When GOP nominee Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president in June 2015, one crucial aspect of his platform was his stance on immigration. "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," Trump infamously said in his announcement speech, ultimately calling immigrants "rapists." In the wake of the nude photos of Melania Trump unearthed by the New York Post this week, inconsistencies in her own immigration story have inadvertently been brought into the spotlight.
According to a deep-dive from Politico featuring input from "immigration experts," the narrative presented by the Trumps has some noticeable gaps. Comments from Melania herself suggest that, despite repeated insistences claiming otherwise, she may have been in the country on a short-term visa when shooting those photos:
"If, as she has said, Trump came to New York in 1996 and obtained a green card in 2001, she likely would not have had to return to Europe even once to renew an H-1B."
The initial confusion seems to stem from a Harper's Bazaar article published in January, in which Melania Trump said staying in the U.S. "without papers" never crossed her mind. "You follow the rules," she said at the time. "You follow the law. Every few months you need to fly back to Europe and stamp your visa. After a few visas, I applied for a green card and got it in 2001." As noted in Politico's investigation, returning to Slovenia to "stamp" her visa would have only been required if using a temporary business or tourist visa.
"If Melania was traveling to the U.S. on a B-1 business visa, there is a potential problem," a representative from a "major national immigration law firm" told Politico. "She would not have been authorized to work in the U.S. while on a B-1 visa. In fact, if a customs agent encounters someone entering the U.S. on a B-1 visa and they know that the individual intends to work for a U.S. employer, the individual will usually be denied admission." In order to avoid being sent home, the representative said, Melania "may" have had to lie about the intentions of her trip.
Melania tweeted a statement Thursday regarding the Politico story, labeling it "inaccurate reporting" and asserting that she has "at all times" followed immigration laws:
But that hasn't stopped the rest of Twitter from having some fun with the story:
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to Complex's request for comment.