Home News Melania Trump launches ferocious attack on ex-aide Stephanie Winston Wolkoff

Melania Trump launches ferocious attack on ex-aide Stephanie Winston Wolkoff


Melania Trump went after Stephanie Winston Wolkoff in a ferocious blog post Friday morning, slamming the ‘salacious claims’ in the memoir and claiming her former best friend wrote a ‘book of idle gossip trying to distort my character.’

The first lady also attacked the media for reporting on ‘Melania & Me,’ a memoir of Wolkoff’s time working on Donald Trump’s January 2017 inauguration and in the East Wing.

‘Once again, outlets chose to focus their coverage on pettiness over my positive work. There are plenty of opportunists out there who only care about themselves, and unfortunately seek to self-aggrandize by knowingly taking advantage of my goodwill,’ Melania wrote.

Wolkoff’s book – the first to come from a former member of Melania’s inner circle – painted an unflattering portrait of the first lady. Wolkoff also recorded conversations with Melania that she played for the media during her book tour. 

Melania claimed the conversations that Wolkoff played only had portions that were designed to make her look bad. 

She blasted Wolkoff as someone who ‘secretly recorded our phone calls, releasing portions from me that were out of context, then wrote a book of idle gossip trying to distort my character.’

The essay, posted on the official White House website, marked the first time Melania Trump commented on the book and the tapes, which revealed the first lady making disparaging remarks about having to decorate the White House for Christmas and about immigrant children being separated from their parents.

One-time friends: Melania Trump went after Stephanie Winston Wolkoff in a ferocious blog post Friday morning, slamming the 'salacious claims' in the memoir and claiming her former best friend wrote a 'book of idle gossip trying to distort my character'

One-time friends: Melania Trump went after Stephanie Winston Wolkoff in a ferocious blog post Friday morning, slamming the ‘salacious claims’ in the memoir and claiming her former best friend wrote a ‘book of idle gossip trying to distort my character’

In the nearly 500 word post, Melania touted her Be Best work – which promotes well-being, online safety, and opioid abuse – and then went on to attack her former friend.

Melania Trump on her former best friend 

Over the last couple of weeks, I have had time to reflect on many things personal to me. One of the most honorable and important roles I have ever undertaken has been serving you, the American people, as the First Lady of this country.

When I thought about where I wanted to put my time and efforts, there was no hesitation. BE BEST has one simple purpose—to help children. It serves to provide the tools children need to prepare them for their futures.

We all know that more often than not, information that could be helpful to children is lost in the noise made by self-serving adults. I have most recently found this to be the case as major news outlets eagerly covered salacious claims made by a former contractor who advised my office. A person who said she “made me” even though she hardly knew me, and someone who clung to me after my husband won the Presidency. This is a woman who secretly recorded our phone calls, releasing portions from me that were out of context, then wrote a book of idle gossip trying to distort my character. Her “memoir” included blaming me for her ailing health from an accident she had long ago, and for bad news coverage that she brought upon herself and others. Never once looking within at her own dishonest behavior and all in an attempt to be relevant. These kinds of people only care about their personal agenda—not about helping others.

Once again, outlets chose to focus their coverage on pettiness over my positive work. There are plenty of opportunists out there who only care about themselves, and unfortunately seek to self-aggrandize by knowingly taking advantage of my goodwill.

Anyone who is focused on tearing things down for their own gain, after knowing what I stand for, has lost sight of what we are here to accomplish and who we are here to serve. To push forward a personal agenda that attempts to defame my office and the efforts of my team, only takes away from our work to help children.

I would say to my team, our supporters, and to all those out there on the frontlines in our communities every day—remember what we are all about and what we are trying to accomplish together. I would remind the media that they have the choice of focusing on our next generation. As a country, we cannot continue to get lost in the noise of negativity and encourage ambition by those who seek only to promote themselves.

Thank you to all who have given us support. Thank you for you tireless efforts and for your love of this country. I look forward to working with you closely over the next four years.

She did not mention Wolkoff by name but her meaning was clear. 

‘Information that could be helpful to children is lost in the noise made by self-serving adults,’ Melania wrote. ‘I have most recently found this to be the case as major news outlets eagerly covered salacious claims made by a former contractor who advised my office. A person who said she “made me” even though she hardly knew me, and someone who clung to me after my husband won the Presidency.’

‘This is a woman who secretly recorded our phone calls, releasing portions from me that were out of context, then wrote a book of idle gossip trying to distort my character. Her “memoir” included blaming me for her ailing health from an accident she had long ago, and for bad news coverage that she brought upon herself and others. Never once looking within at her own dishonest behavior and all in an attempt to be relevant. These kinds of people only care about their personal agenda- not about helping others,’ she added. 

