Melania Trump Will Attend President's State of Union Address As A Marital Iceberg Chills White House

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America's first lady Melania Trump will attend Tuesday night's State of the Union address, reports White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “That is the plan,” her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said an email.

The New York Times writes tonight that Mrs. Trump is furious with her husband over his latest scandal, reported by the Wall Street Journal as a $130,000 payout to porn star Stormy Daniels just a month before the election. The story blindsided the first lady, leaving her absolutely furious with Trump, so angry that she cancelled her trip to Davos. 

This is the first time over the years that Melania Trump has not defended her husband. 

In 2011, Mrs. Trump appeared on TV to support her husband’s attempts to pressure President Barack Obama into making his birth certificate public. In 2016, she again appeared on camera to dismiss an “Access Hollywood” recording from 2005 — in which Mr. Trump bragged about grabbing women’s genitals — as “boy talk.” Mrs. Trump has also defended her husband against claims brought by multiple women that he sexually assaulted them.

“I believe my husband, I believe my husband — it was all organized from the opposition,” Mrs. Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in the tumultuous weeks before the 2016 election, in which the president was accused of sexual harassment and groping almost daily by yet another woman.

In the wake of the Stormy Daniels story, Melania Trump has become the ice queen. Due to the divisive nature of her husband's presidency, she also exists without being a member of the first ladies club -- a source of support from Laura Bush to Michelle Obama. Under another president, both women would available as trusted shoulders for her to lean on without fear of privacy violations. 

“First ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Hillary Clinton to Laura Bush have stood by their husbands at the lowest points in their presidency,” Kate Andersen Brower, an author of “First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies,” said in an interview. “We’re seeing a different example with Melania of a woman who has maybe had too much.”

10 Interviews Support Sexual Harassment Allegations Against PA (R) Rep. Patrick Meehan

 Representative Patrick Meehan, Republican of Pennsylvania, traveled with President Trump to the state on Thursday. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Representative Patrick Meehan, Republican of Pennsylvania, traveled with President Trump to the state on Thursday. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Apparently, House Speaker Paul Ryan didn't ask Pennsylvania Republican Representative Patrick Meehan if there was any private reason outside of his position on the House Ethics committee that would prevent him from conducting an effective role in redefining how sexual misconduct claims are handled in Congress.  

Revelations that Congressman Meehan actually made a settlement with a decades younger aide in 2017 caught Speaker Ryan by surprise. AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for the said that “this is new information to us” when asked about the settlement in a brief interview on Friday.

The New York Times interviewed 10 people including friends and former colleagues of the former aide and others who worked around the office. The young woman is a family friend of the Meehan's and became so demoralized by the Congressman's antagonistic behavior when she became involved with a new boyfriend, that she filed a complaint with the congressional Office of Compliance in the summer of 2017, alleging sexual harassment. The events that followed underscore why women typically don't file complaints against members of Congress. Now Meehan is theoretically empowered to change those procedures with new ones much fairer to victims. The Times writes a Rep. Jackie Speier's playbook expose. Speier's is leading the charge in Congress to reform current procedures:

The handling of that complaint — which included an aggressive pushback by representatives from Mr. Meehan’s office and congressional lawyers, who suggested she had misinterpreted the congressman’s behavior — demoralized the aide. It led to her estrangement from her colleagues, and isolation from friends, family and her boyfriend, according to the people in whom she confided. It set her back financially and professionally, as she continued to pay legal costs associated with the complaint even after leaving her job in Mr. Meehan’s office and struggling to find a new one. She moved back in with her parents and ultimately decided to start a new life abroad.

Mr. Meehan was represented in this process by two officials from his congressional office and two lawyers for the House’s office of employment counsel.

After counseling and mediation sessions mandated by the Office of Compliance, the sides reached an agreement that included a settlement and a strict nondisclosure agreement, according to people familiar with the process.

The exact amount of the settlement could not be determined, partly because Mr. Meehan’s office paid it from a congressional office fund that allows such payments to be disguised as salary and reported months after they were made. But people familiar with the payout said it was thousands of dollars.

Ironically, this story began with another senior aide in Rep. Mehan's office, writes The Times. Friends and office staff said that Rep. Meehan's began when the young woman complained about the relentless pursuit of her by another member of the staff. The man left the office, but then Meehan's own advances began. 

Ms. Ronickher, the lawyer for Mr. Meehan’s accuser, declined to comment on the specifics of her case. But Ms. Ronickher, who has represented multiple congressional aides who have filed sexual harassment complaints with the Office of Compliance, said, “Given the proven dysfunction of the process as we have it now, it’s critical that Congress act on legislation to revise the process so that victims aren’t re-harmed when they pursue their rights.”

Meehan traveled with President Trump to a PA rally for a March 2018 special election to fill the vacated seat of Rep. Congressman Tim Murphy, who resigned in October 2017 amid a sex scandal. 

BBC China Editor Carrie Gracie Resigns Over Refusal To Grant Her Equal Pay For Equal Status, Quality Work

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We have a super high-profile resignation at the BBC. China editor Carrie Gracie gave the BBC months to rectify her unequal pay -- the very condition under which she came to the BBC in the first place three decades ago. In an open letter just published, she outlines all the ways the BBC tried to get around this fundamental concept -- that a woman editor should have salary parity with men, and especially one as qualified as Gracie.

Because British taxpayers funds the BBC, Gracie writes: "I believe you have a right to know that it is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure."

No intelligent organization would want to run the risk that Gracie would go public and resign. It IS about power when a group of men calculate that an accomplished woman with a global following won't have the nerve to walk -- and tell the whole world her story, as she slams the door behind her.

Carrie Gracie just struck a lightening bolt into this British BBC boys club with murky pay policies and dearth of fair employment principles. Anne Perkins writes Monday morning that Gracie decided to stop colluding with the BBC as an underpaid, exploited woman.

In the summer of 2017, the British government forced the BBC to publish the names of familiar radio and TV personalities earning over £150,000, along with their salaries. The results -- and obvious gender-based pay gap -- were astounding. 

This situation is no longer acceptable writes Carrie Gracie, because the BBC promotes itself as an advanced, enlightened, and egalitarian organization. In reality, it's the same boys club as the rest of the world, with a few minor exceptions. 

Her resignation letter is printed in full at The Guardian.