Donald Trump’s wife Melania has been appearing almost non-stop in the headlines. Naturally, this created a firestorm of Trump supporters raging about attacking poor, sweet, innocent Melania. They call putting the spotlight on her “pathetic,” and shine a sinister light on anyone who would dare attack someone who isn’t on the ballot.

In fact, after writing this piece about Melania lying about a college degree she never got, I woke up to comments on my Facebook from those who weren’t too pleased about my helping expose the lie, all of them R’s. The expected Twitter backlash – though minimal for this article – was a study in white knighting. The ever present icing on the proverbial cake was that I was accused of helping “Killary.”

Of course, I’m willing to bet many of these people had no problem combing through Michelle Obama’s past, and criticizing her every move when her husband was attempting to attain the White House. If they did, they were right to.

But to those of us who do criticize the spouses of candidates openly, there is a method to our madness. This isn’t ugly politics, or hate driven attacks on loved ones. Admittedly, it can attain those levels, but the truth is that this kind of scrutiny is necessary.

Spouses of candidates are an integral part of the campaign process. They give speeches, they appear for photo-ops, and they help drive a narrative around the candidate in question. Rest assured, they aren’t private figures. They’re a cog in the machine.

Spouses have handlers, staff, and assistants just like the candidates do. The big difference between a spouse and any other campaign staffer is that one is wearing the candidate’s ring.

So when Melania and the Trump campaign blatantly lies about having a college degree, or rips off a speech, this is something you want to know about. Not only to stay informed, but because you need to know full well what kind of campaign, or what kind of people you’re throwing in with.

Furthermore, spouses aren’t idle when they enter into the White House. They become a part of the big picture. They take on projects, continue to make appearances, give speeches, pose in photos, and more.

But this isn’t the most important part.

When a President lays down at night in bed, he’s doing so next this person. She – or “he” in Hillary’s case – is likely who they talk to last at the end of the night. That person is going to have their ear, and not just on a business level, but an emotional level. In this case, Melania Trump is going to be the person a President Trump would be listening to, and discussing things with before he sleeps at night.

So it’s imperative to know what kind of person is going to be influencing the man or woman driving this country.

Yes, the attacks can get ugly. Sometimes completely uncalled for low blows happen, and they shouldn’t. It’s important to know however, the difference between low blows, and informing people as to the character of someone who will be involved in the highest office in the land.

A spouse may be a spouse, but at the end of the day, a spouse is still another staffer, and a very important one at that.