‘To push forward a personal agenda that attempts to defame my office and the efforts of my team, only takes away from our work to help children,’ she concluded. 

Her push back comes as she prepares to resume her public life after a battle with COVID. 

The first lady has not been seen in public since the White House announced almost two weeks ago she and President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. 

While the president has returned to work and a heavy campaign schedule, the notoriously private first lady gave no indication of when she will resume her public life in the update she released Wednesday.  

‘I am happy to report that I have tested negative and hope to resume my duties as soon as I can,’ Melania wrote Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr’s Justice Department has sued Wolkoff, accusing her of breaking a nondisclosure agreement with her tell-all book about the first lady. 

DoJ lawyers asked the U.S. District Court in Washington to put the profits from ‘Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,’ which has been on the best-seller list, in a government trust.

The government lawyers argue Wolkoff failed to submit to the government a draft of her book for review. Wolkoff signed the agreement when she worked as an unpaid adviser in the East Wing during the early days of the Trump administration.

‘The United States seeks to hold Ms. Wolkoff to her contractual and fiduciary obligations and to ensure that she is not unjustly enriched by her breach of the duties she freely assumed when she served as an adviser to the first lady,’ the complaint said.

The NDA had ‘no termination date,’ the complaint states.

Wolkoff, in a statement to DailyMail.com, said she fulfilled the terms of her NDA and accused the Trumps of using the government in a ‘blatant abuse’ of power to ‘pursue their own personal interests.’

‘The president and first lady’s use of the US Department of Justice to silence me is a violation of my first amendment rights and a blatant abuse of the government to pursue their own personal interests and goals,’ she said.

‘I fulfilled all of the terms of the Gratuitous Service Agreement and the confidentiality provisions ended when the White House terminated the agreement,’ she said. 

Wolkoff said her book was her way of exercising ‘my right to free expression.’

‘I will not be deterred by these bullying tactics,’ she concluded. 

‘Melania & Me’ was published six weeks ago.

And the lawsuit is the latest move by the Trump administration to stop tell-alls from from former aides. The administration unsuccessfully tried to stop publication of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book and the Trump family sued Mary Trump to try and stop her book from being published.  

Pamela Gross Finkelstein, Judith Giuliani, Melania Knauss Trump and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff attend a lunch and charity fashion show in New York in May 2006

Pamela Gross Finkelstein, Judith Giuliani, Melania Knauss Trump and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff attend a lunch and charity fashion show in New York in May 2006

The complaint says Wolkoff and Trump in August 2017 signed a ‘Gratuitous Services Agreement’ related to ‘nonpublic, privileged and/or confidential information’ that she might obtain during her service under the agreement.

‘This was a contract with the United States and therefore enforceable by the United States,’ said Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec.

Wolkoff worked on the Trump inauguration and then signed on as an unpaid adviser in the East Wing in the early days of the administration. She admitted to signing an NDA but said she consulted an attorney before publishing her memoir to ensure she didn’t violate it. 

She left the Trump White House in February 2018.

Wolkoff’s book was published September 1 but details from it leaked as the first lady was preparing to address the Republican National Convention to make her case for her husband’s second term. 

Melania Trump lashed out at ‘delusional & malicious gossip’ after embarrassing bits of the book came out, including the revelation of the first lady’s bitter rivalry with Ivanka Trump and that Melania used a secret private email account. 

‘This afternoon I will be hosting a roundtable with some incredible citizens in recovery & the amazing organizations that support them. I encourage the media to focus & report on the nation’s drug crisis, not on delusional & malicious gossip,’ the first lady wrote on Twitter last month after the book was published. 

But garnering greater attention than the stories in the memoir were the conversations with the first lady that Wolkoff recorded during their friendship and then played during her book tour.

Melania Trump rarely speaks in public and, when she does, she usually uses prepared remarks and a teleprompter. The recordings let listeners hear the first lady unplugged, at times obviously upset about her life in the administration. 

In one, Melania called porn star Stormy Daniels a ‘porn hooker’ when she complained to Wolkoff about Daniels getting a Vogue photo shoot by acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz. 

Daniels claims she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006 – shortly after Melania had given birth to Barron – and was paid off during the 2016 campaign to stay silent about it. Trump has denied that. 

First lady Melania Trump

Stormy Daniels

First lady Melania Trump (left) can be heard calling Stormy Daniels a ‘porn hooker’ in a new audio recording released by her ex-best friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff 

‘If you Google, go Google and read it Annie Leibovitz shot the porn hooker, as she will be in one of the issues, September or October,’ Melania Trump can be heard saying in the tape. 

