Melania Trump decries ‘delusional and malicious gossip’
Melania Trump lashed out at the media Thursday for reporting on her alleged use of a private email account and on an estranged friend’s book, which has portrayed her as insensitive to immigrant children, engaged in a bitter rivalry with her stepdaughter, Ivanka Trump, and strangely indifferent to her husband’s alleged infidelities with porn star Stormy Daniels and other women.
In a tweet, the first lady said the media should stop focusing on the “delusional and malicious gossip” about her. She appeared eager to change the media’s conversation about her by announcing that she was hosting a round table Thursday about “the nation’s drug crisis” with people in recovery. Abuse of opioids and other substances is one of the pillars of her Best Best campaign.
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.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 3, 2020
Melania Trump increased her national profile in the past week as President Trump enters the final 60 days of a campaign to win a second term in the White House. Melania Trump spoke last week at the Republican National Convention, trying to sell Americans — particularly the crucial voting block of suburban women — on the idea that her husband is an authentic, caring and uncompromising leader who deserves to be re-elected.
Her speech has been overshadowed by revelations in a book published Tuesday, “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,” by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff.
Melania Trump and Winston Wolkoff, a former event planner at Vogue magazine, became close friends in the early 2000s when the first lady was still known as Donald Trump’s Slovenian-born model girlfriend. Melania Trump asked Winston Wolkoff to play a major role in planning Trump’s 2017 presidential inauguration and to work for her as an unpaid White House adviser.
But the friendship fell apart because, Winston Wolkoff said, Melania Trump went along with a Trump family effort to make her the scapegoat in the growing scandal involving possible financial crimes connected to fundraising and spending for the inauguration. Winston Wolkoff also said she came to realize that Melania Trump is a deeply “selfish” person.
“The force of Melania’s personality blinded me to the truth about her, and Donald’s, lack of character,” Winston Wolkoff wrote. “But I wasn’t the only one. They have pulled the same trick on (about) half the country. I didn’t see it from the inside out, but once I was on the outside looking in, it became glaringly obvious. Now I can’t believe how blind I was to the depth of their deception and lack of common decency.”
In interviews, Winston Wolkoff said she can back up her book’s detailed accounts of the inauguration planning and of Melania Trump’s private statements and behavior. Winston Wolkoff acknowledged to the Washington Post and to Rachel Maddow that she began recording her conversations with Melania Trump to protect herself legally, starting in early 2018. Several local and federal investigations are underway into the inauguration, and Winston Wolkoff said she is cooperating.
In her book, Winston Wolkoff shared quotes from Melania Trump talking about how young immigrant children separated from their parents at the U.S. border were excited about their accommodations in federal detention.
“They’re not with their parents, and it’s sad. But the patrols told me the kids say, ‘Wow, I get a bed? I will have a cabinet for my clothes?’” Melania Trump said, according to Winston Wolkoff’s book. “It’s more than they have in their own country where they sleep on the floor. They are taking care nicely there.”
Melania Trump also was quoted dropping f-bombs in her complaints about decorating the White House at Christmas and how she didn’t care about ever being on the cover of Vogue.
Winston Wolkoff moreover shared a text message from Melania Trump in which the first lady described the president’s senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, and her allies in the White House as “snakes.” “Princess” Ivanka Trump, according to Winston Wolkoff’s book, was “relentless and driven” in her efforts to have a starring role at her father’s inauguration and in his White House, often if it meant muscling in on Melania Trump’s first lady duties.
In a Washington Post report published Tuesday, Winston Wolkoff said that Melania Trump used a private Trump Organization email account while conducting government business in the White House. The use of personal email accounts was at the heart of Trump’s most vicious attacks on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.
As first lady, Melania Trump is not a government employee and is not automatically covered by the same laws that would govern communications by other administration officials, the New York Times reported, but any discussion of government business could be covered by certain laws, including the Presidential Records Act, which require that communications be preserved and archived.
Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, tweeted Wednesday that the first lady and her office had taken steps to make sure that preservation of her records are in compliance with Presidential Records Act.
— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) September 3, 2020