Daily Mail

COLD WAR in the White House

In an ex­plo­sive new book, Me­la­nia Trump’s former aide lifts the lid on the First Lady’s true feel­ings — and re­veals the ‘Op­er­a­tion Block Ivanka’ that was a...

- from Tom Leonard U.S. News · Supermodels · Viral · US Politics · Feminism · Gossip · Celebrities · Politics · Social Movements · Society · White House · Donald Trump · Melania Trump · Manhattan · Oval Office · Washington · Trump family · Friendship · Missy Elliott · Stormy Daniels · United States of America · Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis · Executive Office of the President of the United States · Trump Tower · Marlene Dietrich · Michelle Obama · Barack Obama · South Korea · Tony Blair · Mark Burnett · Ivanka Trump · Leonardo DiCaprio · Jared Kushner · John F. Kennedy · Kennedy family · John F. Kennedy Jr · Stephanie Winston Wolkoff · First Family · Anna Wintour · Trump International Hotel and Tower · Barron Trump

WHEN a no­to­ri­ous record­ing of then pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump sur­faced in late 2016 — in which he boasted of chas­ing women and ‘grab­bing them by the p***y’, the first re­ac­tion was one of shock and dis­gust around the globe.

The se­cond was to won­der what his wife would say. now we know. Ac­cord­ing to a former con­fi­dante, the an­swer is not very much.

Stephanie Win­ston Wolkoff, one of new York’s top so­ci­ety party plan­ners and a former long­time friend of Me­la­nia Trump, says the fu­ture First Lady had al­ways re­as­sured her that ‘I know who I mar­ried’.

A few days af­ter the shock­ing rev­e­la­tions, the glam­orous pair lunched at the pierre Ho­tel in Man­hat­tan, says Wolkoff.

Mrs Trump was all smiles, but her friend had to ask: ‘Aren’t you an­gry?’

She shook her head, say­ing: ‘nope! He is who he is. I told him that if he ran for pres­i­dent, he had to be ready for ev­ery­thing to be opened up and ex­posed. His whole life.’

When her friend said that, if she be­came First

Lady, she would be quizzed on such be­hav­iour, Me­la­nia was dis­mis­sive: ‘Of course, I will [say noth­ing]! It’s my life. It’s no­body’s busi­ness.’

And — although a few days later she dis­missed her hus­band’s hor­ri­ble brag­ging to an in­ter­viewer as ‘kind of a boy talk’ — so it has proved. Amid all the chaos of the Trump pres­i­dency — not only in the Oval Of­fice but in the re­lent­less rev­e­la­tions about his per­sonal life, in­clud­ing al­leged af­fairs with porn stars and top­less mod­els — Mrs Trump has main­tained an al­most Sphinx-like si­lence.

The Slove­nian-born former model re­mains the great mys­tery of the pres­i­dency. We’ve been left to spec­u­late over what was go­ing on when she failed to join her hus­band in Wash­ing­ton in the first months of his pres­i­dency; when she was caught gri­mac­ing on cam­era at the in­au­gu­ra­tion or when she wore a jacket bought from High Street chain Zara bear­ing the mes­sage: ‘I re­ally don’t care, do u?’

now a bomb­shell new book — writ­ten by a wo­man who knew her for decades and was the First Lady’s spokesman and im­age ad­viser — claims to pro­vide the an­swers to what Me­la­nia Trump re­ally thinks and does.

Wolkoff claims that while she might choose to ig­nore her hus­band’s foibles, the First Lady has lit­tle time for other mem­bers of the Trump fam­ily — es­pe­cially her am­bi­tious step-daugh­ter, Ivanka, whom she dubbed ‘the princess’.

It was Ivanka, Wolkoff al­leges, who ‘wanted to be the only vis­i­ble fe­male Trump’ and was be­hind sto­ries in the me­dia de­scrib­ing the east Wing — the First Lady’s part of the White House — as a ne­glected, lonely place.

