There are different sorts of First Ladies as there are different sorts of Presidents.
The office is so undefined constitutionally that it varies depending on the occupant.
Jackie Kennedy raised private money to remodel the White House, and acted as supreme hostess of the nation.
Hillary Clinton piloted health care legislation.
One form of soft power that remains constant however, is that she is often a key advisor.
The power play rules of being first one 'in the room' and 'last to leave', often demanded by key advisors of their presidents, is stretched to the limit when you think of the First Lady. She is almost always the first person to see the him each morning, and the last one to speak to him before he goes to bed.
CNN pundit explains their 'theory'
Not so much with the Trump administration however.
With Melania in New York with son Baron, a power vacuum appears to have been created. And, in lieu of a formal role as First Lady, Ivanka has been made Senior Advisor to the President.
Angela Rye, a regular pundit on CNN, criticised the promotion for a member of the president's family, implying that she is 'playing at First Lady'.
Rye was responding to a point made by contributor Paris Dennard that the role of 'senior advisor' varied from administration to administration.
When we challenge these roles being ill-defined or undefined in these spaces, it means there’s nothing to hold them accountable to in terms of benchmarks. They are also hoping that this type of loose association with a job description means that they can tiptoe into conflicts of interest without any issue. We saw Ivanka doing that just last week.
I think the real challenge is she doesn’t have a real defined role because we all know what role Ivanka is playing, and that’s the role of the first lady because Melania is not checking for Donald.