Another tell-all book is providing an inside view into life at the White House during President Donald Trump's administration, this time from the perspective of Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of First Lady Melania Trump. Winson Wolkoff was close friends with the first lady and helped organize the president's inauguration in January 2017. They are no longer friends, and her new book Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady include plenty of shocking revelations about Melania.
Winston Wolkoff is a former Vogue staffer and a society party planner who became close to Melania in the early 2000s. Their relationship came to an abrupt end in February 2018 following reports in the New York Times about how she profited from President Trump's inauguration. The White House said she was fired, but in May 2019, Winston Wolkoff told the Times she was "thrown under the bus." Before that, though, she was loyal to Melania. In the book, she wrote that she "witnessed the transformation of Melania from gold plate to 24-karat gold" and "believed she had the heart to match, that she was genuinely caring and loving and worth all of our attention."
Details from the book, which comes out on Tuesday, have already been leaked. Melania's chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, has already slammed the book. "This book is not only wildly self-aggrandizing; it's just not truthful. It is an exercise in bizarre twisting of the truth and misguided blame for the sake of self-pity," Grisham told Politico. "It's unfortunate, and concerning that she's overstated their friendship and her very brief role in the White House to this degree." Here's a look at just eight of the biggest reveals from the book.
Melania wanted toilets and showers used by the Obamas replaced
After Trump was inaugurated, Melania waited five months before moving to the White House so son Barron Trump could finish his school year in New York. However, Winston Wolkoff claims there was another reason, writing that Melania wanted to wait until renovations were complete at the White House. She allegedly did not want to use the same toilets and showers used by First Lady Michelle Obama during President Barack Obama's administration.prevnext
Operation Block Ivanka was an attempt to keep Ivanka out of the spotlight at the inauguration
One running theme throughout the book is Melania's cold relationship with Trump's eldest daughter and White House senior advisor, Ivanka Trump. According to Winston Wolkoff, Melania actually worked on "Operation Block Ivanka," which was an attempt to keep Ivanka from taking the spotlight at the 2017 inauguration. Melania did not even want Ivanka to appear in the portrait of the new first family. There was an effort to keep Ivanka out of photos of Trump as he took the oath of office. Winston Wolkoff also claims Melania calls Ivanka "Princess."prevnext
President Trump wanted a North Korea-style inauguration
During talks about the inauguration, then-President-elect Trump said he wanted the inauguration to look like a North Korean military parade. "I want tanks and choppers. Make it look like North Korea," Trump allegedly told Winston Wolkoff and Ivanka in a meeting. "He really wanted goose-stepping troops and armored tanks? That would break tradition and terrify half the country," Winston Wolkoff wrote. "The President loves our military, but this is absolutely not true," White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere told Politico.prevnext
A 'Sea to Shining Sea' trip across the country was considered
Former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates and other inauguration officials touted the idea of a cross-country "Sea to Shining Sea" trip, in which the Trump team would drive through the country over two to three days before the inauguration. "Donald couldn’t walk down Fifth Avenue and the PIC [Presidential Inaugural Committee] was proposing to have him travel three thousand miles on unsecured routes in three days? Was this a joke?" Winston Wolkoff wrote.
Gates confirmed this story, in part. He told Politico he thought it was a "fantastic idea" because they wanted to make it "the people's inauguration." According to Gates, they wanted to make a "flying tour," where Trump would visit three to four cities, but this did not happen. Gates has his own book, Wicked Game, coming out later this fall.prevnext
Kayleigh McEnany wanted to become Melania's chief of staff
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was allegedly interested in working for Melania as her chief of staff. Melania "really liked" McEnany and was impressed with McEnany's Harvard Law degree, Winson Wolkoff claims. However, McEnany instead took a job as the Republican National Committee spokesperson before she eventually joined the White House. "Kayleigh would have been incredibly honored to work for the First Lady but had already accepted an opportunity with the RNC," White House spokesperson Sarah Matthews told Politico.prevnext
The #FreeMelania expression has a backstory
In the past three-plus years, Melania's expressions have been the source of plenty of speculation about her relationship with President Trump. During the inauguration, she grimaced, sparking #FreeMelania to trend. According to Winston Wolkoff, Melania told her Barron accidentally kicked her in the ankle, which is why she looked uncomfortable. Winston Wolkoff told Melania she should tell the public that to stop rumors. "I don't owe them an explanation," Melania allegedly told her.prevnext
Melania disagreed with Trump on at least two issues, according to Winston Wolkoff
Winston Wolkoff pointed to two instances when Melania and President Trump's views diverged. She claims Melania asked Trump why he needed to get involved in the issue of bathrooms for transgender people. “I didn’t need to get involved. I could have let the Supreme Court deal with it. But it was very important to Mike," Trump told Melania, referring to Vice President Mike Pence. In the second case, Melania told Trump she did not agree with his decision to lift a ban on importing big-game trophies from Africa under pressure from his eldest sons. When Trump tweeted he put that decision "on hold," it came the day after he spoke about it with Melania, according to Winston Wolkoff. However, in March 2018, Trump lifted a ban on importing elephant trophies.prevnext
Michael Cohen helped get Barron into a top Manhattan private school
Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer, also plays a role in Winston Wolkoff's book. She claims he helped get Barron into the Manhattan private school Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, where Winston Wolkoff's children also went. Melania "enlisted" Cohen to get Barron a spot at the school. Winston Wolkoff also claims Cohen went to her apartment and taped their conversations to "make a memo to exonerate you and clear your name." The tape wound up in the hands of federal prosecutors when Cohen's office was raided.prev