PALM BEACH, FL—Saying she was still coming to terms with what she had seen several days earlier, Melania Trump told reporters Monday she was left deeply shaken after discovering a secluded attic room in the Mar-a-Lago estate filled with haunting and grotesque self-portraits painted by her husband.
The 46-year-old spouse of Donald Trump, who reportedly opened a door she had never before noticed in a seldom-visited wing of the sprawling seaside mansion, is said to have walked into a studio filled with scores of graphically rendered paintings in which the Republican presidential nominee appears badly disfigured, covered in welts and oozing sores, with severely burnt flesh, or screaming in extraordinary agony.
“It was the most horrifying thing I’ve ever experienced in my life,” said a visibly upset Melania, who recalled stifling a gasp at the sight of an ornately framed painting in which the man she married sits behind his desk with half his facial skin torn off to reveal the bone and musculature below while black bile pours from his mouth. “At first, I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at, but once I got closer and saw how many times he’d drawn himself with dark, empty holes where his eyes should be, I nearly fainted. They were just so…so disturbing. In one, he’s wearing clown makeup and has this completely vacant smile spreading across his face.”
“And there are so many of them,” she continued, trembling. “He must be up there painting every night.”
After looking with some trepidation through several dozen self-portraits sitting on easels, scattered on the floor, and, in a few cases, torn to shreds, the Slovenian-born former model said she inspected the dates in the corners of her husband’s canvases and came to the unsettling realization that his art had only grown more unhinged over time.
Melania described earlier paintings that merely show Donald staring into a mirror and weeping, or crouched alone and naked beneath a charred tree in a forest burned to ash. But a later series reportedly depicts him in the process of shrinking away to nothing: In the first, the twisted, ghostly form of his body looms large above a city skyline, his eyes glassy and lifeless and his face evidently smeared with his own fecal waste; several portraits later, he appears as a pale, shriveled, barely human creature as a tide of blood washes him down a storm drain.
Sources confirmed that many of the works seem to have been defaced by the billionaire mogul’s own hand, with fingernail marks in the paint suggesting he may have frantically clawed away at the spot where his face used to be.
“In the middle of the room, away from the rest of the paintings, there was a single canvas covered in a red satin sheet,” said Melania, struggling to compose herself as she spoke. “When I lifted the covering, I saw what appeared to be a simple family portrait of Donald, the children, and me. But after a moment, I noticed his gray, sunken cheeks, his bulging eyes, and the maggots spilling from his ears and nostrils. He had drawn himself as a rotting corpse.”
“That’s when I ran out of there as fast as I could,” Melania continued.
Though Melania said she has not returned to the studio since fleeing in terror, she confided that the distressing works remain seared into her memory. Especially troubling, she noted, was the 70-year-old candidate’s growing use of a thick russet hue of paint, which she strongly suspected was his own blood.
According to reports, Melania has not yet confronted her husband about her discovery.
“I’ll lie next to him at night trying to will myself to stay awake, because I know the second I close my eyes, all those horrible images will start swirling around in my mind again,” she said, singling out a decade-old composition in which Donald had painted himself—apparently descended into madness—devouring their then-infant son, Barron. “But what’s worse is that after a while, I’ll look over to his side of the bed and it’s empty.”
“And I know he’s up there, painting again,” she added.