At a time of rising tensions between the U.S. and Mexico, first lady Melania Trump is now gracing the cover of Vanity Fair Mexico.
But Trump’s appearance in the magazine is not a planned gesture meant to diffuse tensions as her husband, President Donald Trump, moves forward with plans to build a border wall between the countries. Instead, it is actually an old profile of Trump, first published before her husband was elected on Nov. 8, and it is one she has criticized fiercely.
Back in April 2016, GQ Magazine ran the article and photos of Melania Trump. The story, written by Julia Ioffe, explored Trump’s relationship with her husband, who was married twice before, and her roots in her home country of Slovenia, comparing Donald Trump to Melania’s father.
Almost as soon as the article was published, Melania lashed out at Ioffe, saying in a post on Facebook the story was an example of “disingenuous reporting.”
“Julia Ioffe, a journalist who is looking to make a name for herself, clearly had an agenda when going after my family,” Trump wrote. “There are numerous inaccuracies in this article including certain statements about my family and claims on personal matters.”
The backlash against Ioffe from Trump supporters was swift. Ioffe said she received numerous anti-Semitic and violent messages on social media and online, per The Guardian.
After several months, however, it seemed as though the Trumps’ feud with Ioffe had died down. Then in December 2016, Ioffe posted a vulgar tweet about Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka. In response to a report that Ivanka would assume the typical duties and offices associated with the first lady, Ioffe said Trump was possibly violating nepotism laws, per Mediaite.
At the time, Ioffe was working for Politico but had announced that she would join The Atlantic magazine in the near future. After the tweet generated outrage on social media, Politico announced they were accelerating Ioffe’s departure, terminating her contract immediately. The Atlantic, meanwhile, issued a statement reaffirming their hiring of Ioffe.
Then, on Thursday, Vanity Fair Mexico tweeted out the cover of its February issue, referring to Trump as the “new Jackie Kennedy” and featuring the exact same photos from the GQ profile, as well as a translated story.
Vanity Fair and GQ are both owned by Conde Nast. However, Trump has criticized Vanity Fair and its editor, Graydon Carter, multiple times in the past, per The Huffington Post. Most recently, he described the magazine as “failing” after it published a harshly critical review of Trump Grill.
The timing of the cover’s release struck many as odd, given that Donald Trump signed executive orders laying the groundwork for his proposed border wall on Wednesday and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto responded by announcing he was canceling a scheduled meeting with Trump, per ABC News.
In a statement published on its website Friday, Vanity Fair Mexico defended its use of the photo and story.
“We understand the complicated moment that has coincided with the appearance of our cover, but our intention is simply to contribute, as always, an independent and critical point of view about the present and the characters that lead it,” a translation of the the magazine’s editors statement reads.