President Donald Trump is singing the First Lady's praises

By Maura Hohman
October 19, 2018 01:02 PM

President Donald Trump is singing the first lady’s praises.

At a rally in Montana on Thursday, the 45th commander in chief, 72, addressed an incident from earlier in the week — when a plane his wife, Melania Trump, 48, was aboard had to make an emergency landing after smoke and a burning smell were detected on the aircraft, en route to Philadelphia.

“She was cool, she was cool,” Trump told the crowd. “Once I found out, I asked how was she, was she scared? ‘No, sir.’ What was she like? ‘She was so cool, we couldn’t believe it.’ Everybody else had cloth on their face, and I probably would have also. Cloth that was water, right wet on their face. She sat there.”

Melania Trump deplanes an aircraft after smoke and a burning smell were detected
| Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

He then described how he responded when he heard the news.

“I got a call, ‘Sir, your wife is up in the air, there’s a fire on the plane,’ ” Trump recalled. “I said, ‘Don’t tell me that. Don’t tell me that.’ And they came down quickly. Great people, great pilots, great pilot.”

Also during Thursday’s speech, the president defended Mrs. Trump’s much-criticized fashion choice to wear a pith helmet on a safari in Nairobi National Park in Kenya. She was slammed because the hat is commonly associated with colonialists.

“They said it represented a colonialized nation,” Trump said. “And everybody’s trying to figure — I think it came out of Los Angeles. I think they actually bought it in Los Angeles. But they love the job she’s doing.”

Melania Trump
| Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The brief crisis involving the first lady’s flight took place Wednesday when she was traveling to meet with families affected by neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. The mechanical problem forced her plane to return to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

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Reporter Emily Heil, who was on the plane, noted in a pool report that a member of the flight crew passed out damp washcloths for passengers to hold over their faces for the burning smell.

Another journalist, Fin Gomez of CBS News, reported that the issue may have been a malfunctioning “comms unit.” No one was injured.