Melania Trump Didn’t ‘Care,’ But Jill Biden Wants To Show She Does

A combination photo of First Lady Jill Biden and Melania Trump

 

 

The backdrop of flowers, teapot and US flag said it all: Jill Biden will be no Melania Trump as America’s new first lady.

Where Donald Trump’s ex-model wife cut a flashy but often distant figure, Jill Biden’s appearance on a Zoom “virtual tea” party Wednesday with military spouses affirmed her image as a down-to-earth, traditional FLOTUS.

“It’s hard for me to believe it’s only been two weeks since the inauguration and already I’ve had so much to do,” Jill Biden said.

As different to Melania Trump as her husband President Joe Biden is to Donald Trump, she drew on her own military roots and middle class American upbringing to connect with others on the video call.

“I learned my love of this country from my dad,” Jill Biden, 69, said, recalling the ritual of accompanying her veteran father to a war memorial.

At a later event to support the National Cancer Institute, Biden again underlined her experience with the realities of ordinary life, as she recounted cancer taking the lives of her parents and then her son Beau at just 46 years old.

 

 

(FILES) In this file photo First lady Jill Biden’s necklace spells “Mama” as she takes a tour of Whitman-Walker Health hospital on January 22, 2021 in Washington, DC.   (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin / POOL / AFP)

 

 Do you care?

Melania Trump, who came from Slovenia to the United States as a young immigrant model and met Donald Trump, perhaps had a dramatic American story of her own.

But a private nature held her back from sharing it.

She rarely spoke at length in public and even less so in unscripted situations, unlike Jill Biden, an accomplished public speaker.

Instead, Melania Trump’s extravagant clothing often got the real attention.

This included the all black Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana and Christian Louboutin ensemble worn on departing the White House for the last time in January. By the time she landed in Florida, she’d switched into a colorful Gucci dress worth thousands of dollars — still, as was widely noted, sticking to foreign designers.

Jill Biden, who is keeping her day job as English teacher at Northern Virginia Community College, appeared Wednesday on Zoom in a sensible-looking dark suit jacket.

She did wear designer duds at her husband’s January 20 inauguration, but rather than fancy European brands she picked the New York-based label Markarian.

Melania Trump made many fashion statements, including wearing a colonial-style pith helmet to Kenya.

None, though, was more remarkable, if not downright bizarre, than her 2018 appearance in a jacket reading: “I really don’t care do u?”

Jill Biden appears to be signalling: yes, she does.

 

(FILES) In this file photo First lady Jill Biden talks with members of the National Guard, after surprising them with chocolate chip cookies and posing for photos outside the Capitol on January 22, 2021, in Washington, DC.  – The backdrop of flowers, teapot and US flag said it all: Jill Biden will be no Melania Trump as America’s new first lady.
Where Donald Trump’s ex-model wife cut a flashy but often distant figure, Jill Biden’s appearance on a Zoom “virtual tea” party February 3 with military spouses affirmed her image as a down-to-earth, traditional FLOTUS. (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin / POOL / AFP)

 

– No arguments –
First ladies have the odd position of being married to the most powerful man in the country but without a formal public role.

So usually they pick a topic to focus on, using the power of publicity rather than law to bring change.

For Melania Trump, it was a somewhat ill-defined “Be Best” campaign for children’s wellbeing, which she promoted only sporadically.

In Jill Biden’s case, there are three topics and all have the extra heft of being deeply personal.

The first is building support for military families, a community that she knew well as mother of the late Beau, who went to Iraq with the US National Guard.

The second strand is promoting support for cancer patients and research — a topic that Beau’s death from brain cancer in 2015 seared into the Biden family identity.

The third draws on her lifelong career in education. Biden was marking student papers right through her husband’s tense presidential campaign and she makes history as a first lady with a paying job beyond the White House walls.

“That’s my passion,” she told People magazine in a joint interview with Joe Biden. “That’s my life.”

One more difference?

The state of the relationship between Donald Trump and Melania, his third wife, was a constant source of gossip.

The Bidens, though, are threatening to leave the tabloids empty handed.

“After 43 years of marriage there’s really not that much more to fight about,” Jill Biden told People.

In Farewell Video, Melania Trump Says Be Passionate, But Not Violent

Melania Trump said it was her “greatest honor” to serve as the first lady beside her husband, President Donald Trump.

 

 

First Lady Melania Trump released a farewell message Monday as she prepares to leave the White House, saying that “violence is never the answer,” weeks after the president’s supporters stormed the US Capitol.

In a formal, six-minute speech recorded on video, she made only a fleeting reference to her husband as she paid tribute to military families, pandemic health workers and those helping victims of opioid abuse.

