Street and 6th Avenue. 8:30 PM. Photo: JH.
got a call late Monday afternoon from a man identifying himself
as Hud Morgan, assistant to Lloyd Grove who has a column in the
Daily News. He wanted to ask me some questions about Melania
Trump, Donald Trump’s new bride.
Okay; it’s not unusual for someone in the media to call me
about a social personality in New York, and I am always accommodating,
So Mr. Morgan says to me: “she’s the chairwoman of
a benefit for the Martha Graham Dance Company and she’s calling
herself ‘Melania Trump.’”
Mr. Morgan asks
something like ‘don’t you think it’s
a bit early for her to be calling herself Melania Trump?’
I started to laugh at the absurdity of the question. “Well
she did marry the guy,” I reminded him (since the whole world
knows), “and often women take the husband’s name when
they say ‘I do.’ So no, I don’t think it’s ‘too
So, he continues: what can I tell him about the new Mrs. Trump.
I don’t know the new Mrs. Trump except to say hello
to. So I tell Mr. Morgan what I do know: she’s always been
very courteous and cordial, and she’s very beautiful, actually
more beautiful than her pictures. She always struck me as a bit
shy, but maybe, I figured, that was because her husband has such
a big presence.
Not much of an answer to a reporter looking for something gossipy,
but hey, you can’t always bat a thousand. Again, I laugh
and tell Mr. Morgan that I’m sorry I can’t be “more
helpful.” He thanks me and that’s that.
A few minutes later Mr. Morgan calls back. He tells me they’ve
changed the direction of the item. He wants to know why I think
Melania Trump is chairing this benefit gala for the Martha Graham
I explain to him that charities need “names,” women
or men who can draw others to buy tickets. Any chair or co-chair
of any charity event can sell tickets. Donald Trump, with his multi-faceted
business and social connections, knows a lot of people, and in
fact, attends a lot of charity events himself that are chaired
by friends of his. Many of these people can be expected to return
the favor and buy a ticket to his or his wife’s charity gala.
It’s good for business, good for the charities and good for
everyone. And in this case, it’s good for Melania Trump,
making her “debut” as a “chair” on New
York’s high profile, prestigious charity gala circuit.
Then Mr. Morgan wants to know “why the Martha Graham Dance
Do I know? I’ve already told him I don’t know Mrs.
Trump and I don’t know what her interests are. It’s
quite obvious that maybe “dance” is one of her personal
interests. Furthermore, the Martha Graham Dance Company is a long
existing New York cultural institution that spans back almost a
century. It is refined and prestigious.
Then he asks me about Blaine Trump, Melania’s new sister-in-law.
What about her?
What is she up to, he wants to know. I don’t have an answer
for him there. I haven’t seen Blaine Trump very much lately,
which means absolutely nothing other than we haven’t passed
through the same hallways at the same time.
What are her charities? Mr. Morgan wants to know.
The only two I can think of are the American Ballet Theatre and
Gods Love We Deliver.
And how do they compare with Martha Graham, is Mr. Morgan’s
Well, they’re more high profile than Martha Graham. One is
a dance company that is part of the Lincoln Center companies and
the other was one of the first leading AIDS-assisting charities.
Martha Graham, which, because of its later founder/creator, has
been famous since its beginnings, was mired in legal issues for
quite some time after Ms. Graham’s death, and only recently
has emerged (rather successfully) into the public fund-raising
and is now having a renaissance.
This upcoming gala, which will be held next week (April 6), at
the New York City Center, is a very big deal. Betty (Mrs.
Ford and Mikhail Baryshnikov are
Honorary Chairs. Mrs. Trump is chairwoman. Vice-chairs are Reed
and Delphine Krakoff, Diane von Furstenberg, Andre Leon Talley and Vera
Wang. Among the Silent
Auction Items that can be bid on after the performance at the dinner
dance at the Tavern on the Green are a “Palm Beach Idyll:
Weekend at Mar-a-Lago and Gold at the Trump International Golf
funds for the Martha Graham Dance Company; pays to know the man
who owns the golf course).
Lead sponsor for the evening will be Mr. Krakoff’s company
Coach, Inc. and Benefactor of the evening will be Mr. and Mrs.
Donald Trump. When I read the details on the invitation, I thought
to myself, “The Martha Graham Dance Company” (which
I have been covering for several years) “is going to have
a very successful fund-raiser thanks to Melania Trump.”
So, with all that in mind, have a look at Lloyd Grove’s Tuesday
morning column in the Daily News:
makes her big entrance
It looks like Slovenian fashion model Melania Trump is giving socialite Blaine
Trump a run for her money.
The latest Mrs. Donald Trump is making her official New York social debut April
6 as chairwoman of the Martha Graham Dance Company's New York season-opening
fund-raising gala at Tavern on the Green.
"I did a lot of charity before in Palm Beach with my name, but it's my first
using his name," the 34-year-old former Ms. Knauss told Lowdown yesterday. "My
great friend Andre Leon Talley introduced me to it and asked
if I'd be chairwoman.
I was delighted to accept."
So is she looking to compete with Blaine - the well-connected wife of Donald's
older brother Robert - in Manhattan's most rarefied social climes?
Social reporter David Patrick Columbia, who runs newyorksocialdiary.com, said
Melania still has a ways to go.
"People who owe Donald in some way or another are now going to commit something
to Martha Graham," Columbia said. "That's how these
women are valuable to philanthropy. And it's also a nice way to elevate her status.
harmless and highly cultured.
"But it's not absolutely the highest-profile of those. Blaine got herself
interested in the very top of the top, like American Ballet Theatre and God's
Love We Deliver."
looks like Melania is giving Blaine a run for her money? To
Lloyd Grove and
his stringer maybe, but not to me.
And: Melania still has a ways to go? According to? Lloyd Grove and his stringer
maybe, but not to me.
Trump marries the man she’s been involved with
for several years. She always minds her manners, is always the
picture of courtesy and discretion. Then she marries him and soon
after makes her first step into participating in the great New
York world of society and philanthropy by assisting a century old
cultural institution in fund-raising. Those are the facts as I
know them and
But to someone, she becomes a target, a source for whipping up some false agitation.
On what is obviously a no-news day, it becomes a race with her sister-in-law
and she’s not quite winning?? And all this becomes the result of something
I said but didn’t say.
This is just a simple matter of manipulating the facts to insult one person and
make another look mean-spirited, a perfect example of why media today is in trouble
and a lot of people don’t believe any of it. Instead of reporting the facts,
they use them to create bad news.
It’s bad news, personified.