Melania Trump

How about a nice PR accessory to go with the hat? Vanessa Friedman, chief fashion critic of the New York Times, ridiculed Melania Trump’s decision to auction off the over-the-top hat that she wore during the first formal visit of French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, to the White House on April 24, 2018.

That ostentatious topper overshadowed the Macrons and the pomp of the day. Trump stuck out like a sore thumb. Or perhaps, the millinery signalled the need for attention.

The nation’s eyes were glued in fascination to Melania’s lid, which is described as “the iconic white broad-brimmed, high blocked crown hat” on her website.

She commissioned the creation of that one-of-a-kind chapeau to mark the “important moment for the country,” apparently referring to the French couple’s visit to DC.

More likely, the headgear helped Melania redirect the spotlight from her husband, even if just for a moment.

Friedman sniffed that Trump’s auction flies in the face of tradition as First Ladies generally donate the clothes they wore to a special federal event to the National Archives or the Smithsonian.

Melania, of course, was not a traditional First Lady. In raffling off her headdress, she is carrying out the Trump family tradition of squeezing every penny that it can from its four-year run in DC.

What’s next for Melania?

How about auctioning another item of the outfit she wore at on that festive April day, a “pair of Christian Louboutin stilettos in blue denim, white trim and a red sole, symbolic of her country’s flag”

USA, USA, indeed.

Calling out the heavy PR artillery. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the beleaguered director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has reached out to media guru Mandy Grunwald for communications guidance.

Grunwald, who cut her PR teeth at the legendary Sawyer Miller Group shop, was Bill Clinton’s ad director during his 1992 presidential campaign, and campaign manager for Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s three successful runs for New York's Senate seat.

She has a reputation of being a hard-nosed and somewhat brusque PR counselor who gets the job done. In other words, she is just what the doctor ordered.

Walensky has been unfairly criticized for offering shifting guidance concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

The real problem: the public is “worn out” by the pandemic and is desperate for a magic bullet to kill Omicron once and for all. But there is no single bullet in the communications holster.

Unfortunately, Omicron is a fast-moving pandemic with a quickly-evolving nature that requires the CDC’s 12,000 scientists to update and frequently change their recommendations.

The public may get the impression that the shifting recommendations from the CDC shows the healthcare watchdog doesn’t have a clue about dealing with Omicron.

The reality: the CDC must retain flexibility to keep one step ahead of the virus.

Xavier Becerra, Health and Human Services secretary, said Walensky, who is an expert in infectious diseases, is the right person to lead the CDC.

He conceded though that she “has a degree in public health and not in marketing.”

That’s where Grunwald, a doctor of PR, comes in.

Robinhood has solved the return to work crisisIt told workers to stay home for good.

The online stock trading platform announced Jan. 12 that Robinhoodies (e.g, staffers) can work remotely forever.

There will be no location or regular in-office requirement for a large segment of Robinhood’s workforce, though "teams will come together occasionally for key experiences and moments that drive connection and innovation,” the company blogged.

Robinhood promises to find new ways to cultivate community and create a consistent experience within its offices and remote hubs.

The goal is to disrupt “proximity bias,” in which workers who show up at the office stand a better chance of advancement.

PR firms are going to follow in Robinhood’s footsteps?