Melania and Donald Trump broke protocol in an unusual way — and it could add to speculation about the state of their marriage

Donald and Melania Trump.

Donald and Melania Trump.
Chris Kleponis/Getty

  • Melania and Donald Trump broke tradition by arriving at Marine One via separate routes on Friday.
  • The first lady’s communications director said the unusual choice was due to Melania Trump’s schedule.
  • On Friday, The New Yorker published a former Playmate’s account of an affair with the president in 2006.

Melania and Donald Trump broke from tradition after a New Yorker report published Friday detailed a former Playmate’s account of an affair with the president in 2006.

The first lady eschewed the traditional walk with the president across the White House’s South Lawn to Marine One on Friday, instead driving to the aircraft separately, CNN reported. They’re flying to Parkland, Florida, to meet with people affected by Wednesday’s shooting at a high school there.

“With her schedule, it was easier to meet him on the plane,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, said in a statement to CNN.

Melania Trump’s absence was especially notable given her tendency to disappear from the president’s side after reports of his past indiscretions surface.

The former Playmate, Karen McDougal, told The New Yorker the affair happened a few months after the birth of Donald and Melania Trump’s son, Barron.

Earlier this week, the first lady again appeared to distance herself from the president.

On Wednesday, Stormy Daniels, the porn star who says she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, said she was now open to talking about the relationship. That day, Melania and Donald Trump publicly refrained from wishing each other a Happy Valentine’s Day.

The first lady also largely disappeared from public engagements with her husband after The Wall Street Journal reported in January that Michael Cohen, one of his top lawyers, organized the transfer of $130,000 into Daniels’ account in October 2016.

Melania Trump did not join the president on a trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as planned, nor did she post anything to celebrate their anniversary on January 22, as she has in years past.