Wolkoff then asks the first lady, ‘What do you mean, she shot the “porn hooker?”‘  

‘Stormy,’ the first lady replies. 

Wolkoff, who was a senior adviser to the first lady in the early days of the Trump administration, can be heard replying, ‘Shut the f*** up.’ 

‘Oh you didn’t read it. It was yesterday it came out. For Vogue. She will be in Vogue. Annie Leibowitz shot her,’ the first lady says.  

Daniels and her then-lawyer Michael Avenatti were featured in Vogue in August 2018. 

In another recording that Wolkoff played, Melania is heard complaining ‘who gives a f*** about Christmas stuff’ while voicing her frustration over having to perform traditional first lady tasks.  

The tapes were released when Winston Wolkoff appeared on CNN on October 1, hours before it was announced Melania and Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19. 

The conversation appears to have taken place shortly after Melania visited a immigration detention center in McAllen, Texas back in June 2018. 

She huffed ‘give me a f***ing break’ while complaining about criticism she received for her husband’s policy of splitting up families who illegally crossed the border while at the same time having to decorate the White House for Christmas. 

‘They say I’m complicit. I’m the same like [President Trump], I support him, I don’t say enough. I don’t do enough,’ Melania says.  

‘Where I am. I put – I’m working like a – my a** off – at Christmas stuff that you know, who gives a f*** about Christmas stuff and decoration? But I need to do it, right?

‘Ok, and then I do it. And I say that I’m working on Christmas planning for the Christmas. And they said, “Oh, what about the children that they were separated?” 

‘Give me a f***ing break. Where they were saying anything when Obama did that?’ 

The comments came as part of recordings released by the First Lady's ex-best friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff on CNN with Anderson Cooper Thursday

The comments came as part of recordings released by the First Lady’s ex-best friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff on CNN with Anderson Cooper Thursday 

One of the modern duties of the first lady is to decorate the White House for Christmas.

Jackie Kennedy began the tradition of having a theme for the official White House Christmas tree, which is placed in the Blue Room, in 1961.

Melania’s first year decorating was in 2017 and she honored Jackie’s first theme of ‘The Nutcracker Suite’ by having ballerinas dance in the halls, as she unveiled the year’s decorations and theme of ‘Time-Honored Traditions’.

Each room paid homage to a tradition, including a Gold Star tree, a way to respect fallen troops,and a gallery of silhouettes of past presidents in the Green Room, acknowledging an early craft. 

However, she was quickly panned online for her choices, primarily for the East Colonnade, which was decorated on both sides with glistening white branches. 

During the same conversation with Wolkoff, Melania appeared to say she attempted to reunite a child held at an immigration detention center with their mother, saying: ‘I was trying to get the kid reunited with the mom. 

‘I didn’t have a chance. Needs to go through the process and through the law.’

It is not clear which mother and child Melania is talking about but she says ‘we put it out, they would not do the story,’ referring to the press.

‘They are not, they would not do the story because they, they, they are against us, because they’re liberal media,’ she said.

‘Yeah if I go to Fox, they will do the story. I don’t want to go to Fox.’  

During her conversation with Wolkoff, she appears to tell her former friend that she believed the children being held in detention camps were happy to be in US custody. 

The First Lady said: ‘All these kids that I met they were, they’re here in the shelters because they were brought by it through Coyotes, the people who were trafficking – that’s why they put them in jail,’ Melania is heard saying.

‘And the kids that they go in shelters. And the way they take care of them. It’s – you know, they even said, the kids, they said “Wow I had my own bed? I will sleep on the bed. I will have a cabinet for my clothes?”‘ 

‘It’s so sad to hear it. But they didn’t have that in their own countries. They’re sleeping on the floors. They are taken care [of] nicely [in the detention centers].’

In the audio, Melania acknowledges that it’s ‘sad’ the children are not with their parents, before later appearing to imply that some of those seeking asylum often fabricate stories that they’re fleeing gang violence to game the system.

‘A lot of moms and kids, they are teached [sic] how to do it. They go over and they say like, “Oh we will be killed by gang members … It’s so dangerous”. So they’re allowed to stay here.

‘They could easily stay in Mexico but they don’t want to stay in Mexico because Mexico doesn’t take care of them the same as America does,’ Melania asserts.  

It was on that trip Melania wore the infamous ‘I really don’t care, do u?’ jacket.

Wolkoff told CNN that Melania did so as a publicity stunt. 

‘It was a publicity stunt, and it was to garner the attention of the press, to make sure that everyone was aware that Melania was going to the border,’ Wolkoff said.   

