A home visit from a group of ballerinas, dancing to the beautiful music of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, should be a wonderful holiday treat. Not so, perhaps, for the first lady, who today unveiled the White House’s Christmas decor. No, Melania Trump looks upon even the most impressive displays of art with the internal torment of a newly self-aware robot.

There’s a lot to take in here, from the fixed grins on the ballerinas’ faces to Melania Trump’s stunned, deer-in-headlights expression. It seems, like most of FLOTUS’s public appearances, to invite endless inquiry into the mind of the world’s simultaneously most fortunate and most unfortunate person.

Advertisement

As Melania observes the dance, she attempts to smile, but something inside tugs back the joy. Like those of the narrator of Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the first lady’s waking moments, we can only imagine, are filled with reminders of the great sin she’s party to (her sleep, of course, must be racked by visions too upsetting to render in words).

As we watch Melania, arms hanging stiffly at her sides, attempting to weather a performance so many of us would love to witness ourselves, consider the inner turmoil of a mind so utterly destroyed by bad choices that it can no longer enjoy even a simple pleasure. Happy holidays, Trump family: You did it all to yourselves.