“The past four years have been unforgettable,” the First Lady said. “As Donald and I conclude our time in the White House, I think of all of the people I have taken home in my heart and their incredible stories of love, patriotism and determination.”

“Be passionate in everything you do. But always remember that violence is never the answer, and will never be justified,” she said.

“When I came to the White House, I reflected on the responsibility I have always felt as a mother to encourage, give strength and teach values of kindness.”

The Trumps’ departure has been fractious, with the president refusing for months to accept the election result due to false allegations of fraud, and declining to congratulate his successor Joe Biden.

The outgoing president and his wife have also not invited Biden and his wife Jill for the traditional tea visit in the Oval Office, and will not attend Biden’s presidential inauguration on Wednesday.

“The promise of this nation belongs to all of us who do not lose sight of our integrity and values, use every opportunity to show consideration for another person, and build good habits into our daily lives,” Melania Trump, 50, said.

President Donald Trump has been largely out of the public eye since his supporters rampaged through Congress on January 6, triggering his historic second impeachment a week later.

Trump Says ‘We Are Winning This Election’ At First Post-Poll Rally

US President Donald Trump holds up his fist as he leaves the stage at the end of a rally to support Republican Senate candidates at Valdosta Regional Airport in Valdosta, Georgia on December 5, 2020. – President Donald Trump ventures out of Washington on Saturday for his first political appearance since his election defeat to Joe Biden, campaigning in Georgia where two run-off races will decide the fate of the US Senate. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP).

 

Donald Trump launched into another litany of baseless claims that the US presidential election was stolen from him at his first post-poll rally on Saturday, telling the crowd he would still end up winning.

“We’re winning this election,” Trump said at the rally in Valdosta, Georgia, adding later that “we will still win it.”

“It’s rigged. It’s a fixed deal,” he said of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Despite surging cases of Covid-19 nationwide, few masks could be seen at the rally and many in the crowd were not abiding by social-distancing measures.

Trump was joined by first lady Melania Trump, who gave a short speech before the president’s.

The former reality show star was campaigning in Georgia on behalf of two Republican Senate candidates facing a hugely important runoff on January 5.

The runoff races will decide which party controls the US Senate, and Trump continued his fear-mongering about rival Democrats.

“The voters of Georgia will determine which party runs every committee, writes every piece of legislation, controls every single taxpayer dollar,” he said.

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“Very simply, you will decide whether your children will grow up in a socialist country or whether they will grow up in a free country.”

There had been concerns from some Republicans over whether Trump’s continuing claims of fraud would drive down voter turnout among Republicans in the upcoming election, making his appearance somewhat of a gamble.

Trump made clear he was neither ready to concede to Biden nor give up on his baseless claims of fraud dismissed by a long line of courts.

Biden won Georgia by just under 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992 to win the Republican stronghold.

AFP

Obama Extends Support To Trump, Despite ‘Political Fight’

A photo combination of US President Donald Trump and former US President, Barack Obama.
A photo combination of US President Donald Trump and former US President, Barack Obama.

 

Former President Barack Obama on Friday sent a message of support to White House successor Donald Trump and his wife Melania, setting aside the bitter election battle to wish them a rapid recovery from COVID-19.

“Although we’re in the midst of a big political fight, and we take that very seriously, we also want to extend our best wishes to the president of the United States, the first lady,” Obama said at the start of a fundraising event with vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

“Michelle and I are hopeful that they and others that have been affected by Covid-19 around the country are getting the care that they need, that they are going to be on the path to a speedy recovery.” he said.

“We’re all Americans and we’re all human beings, and we want to make sure everybody is healthy.”

 

 

 

 

 

-AFP

Trump’s Teenage Son Barron Tests Negative For COVID-19

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 18, 2019, US President Donald Trump (C) First Lady Melania Trump (R) and their son Barron Trump (L) return to the White House after two weeks spent at Trump’s golf club in New Jersey, in Washington, DC. – Barron Trump, 14, has tested negative for the coronavirus after both his parents tested positive, a spokeswoman said on October 2, 2020. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP)

 

The 14-year-old son of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus after both his parents tested positive, a spokeswoman said Friday.

“Barron has tested negative and all precautions are being taken to ensure he’s kept safe and healthy,” Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.

More to follow . . .

Biden Wishes Trump, Melania ‘Swift Recovery’ From COVID-19

(From L) US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden and wife of former US Vice President Joe Biden Jill Biden gesture after the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)

 

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Friday wished President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania a swift recovery from COVID-19.

“Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery,” Biden said as America and the world digested the bombshell news overnight that Trump has contracted the coronavirus.

 

This combination of pictures created on September 29, 2020 shows Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and US President Donald Trump speaking during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020.
JIM WATSON, SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

“We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family,” Biden said on Twitter.

It was not immediately clear whether the former vice president had been tested since appearing at Tuesday’s presidential debate with Trump or whether he was taking any additional safety protocols. Trump and Biden did not shake hands during the debate but stood without masks about 10 feet apart for the 90-minute event.

The 14-year-old son of President Trump and Melania tested negative for the coronavirus after both his parents tested positive.

“Barron has tested negative and all precautions are being taken to ensure he’s kept safe and healthy,” Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.

 

 

 

-AFP

Trump, Wife Postpone Campaign Trips After Contracting COVID-19

In this file photo taken on September 29, 2020 US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland, Ohio. US President Donald Trump said early on October 2, 2020 that he and First Lady Melania had tested positive for the coronavirus. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

US President, Donald Trump and First Lady, Melania, have postponed all upcoming engagements after the duo tested positive for COVID-19.

“As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19,” Melania tweeted, Friday.

“We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.”

Trump’s challenger, Democrat Joe Biden has made criticism of the Republican’s handling of the coronavirus — and frequent downplaying of the pandemic’s seriousness — a key issue.

Trump, in response, has been betting on an evermore aggressive schedule of campaign rallies around the country. The events, which he says prove his true political strength, bring together thousands of people, often without masks and sometimes in contravention of local rules.

 

This combination of pictures created on September 29, 2020 shows Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and US President Donald Trump speaking during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020.
JIM WATSON, SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

That strategy is now in doubt, with the White House immediately canceling a planned campaign rally in the crucial swing state of Florida later Friday.

It looked certain that Trump would have to cancel a trip scheduled for this weekend in Wisconsin, another battleground. He had also been expected to travel frequently next week, including longer distances to western states.

A second televised debate with Biden is scheduled for October 15.

Technically obese and in his 70s, Trump is in a higher-risk category for coronavirus patients.

Both Doing Well

Trump’s official physician, Sean Conley, said in a statement that the president and his wife “are both well at this time.”

“They plan to remain home at the White House during their convalescence,” he said. However, “I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”

Melania Trump Brings Compassion On Pandemic, Immigrants At Republican Convention

US First Lady Melania Trump addresses the Republican Convention during its second day from the Rose Garden of the White House August 25, 2020, in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP.

 

Melania Trump put a kinder, gentler sheen on Donald Trump’s reelection campaign with a star turn at the Republican convention Tuesday where she broke ranks to speak compassionately about coronavirus victims and recalled her own immigrant story in an appeal for racial harmony.

Unlike often aggressive speeches by two of Trump’s children from previous marriages, Eric and Tiffany, the first lady brought a soft touch to her keynote address from the White House’s Rose Garden.

The coronavirus, which has killed 178,000 Americans and wreaked economic chaos, was almost entirely ignored by other speakers — and the president himself.

Melania Trump began by offering prayers for the “ill and suffering.”

“My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one,” she said.

The simple acknowledgement of the tragedy shaking the United States was a jarring change in the mood of the convention, which has mostly been a steady drumbeat of attacks on what Republicans call a “radical left” under Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

“I don’t want to use this precious time to attack the other side,” she said.

The 26-minute speech, which she delivered in her heavily accented English, also was remarkable for her defense of the immigrant experience and acknowledgement of soaring racial tensions — two combustible topics that her husband is often accused of stoking for political gain.

“I have reflected on the racial unrest in our country. It is a harsh reality that we are not proud of parts of our history,” she said.

“I call on the citizens of this country to take a moment, pause, and look at things from all perspectives,” she said. “We still have so much to learn from one another.”

The first lady followed a controversial speech by heavy hitting Trump supporter and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who broke with longtime tradition to campaign openly for the president while on diplomatic business in Israel.

One person who didn’t address the nation on Tuesday, however, was a so-called “angel mom,” Mary Ann Mendoza. She had been due to tell the story of her son’s death after he was hit by a drunk driver who was in the country illegally.

Mendoza was yanked from the schedule at the last minute after it emerged that she had just retweeted an elaborate anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about Jews taking over the world.

– ‘American dream’ speech –

The role of Mendoza had been meant to highlight Trump’s relentless, hardline focus on illegal immigration, a policy at the heart of his popularity with the Republican right.

However, Melania Trump was there to try to humanize a president seen by Democrats as cruelly exploiting anti-immigrant feelings.