During the broadcast, a clip of another conversation between Melania and Wolkoff about the jacket was aired. 

Wolkoff is heard asking Melania what spurred her to buy it in the first place, to which the First Lady responded: ‘I’m driving Liberals crazy for sure … And they deserve it.’ 

Wolkoff told CNN that Melania wore the infamous 'I really don't care, do you' jacket when she visited a migrant child detention center as a publicity stunt

Wolkoff told CNN that Melania wore the infamous ‘I really don’t care, do you’ jacket when she visited a migrant child detention center as a publicity stunt 

Melania Trump, in September, lashed out at 'delusional & malicious gossip' after her former best friend's book was published

Melania Trump, in September, lashed out at ‘delusional & malicious gossip’ after her former best friend’s book was published

Those were some of the numerous headlines that surrounded the first lady in the wake of publication of Wolkoff’s book, ‘Melania & Me.’  

In her tome, Wolkoff offered details on the tense relationship between Melania Trump and her stepdaughter Ivanka Trump.

She also revealed Melania uses a private email account, which President Trump criticized Hillary Clinton for doing during their bitter 2016 campaign.

Author Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, pictured, told The Washington Post: 'Melania and I both didn't use White House emails.'

Author Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, pictured, told The Washington Post: ‘Melania and I both didn’t use White House emails.’

Wolkoff told The Washington Post: ‘Melania and I both didn’t use White House emails.’ 

The first lady is said to have used a private Trump Organization email account and an email from a MelaniaTrump.com domain as well as iMessage. 

The messages were said to show her discussing government hires, state visits and schedules, the Easter egg roll and her Be Best initiative. 

The East Wing said Melania Trump has followed the requirements of the Presidential Records Act. 

‘In consultation with White House ethics officials, from the beginning of the Administration, the First Lady and her staff have taken steps to meet the standard of the Presidential Records Act, relating to the preservation of records that adequately document official activities,’ Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff to the first lady, said in a statement. 

In 2018 The Washington Post reported that Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails about government business from a personal email account to White House aides, Cabinet members and her assistant.

Ivanka dismissed any comparison to the use of private email by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which prompted an FBI investigation and inspired the ‘Lock Her Up’ chant at Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign rallies.

Use of personal emails is allowed but it is illegal to discuss anything classified. 

Wolkoff also admitted to recording her conversations with Melania, but defended doing so, saying she did it for protection.

She told The Post she started recording Melania in February 2018 until they stopped talking or texting on Jan. 1, 2019.

She said she decided to do so the day after the White House terminated her contract, out of fear of becoming a ‘fall guy’ amid scrutiny of inaugural spending intensified.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff's book 'Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady' was released on September 1

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff’s book ‘Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady’ was released on September 1

‘I didn’t record a friend. I would never record a friend,’ Winston Wolkoff told The Post. ‘But — this is very important — she was no longer my friend when I pressed record. 

Wolkoff left the East Wing in February 2018 after The New York Times, in February 2018, published an article revealing the inauguration cost $107 million – twice what Barack Obama’s first inauguration cost – and that Wolkoff’s firm received $26 million of that money.

Most of that money went to vendors Wolkoff’s firm hired to produce the events. 

Wolkoff argues the story was planted by her enemies in the White House and by those who didn’t want to answer to the where much of the inaugural money went.

‘That’s the question that everyone should be asking,’ she told ABC News last week of the $107 million raised. 

She said she received $480,000 for her three months of work on the inauguration – ‘a fee of less than one half of one-percent.’

The two women had a falling out in the wake of the article and resulting news coverage. 

Her memoir details her 15-year friendship with Melania, who she first met while she was working at Vogue magazine.

It’s the first book about Melania Trump to emerge from her inner circle and Wolkoff charts a disillusionment with the first lady, writing that she thought Melania was different but realized ‘A Trump is a Trump is a Trump. All along, I thought she was one of us. Bat at her core, she’s one of them.’

Melania Trump has been the subject of two biographies by journalists – CNN’s Kate Bennett’s ‘Free Melania’ and The Washington Post’s Mary Jordan’s ‘The Art of Her Deal’ – but Wolkoff was a longtime personal friend to the first lady. 

The first lady dismissed Wolkoff from the East Wing with an email. 

‘I am sorry that the professional part of our relationship has come to an end, but I am comforted in the fact that our [friendship] far outweigh[s] politics,’ the first lady wrote. ‘Thank you Again! Much love.’

There are several gossipy bits in the 339-page book, including the revelation Melania laughed during the 2016 campaign after the infamous ‘Access Hollywood’ tape came out and revealed Trump saying he liked to grab women ‘by the p****.’  

