What is she thinking?
It’s a question that’s haunted the nation for almost a decade now. A beluga whale with, frankly, inadequate oral hygiene bobs in the water, her mouth opened in apparent mid-shriek. While the bloodlust in her eyes is clear, we can do little more than guess at the particular machinations within. Melania Trump understood the power of this whale, and spent her four years as first lady in a similar state of unreadability. Her appearances in public were rare, and her statements were all either typical First Lady pablum or vicious swipes at perceived enemies with absolutely nothing in between. Americans everywhere were again left to wonder, “What is she thinking?”
Of course, we’ll likely never know for sure what motivated Melania’s various choices or how she truly feels about her husband’s presidency, but we can get a little closer to some answers thanks to a Twitter account belonging to none other than her sister, Ines Knauss. Ines’s account is locked, and as far as I can tell, she’s somewhat discerning about who she lets in (only 13 followers have been added since 2018). Fortunately, I was able to get a look at her feed through a third party.
While not much is actually known about Ines, there are about five facts that get repeated in virtually every article ever written about her. 1) She’s Melania’s older sister by just a few years. 2) They both attempted to pursue careers in fashion, with Ines focusing on design while Melania modeled. 3) She lived in a $2 million apartment in a Trump Organization–owned building just a few blocks from Trump Tower as recently as 2017. 4) At some point during Trump’s presidency, she quietly became a U.S. citizen along with her parents. And 5) more than anything, the two sisters are very, very close.
When Melania was in high school, she even shared an apartment with Ines in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital. And when Melania went on to marry the single dampest man she could find, Ines was right there by her side as her maid of honor, one of only three Slovenians in attendance at the 350-guest affair (the other two being their parents). Ines was even cited as one of the reasons Melania put off moving to D.C. in the early days of Trump’s presidency.
We also know that this is indeed Ines Knauss’s account and not just a part of some fringe Melania-themed cosplay group (although if that does exist and you’re part of it please get in touch immediately). Washington Post reporter Mary Jordan confirmed that the private account was hers in her recent book on the former first lady.
We can also be relatively sure that that Melania and her sister have stayed in touch during Melania’s time as First Lady. The texts below were sent to someone listed simply as “M,” which is also how she’s referred to Melania in previous public posts on Facebook.
Melania isn’t the only family member whose texts she’s posted, though. Curiously, Melania’s father, Viktor Knavs (Melania and Ines both changed their last names from Knavs to Knauss), doesn’t seem to be a huge fan of his son-in-law. Or at the very least, he isn’t particularly effusive about it. From Mary Jordan’s book, in which she recounts a conversation with a few of Viktor’s friends:
The men said that Viktor loves to talk about Barron but mostly avoids talk of his son-in-law. Viktor does not agree with Trump’s “anti-immigration talk,” his friends said.
All of which makes this exchange between Ines and her father during the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol particularly curious.
A rough translation, according to a kind Slovenian on Twitter:
Ines: Are you watching CNN?
Dad: Of course I’m watching. ❤️
Dad: And Fox and OAN.
And at least based on some of her faved tweets, her own opinion of her brother-in-law is less than stellar. Here, for instance, is just a sample of tweets faved during Trump’s February 9 impeachment trial. Nearly all were similarly derisive.
And perhaps even more notably, there’s this:
The vast majority of her actual tweets, though, consist of her reposting old photos of Barron, Melania, or herself—in addition to fun facts, like this tweet from last April consisting of nothing but Barron and Melania’s ages.
Another fun fact? Kimberly Guilfoyle, Don Jr.’s girlfriend, is in fact an entire year older than Melania, her boyfriend’s stepmother—just a bit of trivia for you.
A good portion of Ines’s feed consists of her waxing nostalgic about her childhood in Slovenia, while also pushing back on virtually anything ever written about Melania or their family.
This is, of course, regardless of whether there actually seems to be anything egregious in the first place.
According to that same kind Slovenian on Twitter, the below translates roughly to: “When they were together, Melania lived with her sister Ines in a small one-bedroom apartment.”
Ines went on to helpfully clarify just what it was she took issue with.
It’s the sort of nitpicking over harmless inaccuracies we’ve seen from Melania before, making it seem not at all unlikely that the two sisters spoke frequently despite Melania’s White House duties.
While Ines’s favs tell one story of how she might view her brother-in-law, any Trump-related tweet she herself sends tends to be much more benign. For instance, these simple well-wishes after Trump and Melania both were diagnosed with covid:
She’s also shared some contextless yet kind, heartfelt words from her brother-in-law.
Ines did speak a little more freely about other members of the family. Here she is happily partaking in some Jared-bashing (remember those rumors of Melania’s occasional power struggles with the Ivanka/Jared wing of things?):
The video in question:
And very, very rarely, there will be a criticism of Melania herself. If you’ll recall, early in October of last year, Stephanie Wolkoff, a former friend and former senior adviser to Melania, released a recording of a 2018 phone call between her and the then-First Lady. In it, Melania defiantly declared, “Who gives a fuck about Christmas?” Now, we finally have an answer. For it is apparently Ines herself who gives a fuck about Christmas.
She also seemed to be less than thrilled with Melania’s now infamous, headline-grabbing jacket.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Ines’s feed, though, are favs like the one you see below, which occurred on May 29 of last year.
This wasn’t a one-off either. Ines seems to enjoy similar tweets on a fairly regular basis.
The Pleiadians, as far as I can tell, are Nordic-appearing aliens who want to help us find peace by (maybe?) taking us to another star system, but also—time is infinite so don’t worry about when, exactly. This all seems to have merged a bit with QAnon, in that there’s also a theory that Trump is receiving extrasolar protection or has possibly already been taken from this Earth, and we all just have to let the aliens’ plan play out. Based on everything else Ines has tweeted over the years, this part of her internet consumption does seem a little unexpected. But then again, maybe it’s simply the truth.
Still, Ines’s best tweets have nothing to do with family at all.
And instead, simply speak to eternal truths.
Thank you to Ines, the bloodthirsty beluga whale, and Counts everywhere. Your collective insight has been invaluable.