NEW YORK, U.S. - In a rather daring move that has stirred up quite the frenzy, the New York Post published photos of Donald Trumps wife Melania Trump in her birthday suit from her modelling days in the 1990s.
According to reports, the newspaper had sourced "some rarely seen and others never published" pictures that were taken during a shoot in 1995 in Manhattan for a photo spread for a now-defunct French men's magazine, and published them on its front page saying You've never seen a potential First Lady like this.
The photographer, Ale de Basseville, had taken several X-rated shots of then 25-year-old Trump from different angles as she struck poses inspired by the Renaissance era.
The raunchy photos were released only a week after her speech in the Republican National Convention where, after receiving severe flak for lifting paragraphs from one of First Lady Michelle Obamas addresses, the nation only wondered what sort of bad press would be dished up next.
New York Post answered their prayers, as did another set of steamy photos released a day after the city tabloid made its first attention-hungry move.
The new set of images featured Donald Trumps wife in a lesbian love tryst with another female model, wearing nothing but a pair of high heels, and were also shot for the Max Magazine in 1996.
Basseville described Melania Trump as a true professional, and added, I always loved women together, because I have been with a lot of women who desired the menage a trois. This is beauty and not porn. I am always shocked by the porn industry because they are destroying the emotion and the essence of purity and simplicity.
He lauded Trump and said, I think it is important to show the beauty and freedom of the woman, and I am very proud of these pictures because they celebrate Melanias beauty.
Donald Trump himself reacted rather even-handedly to the publication, putting a dampener on how the tabloid probably expected him to react.
Exhibiting diplomacy and maturity, Trump said, Melania was one of the most successful models, and she did many photo shoots, including for covers and major magazines. This was a picture taken for a European magazine prior to my knowing Melania. In Europe, pictures like this are very fashionable and common.
The brazen front page spread also did not strike the expected cord with readers, who were largely nonplussed, despite adding a rather colourful twist to the already unpredictable election campaign.
Instead, attention has been largely diverted towards the tactic itself as speculations arose about whether the move was simply a cheap publicity stunt, or a diversionary tactic to detract attention from the controversy surrounding Trump's comments to the father of a Muslim man who died a hero's death while fighting for the U.S. in Iraq.
Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of a Muslim American war hero, Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, took proudly to the Democratic National Convention stage and gave an impassioned speech that denounced Donald Trump, to which Trump responded indicating that Ghazala maybe wasnt allowed to have anything to say due to her religion.
Brendan O'Connor of Gawker fame said, Is it any wonder that his campaign might want to create a diversion? Its also the second time in two weeks Melania has gotten thrown under the bus for the Trump campaigns ineptitude and routine mediocrity.
Social media went berserk, stating that the front page spread was rather tasteless, even for tabloid standards - and therefore, would sell really well.
Some took to Twitter to express their doubts about whether the tabloid had allied itself with the Clinton campaign, and many anti-Trump voters also criticised the move as sexist and uncalled for.