“You know what, I’ve never been in a bikini before,” said Melania Trump, who is set to be the first first lady in a generation to be in the spotlight for her own body art.
The first lady, who had her first taste of public nudity at the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, was seen in a white bikini and red and gold necklaces on Saturday at a private reception in the Mar-a-Lago resort.
She was joined by her husband, President Donald Trump, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, and her fashion designer husband, Marc, who was wearing a black and white bathing suit.
Amber Rose, a photographer with Vanity Fair magazine, was also there.
Her presence in the White House was a welcome moment for some of the women in the world’s most exclusive club, but some others expressed frustration.
“It’s a big step,” said Ashley Graham, the fashion editor at Vanity Fair, who said the photo was “unexpected” and “unprofessional”.
“You have to have a sense of humour and you have to be professional, which means you’re not just going to be naked.
You have to not be out there naked.”
She added: “The thing that really bothered me is that the White theocracy has such a strict code of ethics.
They’re supposed to be a good, clean bunch, but when it comes to the nakedness, they’re just so, so, too strict.
I think it’s very troubling.”
The president’s son Eric is in charge of his father’s administration, which will soon begin a major reorganisation of the White house staff, which has seen more than a dozen of his family members and staffers leave their jobs in recent months.
Mr Trump, whose public image has suffered in recent years after being accused of sexually assaulting and assaulting multiple women, had a private lunch with Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner in the Oval Office, where he told the pair that he was proud of them for stepping up to “bring the American Dream to the American people”.
He said they had been “very gracious and gracious and generous” and that they “wanted to say thank you for everything that you do for our country”.
The president is known to occasionally wear black to private functions, including a photo opportunity in the president’s motorcade at Trump Tower in New York last month.
The two presidents, who have not had public relations or public appearances since Mr Trump’s inauguration in January, have been close allies in the past and have frequently held press conferences in the same hotel.
Melania Trump is the first sitting first lady to have her own private beachside retreat, Mar-A-Lago, which was opened in 1999.
The resort is in Florida and is the preferred destination for top politicians and other world leaders.