Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson took 735 words to expand on everything he knew about Melania Trump’s solo visit to the Great Wall of China.

First Lady Melania Trump at Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, on Feb. 4, 2017. Photo by Carlos Barria via Reuters
She wore nice clothes and was quoted as saying: “This is beautiful. This is amazing.” That’s it.

But in an essay long on color, he painted this picture:

“A seawall, staring out at the briny main, scanning the horizon in vain for her husband’s lost ship? She is not. Is she a captive maiden, penned up in some castle, hoping for rescue? Hm, not really. No, she is Melania Trump, standing on the Great Wall, the one they’ve got in China, taking a little photo-op tour while her husband, the president of the United States, is off doing something else.”

And later: “It’s entirely credible that Melania, clad in her designer raiment, stood on the steep and rocky slope of this old, old fortification, looked out across all the land that lay below, and felt a certain sense of awe. It is beautiful, it is amazing. Even for someone as well traveled as the president’s wife, someone who has access to all the finest things in the world. Still, the Great Wall can humble you.”

And concluding: “And maybe that’s when it hit her. All the complexity and unknowability of empire, the chaos of civilization. How remarkable it is that anything might still stand after a few hundred years of all that. Maybe that’s enough, maybe that is the pinnacle of human achievement, right there: that something we did might simply be touched or seen or remembered in a few hundred years. Perhaps that’s when Melania said it. ‘It is beautiful. It is amazing.’ Because it is, isn’t it?”

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