The New York Post was criticized earlier this week for publishing nude photos of Melania Trump, the wife of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, that were taken back in the mid 1990s during her modeling career. But beyond the shock value of the photos, legitimate questions have emerged about Trump's legal status when the photos were taken.
A report by Politico released early Thursday dove into the story behind the New York Post's photos. The outlet suggested that the 1995 date of the photoshoot conflicts with Trump's account that she arrived to the United States in 1996 and that visa Trump used to immigrate to the country — she did not become a full citizen until 2006 — would not have allowed Trump to pursue her modeling career. Trump released a statement Monday refuting the claims.
"In recent days there has been a lot of inaccurate reporting and misinformation concerning my immigration status back in 1996," she said in a statement released on Twitter. "Let me set the record straight: I have at all times been in full compliance with the immigration laws of this country. Period. Any allegation to the contrary is simply untrue. In July 2006, I proudly became a U.S. citizen. Over the past 20 years, I have been fortunate to live, work and raise a family in this great nation and I share my husband's love for our country."
The questions surrounding Trump's immigration status come as an ironic blow to her husband's campaign. One of the cornerstones of Donald Trump's appeal has been a set of promises to curb illegal immigration by building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and deporting millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States. Trump has also insinuated that illegal immigrants pose a dangerous threat to public safety.
The controversy comes just two weeks after Melania Trump drew criticism for seemingly lifting passages from First Lady Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic National Convention speech during the 2016 Republican National Convention.
As for the nude photos themselves, Donald Trump responded earlier in the week, refuting the idea that there was any reason for the campaign to worry about the public perception.
"They’re a celebration of the human body as art. There's nothing to be embarrassed about," he said, "She’s a beautiful woman."