Wolkoff claims the first lady also scoffed at Michelle Obama’s time in office. She reportedly once said ‘Did Michelle Obama go to the border? She never did. Show me the pictures!’

The book also paints an unflattering portrait of Ivanka Trump, showing her as eager to run the show and claiming she was trying take over many of Melania’s first lady duties.

‘Ivanka was very focused on Ivanka,’ Wolkoff writes.   

The White House has disputed much that is in the book, arguing Wolkoff has some ‘imagined need for revenge.’   

In one gossipy bit, Wolkoff claims Melania Trump plotted to keep Ivanka Trump out of the photos of President Donald Trump taking the oath of office on Inauguration Day with her ‘Operation Block Ivanka.’

The first lady approved seating arrangements for the inauguration platform that would keep Ivanka Trump out of the camera shot during the moment her father was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. 

Wolkoff writes that: ‘Ivanka texted me a photo of Barack Obama’s swearing-in, his hand on the Bible, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha standing to his left. She wrote, ‘FYI regarding the swearing in. It is nice to have family with him for this special moment.”

But, instead, Wolkoff and the incoming first lady launched ‘Operation Block Ivanka’ to keep the first daughter out of the shot. 

The two women went to great lengths to thwart Ivanka.

They took advantage of Wolkoff’s position on the inauguration planning committee to gain advance information on how the day would play out in order to make their scheme work. 

Melania Trump plotted to block Ivanka Trump from being in photos of President Trump taking the oath of office on Inauguration Day, in what was dubbed 'Operation Block Ivanka'

Melania Trump plotted to block Ivanka Trump from being in photos of President Trump taking the oath of office on Inauguration Day, in what was dubbed ‘Operation Block Ivanka’

Wolkoff, a former Met Gala planner and personal friend of Melania’s, was tapped to help produce Inauguration Day and the events surrounding it. 

Using her position, she had an executive of her company, WIS Media Partners, take detailed notes on the inauguration platform at the U.S. Capitol building during one of the walk throughs that proceed such events. Walk throughs allow organizers and staff of the attendees to do a practice run of how the day will play out. It allows all the details of the day to be worked out: what time people arrive and in what order, where they will sit, and how the day will play out in precise order.

Using the detailed sketch her employee drew up of the platform on the East Front of the Capitol, where Trump was sworn in with his family and VIP guests behind him, Melania and Wolkoff were able to work out where the cameras would be located on and how the chairs for the family should be positioned to get the images they wanted.

‘Using his sketch, we were able to figure out whose face would be visible when Donald and Melania sat in their seats, and then when the family stood with Chief Justice John Roberts for Donald to take the oath of office,’ Wolkoff wrote. ‘If Ivanka was not on the aisle, her face would be hidden while she was seated. For the standing part, we put Barron between Donald and Melania.’

Melania and Wolkoff then arranged for Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, to be stand next to Melania instead of Ivanka, further keeping her out of the shot.

Wolkoff blames ‘exhaustion and stress’ for some of the drama but also acknowledges the pettiness of it.

‘Yes, Operation Block Ivanka was petty. Melania was in on this mission. But in our minds, Ivanka shouldn’t have made herself the center of attention in her father’s inauguration,’ she wrote.

David Wolkoff, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania Trump and Donald Trump pictured in 2008. The two women had a falling out over Wolkoff's work for the inauguration and reports on how much money she was paid for the gig.

David Wolkoff, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania Trump and Donald Trump pictured in 2008. The two women had a falling out over Wolkoff’s work for the inauguration and reports on how much money she was paid for the gig.

She notes their Operation Block Ivanka was a result of the first daughter trying to control the schedule for inauguration day and make sure her family – husband Jared Kushner and their three children – had prominent positions on the big day.

‘It was Donald’s inauguration, not Ivanka’s. But no one was brave enough to tell her that. Melania was not thrilled about Ivanka’s steering the schedule and would not allow it. Neither was she happy to hear that Ivanka insisted on walking in the Pennsylvania Avenue parade with her children,’ she noted. 

Wolkoff’s book gives legitimacy to years of talk of a rivalry between Melania and Ivanka that has accumulated in an intense, competitive relationship between the two women.

The two most prominent women in President Trump’s life – his 50-year-old wife and his 38-year-old eldest daughter – have little overlap in the White House complex: Ivanka Trump, who serves as an adviser to her father, has an office in the West Wing. Melania Trump works out of the East Wing on the opposite side of the building.

They have never hosted a joint initiative or event. And they are rarely seen together at events.

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