
"Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight's Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA," New York magazine correspondent Yashar Ali reported Friday. "They're all wearing 'Stand With Hong Kong' T-shirts."
Photos from the protest:
1. Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight's Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA.
Trump polling close friends over whether he should fire Mulvaney: report
President Donald Trump is considering firing Mick Mulvaney, his acting White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, The Atlantic reported Friday.
"Mick Mulvaney's job was in danger even before his disastrous press conference yesterday, and his equally disastrous attempt to walk that performance back," The Atlantic reported. "The fumble could not have been more poorly timed: According to multiple current and former White House officials, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to relay private conversations, Trump has been steadily souring on Mulvaney for weeks."