Trump’s wife mistook minister for her partner

US first lady, Melania Trump. File picture
US first lady, Melania Trump. File picture
Image: Reuters

Australia’s former foreign minister says she was mistaken for the spouse of a politician by US first lady Melania Trump, in her latest comments on the subordinate role of women in conservative politics.

Julie Bishop has been vocal about the treatment of senior women politicians since she stepped down after former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was ousted last year.

Bishop, who was Australia’s first woman foreign minister and deputy leader of the Liberal Party, is among several senior politicians from the centre-right government set to quit parliament at upcoming national elections amid expectations of an opposition win.

She said at a talk in Adelaide on Saturday that Melania thought her partner David Patton was Australia’s foreign minister, instead of her, after President Donald Trump struck up a conversation with him, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

“Melania said to me: ‘Julie, will you be coming to my ladies’ lunch tomorrow’?” Bishop said of the encounter at the UN General Assembly Leaders’ week in 2017.

“And I said, ‘No, David’s going to the partners’ lunch’.

“She thought about that, until the president explained that I was the foreign minister.”

Australia’s embattled minority government has been accused of having a “women problem”, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently boosting the number of women politicians in his cabinet to counter the criticism.

Bishop was the only woman among 18 men in the cabinet at one stage.

US first lady, Melania Trump. File picture
US first lady, Melania Trump. File picture
Image: Reuters
US first lady, Melania Trump. File picture
US first lady, Melania Trump. File picture
Image: Reuters
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