This post has been updated.
Melania Trump has avoided interviews since her partially plagiarized Republican National Convention speech in July, but she showed no rust in sticking to the script drawn up by her husband's campaign since The Washington Post published a recording of Donald Trump boasting that he could "do anything" to women. Melania Trump dismissed the lewd remarks as "boys' talk" and promoted the dubious claim that the media timed the tape's release to inflict maximum damage.
"They knew a long time ago" about the tape, Melania Trump said of NBC, which had access to the footage shot by "Access Hollywood" in 2005. "I'm sure they did. And Washington Post: when did we hear or read any great stories from — about my husband or about me? The true stuff? The facts, the real stuff? Or New York Times. We never read — they bashing, bashing, bashing."
All the coverage is negative. All the coverage is fake. It's all a conspiracy against Donald Trump. Melania Trump checked every box.
While the message was predictable, the interview itself was a surprise — and not only because Melania Trump has been out of the spotlight for almost three months.
After all, it was Anderson Cooper who pressed Donald Trump to say during a debate on Oct. 9 whether he had ever actually groped and kissed women without consent, as he bragged about doing on the recording leaked to The Washington Post two days earlier.
"No, I have not," Donald Trump said after Cooper asked for a third time.
Four of the five women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault in the past week have cited that debate moment as a trigger that made them come forward. The Trump campaign, which began complaining about Cooper three weeks before the debate, has continued to gripe in the aftermath.
Yet Melania Trump picked Cooper. She also spoke with Fox News Channel's Ainsley Earhardt on Monday for an interview that aired Tuesday morning. That conversation was more of the same.
"They don't have the facts," Melania Trump said of the press. She added that in the course of the campaign, her life has "changed from the point of the media — that I see that they could, as I said before, they could say whatever they want. They could write whatever they want, even if it's not true."