Donald Trump Addresses Wife Melania’s Absence from Campaign Trail: ‘I Like to Keep Her Away from It’

"She’s right now with Barron at school," the former president said in an interview with NBC's Kristen Welker. "She loves that boy"

<p>Joe Raedle/Getty</p> Former U.S. President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump on New Year

Joe Raedle/Getty

Former U.S. President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump on New Year's Eve 2022

Melania Trump's absence from her husband's presidential campaign trail has been strategic, Donald Trump claims.

During a preview of his upcoming interview on Meet the Press that aired on the Today show Friday, the former president, 77, told new moderator Kristen Welker that it's been his decision not to bring Melania along as he vies for a chance at reelection.

"Honestly, I like to keep her away from it," he said. "It's so nasty and so mean."

That doesn't mean Melania won't be appearing down the line. "She'll be with us. She's very, very, supportive," said Donald, suggesting that Melania, 53, would be on the trail at some point. "Soon, yeah, pretty soon. When it's appropriate, but pretty soon."

"She's very popular, she actually is," he continued. "She’s a private person — a great person, a very confident person — and she loves our country very much."

Related: Donald Trump Thanked Everyone in His Family Except Wife Melania in Mar-a-Lago Speech After Arraignment

<p>SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty</p> Former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump in October 2020


Former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump in October 2020

Donald said that for now, Melania remains focused on their 17-year-old son, Barron, and life as a mom in Palm Beach, Florida. "She’s right now with Barron at school," said Donald. "She loves that boy."

That aligns with what a source told PEOPLE in August, in the wake of Donald's latest indictment out of Georgia and the release of his historic mug shot.

“Melania is good at taking care of business at hand which includes her own life, the life of her son, and the lives of her close family members,” the insider said, noting that "while Melania remains an ally of her husband, she privately focuses on her own life and that of Barron."

Another source echoed Melania's decision to stay out of the spotlight. “Melania publicly supports her husband but privately prefers a life with 100 percent privacy and no press scrutiny,” the source said.

“She knows how her husband is but still believes there has been too much dumping on him and wants nothing to do with any of it," the source continued. "She hates all of the legal problems and says very little about them anytime anywhere. She leads her own life.”

Related: Melania Trump Carries On After Georgia Indictment: 'Another Problem for Her Husband, Not for Her' (Exclusive)

<p>Getty Images</p> Donald Trump, Melania Trump and son Barron Trump (center)

Getty Images

Donald Trump, Melania Trump and son Barron Trump (center)

Meanwhile, Donald is facing a total of 91 criminal counts between four investigations, some of which have potential to land him in prison if convicted.

In one unsealed, 38-count indictment, prosecutors allege former President Trump retained over 100 classified documents after leaving the White House and lied to his own attorneys (and, in some cases, instructed them to lie) to attempt to obstruct the investigation and hide that he was possessing some of the documents.

Related: Melania Trump Wants Donald to Fight Charges 'to the End' — but Don't Expect Public Remarks (Exclusive Source)

In another preview of his interview with Welker on Meet the Press that Today aired Friday, Donald said he’d testify under oath denying he asked a staffer to delete security-camera footage at his Mar-a-Lago residence so it wouldn’t get into the hands of investigators.

"That’s false. False," he said about the allegation before insulting the prosecutor and claiming that no tapes were deleted. "And they were my tapes. I could have fought them. I didn’t even have to give them the tapes, I don’t think."

Meet the Press with Kristen Welker airs Sunday (9 a.m. ET) on NBC.

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Read the original article on People.