She recounted her arrival in the United States from Slovenia as a 26-year-old fashion model, saying she’d “always heard about an amazing place called America.”

After 10 years in “the land of opportunity” she said she became a citizen, “still one of the proudest moments in my life.”

Trump has made his political career in part on demonizing illegal immigrants, depicting the huge numbers of undocumented people working and sometimes living for many years in the country as a horde of rapists and murderers.

However, with Biden leading in opinion polls, the Trump campaign is seeking to claw back some of the middle ground.

Before Melania Trump spoke, the president sprung a surprise with a video played to the convention of him attending a naturalization ceremony for immigrants at the White House earlier that day.

– ‘Suburban housewives’ –

The campaign is also hoping that Melania Trump’s appearance will reach the women voters that opinion polls show are turning to Biden.

Trump, who has been dogged by more than a dozen accusations of sexual assault and harassment, as well as multiple claims of extramarital affairs, is working hard to get what he calls the “suburban housewives” on his side.

Almost daily, he warns that Democrats will bring a scary combination of violent crime and lower house prices to those women.

Melania Trump, 50, again offered a softer approach, directly addressing mothers who are worried about their children’s social media habits.

And after a torrent of speculation about the state of her marriage to the billionaire — and biting criticism of his character from other family members — she mounted a strong defense.

“We all know Donald Trump makes no secret about how he feels,” she said in a possible nod to the president’s loud and often brutal way of expressing opinions on other people.

“Total honesty is what US citizens deserve,” she said. “Whether you like it or not, you always know what he’s thinking and that is because he’s an authentic person who loves this country.”

AFP

Melania Trump Statue Burned In Slovenia

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on July 07, 2020 shows (Left) a file photo taken on July 5, 2019 of what conceptual artist Ales 'Maxi' Zupevc claims is the first ever monument of Melania Trump, set in the fields near town of Sevnica, US First Lady’s hometown, and (Right) a photo taken on July 7, 2020, showing the charred remains of a tree trunk that once acted as a plinth to the wooden statue of Melania Trump seen in a field near town of Sevnica. - After Melania cake, Melania honey, and even Melania slippers, the Slovenian hometown of the US's first lady will now boast a statue of its most famous daughter -- albeit one which has faced decidedly mixed reviews. The life-size statue on the outskirts of Sevnica was inaugurated on July 5, 2019. The statue was set on fire by unknown perpetrators on July 5, 2020, a year after the official inaugural celebrations. (Photos by Jure Makovec / AFP) /
(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on July 07, 2020 shows (Left) a file photo taken on July 5, 2019 of what conceptual artist Ales ‘Maxi’ Zupevc claims is the first-ever monument of Melania Trump, set in the fields near town of Sevnica, US First Lady’s hometown, and (Right) a photo taken on July 7, 2020, showing the charred remains of a tree trunk that once acted as a plinth to the wooden statue of Melania Trump seen in a field near town of Sevnica. (Photos by Jure Makovec / AFP)

 

 

The US artist behind a wooden statue of Melania Trump in Slovenia said Thursday that he was mulling an “artistic response” after his work was burned down at the weekend.

American conceptual artist Brad Downey erected the life-sized statue near the US First Lady’s hometown of Sevnica a year ago as part of a project aimed at exploring her roots.

But the statue sparked mixed reactions. While some saw it as an effective parody, others said it looked like a scarecrow and should be removed.

Slovenian police said they were now probing the July 5 burning down of the statue.

“Unknown perpetrators tried to burn down the wooden statue in the early hours of July 5,” police spokesman Robert Perc told AFP.

Downey, who coincidentally was in Slovenia when the statue was set on fire, managed to rush to Sevnica and remove it before pictures of the damaged sculpture went viral.

“I would not like pictures of the horrific burnt face to become a ‘meme’,” the 40-year-old artist told AFP, dismissing media speculation that he himself had burned it down as part of his project.

He said the attack may have been linked to the July 4.US Independence Day celebrations.

“I think I should make an artistic reply… I’m hoping to,” Downey added but declined to give further details.

The statue had been inaugurated on July 5 last year after Downey commissioned local artisan Ales Zupevc, also known as “Maxi”, to carve the sculpture into a tree using a chainsaw.

Another wooden statue — of US President Donald Trump himself — in a village north of the capital Ljubljana was burned down by suspected vandals in January.

That statue was named “statue of liberty” by architect Tomaz Schlegl who wanted it to serve as a criticism of populist politics.

 

 

AFP

‘Free Melania’ Offers New Details About US First Lady

US First Lady Melania Trump boards a plane at Andrews Air Force Base for a three state overnight trip in Maryland.  AFP

 

Melania Trump has a White House suite of her own, is less than chummy with first daughter Ivanka, and uses her wardrobe to make statements, a new biography about the US first lady says.

