New Book 'Free, Melania' Tells Story Behind Trump 'Hand Swat' on Israeli Tarmac That Went Viral

Kate’s Bennett’s tell-all book, 'Free, Melania: The Unauthorized Biography,' explains the series of events that led to the viral moment

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Donald and Melania Trump and Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu at Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel, May 22, 2017.
Donald and Melania Trump and Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu at Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel, May 22, 2017.Credit: Screenshot

New details from Kate’s Bennett’s tell-all book "Free, Melania: The Unauthorized Biography," which was released Tuesday, explain the story behind Melania Trump’s “hand swat seen around the world.”

The incident happened in May 2017 as U.S. President Donald Trump and Melania were being greeted by the Netanyahus after landing in Israel — their second stop on Trump’s first trip abroad as U.S. president.

Bennett writes: “It was supposed to have been a four-photo op, simple, something a monkey could do. But as was often the case, Trump forgot about his wife, and by the time he remembered she was there, it was too late.”

The Jewish Insider published additional details from the book: “As the foursome made its way toward the cameras, already not in sync, the Netanyahus holding hands, the Trumps not, Melania fell behind, sort of spilling off to the side of the carpet. Wearing a bright white Michael Kors Collection skirt suit, picked especially to honor the white in the Israeli flag, as well as the symbol of peace, Melania dropped behind, the five-foot-wide swath of red carpet not quite big enough for Trump's girth and his penchant for easy distraction. Thus Melania lagged, unable to fit next to the other three, awkwardly relegated to unintended submissive ‘walk behind the man’ positioning. And she didn't like it.” 

Bennett also discussed the incident with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly. Below is a short transcript from their interview:

KELLY: So that hand swat — let’s just start there. You argue that it matters because Melania Trump is not only the only person on the planet who could swat his hand away and get away with it; she’s the only one who can say what she thinks to his face. Does she?

BENNETT: Absolutely. You know, I think it’s a misperception about Melania Trump that she’s sort of quiet, and in repose we see her with those sunglasses. And she’s often, you know, relatively silent. But behind the scenes, she is one of the president’s most vocal advisers.

KELLY: Really? I mean, I guess I am surprised to hear that because we do not hear her voice that often on the record. How does that conversation play out?

Click here for the full interview