Melania Trump’s nude photos are two decades old, and so is the mindset that led the New York Post to publish them.
Sunday’s front page was a full-page photo of the would-be first lady, naked, with the headline, “The Ogle Office.”
Several more images appeared inside the newspaper and on its website, all from a 1995 photo shoot for a French men’s magazine.
She posed for them willingly, and Donald Trump’s campaign is fine with the Post, which endorsed him in the GOP primary, publishing them.
“They’re a celebration of the human body as art, and (there’s) nothing to be embarrassed about with the photos,” campaign spokesman Jason Miller told CNN.
“She’s a beautiful woman.”
It’s still a shameful, cynical, morally bankrupt decision that cashes in on retrograde ideas at a time when the country could use some fresh ones.
You can almost imagine the glee among the folks who discovered — or leaked — the photos, and the editors who decided to run them. Woman for president — pshaw! Women are for lusting over, not leading the free world.
Whether the photos were intended to help Trump (“This’ll shut people up about his bungled Khizr Khan response!”), embarrass Trump (“People were scandalized by Michelle Obama’s arms! This will sink him!”) or simply sell newspapers (most likely), they have no place in a presidential race.
I’m in full support of women voluntarily posing or appearing in whatever state of undress they choose, as I’ve stated time and again.
Kim Kardashian’s breasts threaten neither feminism nor national security. Neither do Susan Sarandon’s. And neither do Melania Trump’s.
But unearthing a candidate’s wife’s photos from 26 years ago and splashing them across newsstands during a presidential election is tawdry and exploitative.
It’s off-topic, in a campaign that’s dealing with gun violence, global terrorism, economic security and religious freedom.
It’s tasteless, on a day when many news organizations – and their readers – were analyzing the historic events of a few days prior, when a woman accepted a major party’s nomination for United States president for the first time ever.
And it’s hostile – a way of reminding women that no matter what we accomplish, no matter what barriers we break and ceilings we crack, our bodies are still the public’s to ogle.
The New York Post has long proven itself devoid of a conscience, so I don’t expect its editors are feeling much in the way of remorse.
But I hope the rest of us are able to see the photos not as an invitation to judge or shame Melania Trump — a former model who did what models are expected to do — but as a craven bid for attention from a shameless outfit not worthy of receiving any.