“Free, Melania,” an unauthorized look at President Donald Trump‘s wife by CNN reporter Kate Bennett, is set for release on Tuesday, but official Washington is already buzzing about its contents.

At 49, and three years into her husband’s administration, the Slovenia-born ex-model remains genuinely private and “mysterious” to much of the public, while acutely aware of all that is said about her and her husband, says Bennett.

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But she is hardly the docile third wife of an extremely powerful man accused of being a serial womanizer, the author writes.

Instead, Melania is prepared to let her husband know what she thinks — and to use her sharp elbows when she feels slighted.

The first lady is “way more powerful and influential with her husband” than the public knows, Bennett says.

The author confirms reports last year that Melania was responsible for the firing of a senior White House national security official, Mira Ricardel, after the first lady felt slighted during a October 2018 trip to Africa.

The book also confirms that the first lady lives in a two-room suite on the third floor of the White House — one floor up from the president’s master bedroom.

The suite offers Melania extra space to do her hair and makeup. She also has an exercise room with a Pilates machine.

In another revelation, Bennett said the kidney treatment that led to Melania’s 25-day absence from public view last year was much more serious and painful than previously revealed.

The language of fashion 

While she speaks little in public, Melania finds her voice in her clothes, Bennett says.

That was clear when she donned an olive green Zara coat in June 2018 with the words “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” on the back.

Some thought it was an attack on President Trump’s policies toward migrant children, and by others as a brickbat for the press.

But Bennett says it in fact was directed at step-daughter Ivanka Trump, who Melania sees as sometimes usurping the first lady’s role.

Their relationship is described in the book as “cordial, not close.”

Bennett also says that when Melania wears pantsuits and other menswear styles, it signals unhappiness with her husband, “because Trump notoriously likes to see women in tight, short, ubersexy and feminine dresses.”

“Each thing she does has meaning to it, even the clothing she wears,” writes Bennett.

The book does not have any direct input from Melania, whose husband has declared Bennett’s network an enemy of his administration.

It labels the first lady’s “Be Best” campaign against bullying a poorly executed flop, but otherwise is generally positive.

Bennett, whose beat is first lady and the Trump family, appears to be deeply sympathetic to Melania, who is often painted as a prisoner of her husband by his critics.

That view spawned the online meme “Free Melania” — and inspired the book’s more cryptically punctuated title.

“She doesn’t need freeing of any kind,” says Bennett.

AFP

Troops Take Selfies With Trump, Melania In Unannounced Iraq Visit

Troops Take Selfies With Trump, Melania In Unannounced Iraq Visit
US President Donald Trump takes a photo as he greets members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018. SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

Troops took selfies with President Donald Trump on Wednesday in a surprise visit to Iraq, his first trip to US troops deployed in a war zone since being elected two years ago.

Trump, accompanied by his wife Melania, landed at 7:16 pm local time at Al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq.

According to AFP, the president spoke to troops and met with military leaders.

READ ALSO: Trump, Melania Visit Troops In Iraq

Although the visit took place in considerable secrecy, speculation had been mounting that Trump might make such a trip.

The visit followed the decision of the American leader to slash troop levels in Afghanistan and pull out entirely from Syria.

Trump also took to his twitter handle to share a video of the visit.

Highlights of the visit are captured in the pictures below;

Melania Trump Calls For Sack Of National Security Aide

File Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

US First Lady Melania Trump on Tuesday publicly pushed for the dismissal of deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel – a rare criticism of a senior administration official by the president’s wife.

The rebuke – via a brief statement from the first lady’s spokeswoman — came amid swirling speculation about a possible shake-up of President Donald Trump’s cabinet following last week’s midterm elections.

“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House,” Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal claimed Ricardel had been fired and escorted out of the White House, but an administration official denied that to reporters.

Ricardel reportedly battled with the first lady’s staff during her trip to Africa last month and was believed to be the source of negative stories about Melania Trump, according to the Journal, which cited unnamed sources.

After last week’s midterm elections, the Republican president was expected to make some changes as he prepares for the second half of his term in office.

Among those on the possible chopping block: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, a close ally of Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly.

Trump is reportedly unhappy with how Nielsen is handling the situation at the US-Mexico border.

When asked Tuesday about possible staff changes, Trump declined to comment on specifics, only telling reporters: “We’ll be talking about it.”

It was however unclear if he was responding to that question, or a question about a lawsuit filed by CNN against his administration over the stripping of CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s White House credentials.