In Me­la­nia & Me: The rise And Fall Of My Friend­ship With The First Lady’, Wolkoff is set on telling her side of the story af­ter, she says, she was ‘thrown un­der the bus’ by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion fol­low­ing ac­cu­sa­tions — which she claims were in­ac­cu­rate — that her firm was paid $26 mil­lion for or­gan­is­ing Trump’s lav­ish in­au­gu­ra­tion cel­e­bra­tions.

Although she ded­i­cates her book to Mrs Trump, Wolkoff is hardly flat­ter­ing.

She says she re­alised the First Lady is ‘not a nor­mal wo­man’ af­ter porn star Stormy Daniels and a top­less model de­scribed their al­leged af­fairs with her hus­band. Mrs Trump said noth­ing pub­licly and only pri­vately con­fided that ‘it’s pol­i­tics!’.

And when the U.S. me­dia spec­u­lated that the Zara jacket trum­peted Mrs Trump’s sym­pa­thy for mi­grants and op­po­si­tion to her hus­band’s hard­line stance, she re­port­edly texted Wolkoff to say: ‘ Lib­er­als are get­ting crazy again!’

She writes of 50- year- old Mrs Trump: ‘The se­cret to her hap­pi­ness is to be au­then­ti­cally and un­apolo­get­i­cally skin-deep. She lives through her ex­ter­nal at­trac­tive­ness and how her ap­pear­ance is per­ceived.’

In­deed, ap­pear­ances mat­ter so much to Mrs Trump, says Wolkoff, that she re­fused to move into the White House un­til the Oba­mas’ bath­room suite had been re­placed.

Me­la­nia is, ap­par­ently, a ‘great ad­mirer of Jacque­line Kennedy’, and Wolkoff says she saw her try to mimic the former First Lady’s leg­endary style on oc­ca­sions.

The White House has dis­missed the book as try­ing to ‘profit off of lies and mis­char­ac­ter­i­sa­tions meant to harm the First Fam­ily’. It says it ‘be­longs in the fic­tion sec­tion’.

Wolkoff coun­ters this by claim­ing she has taped some of the con­ver­sa­tions she had with Mrs Trump and says the Trumps know she can back up ‘100 per cent’ ev­ery­thing she says in the book.

It was back in 2003 that Wolkoff says she be­came close to Me­la­nia Trump while she was work­ing for U.S. Vogue (its ed­i­tor-in-chief Anna Win­tour is cred­ited with trans­form­ing Don­ald’s third wife’s style).

While oth­ers see Me­la­nia as glacial and im­pen­e­tra­ble, Wolkoff saw her back then as warm and kind — a wo­man who loves us­ing heartshape­d emo­jis as much as her hus­band loves tweet­ing. She now ad­mits she was fooled. ‘A Trump is a Trump is a Trump,’ she says.

ME­LA­NIA TRUMP’S ca­reer ‘is to sup­port her hus­band’, and those in the U.S. me­dia who claim the First Lady has given sub­tle sig­nals of re­bel­lion need to un­der­stand that, says Wolkoff.

She re­jects claims that Mrs Trump never wanted to be First Lady, in­sist­ing her friend told her ‘many times’ she wanted Don­ald to win in 2016.

Me­la­nia, who was 28 when she met Trump, told Wolkoff that the rea­son their mar­riage had lasted so long was be­cause, un­like his pre­vi­ous wives, she didn’t pres­sure him emo­tion­ally or de­mand a role in his busi­ness em­pire.

‘Just let him do what he’s go­ing to do,’ she ad­vised Wolkoff when the party plan­ner com­plained about her own hus­band’s golf ob­ses­sion. ‘Why get in a fight about some­thing that won’t change?’

This ad­vice ‘came from her own life ex­pe­ri­ence and how she’d man­aged her own mar­riage’, claims Wolkoff.

Some­thing of a home­bird, Me­la­nia, says Wolkoff, was happy to re­main in the shad­ows in the cou­ple’s preWhite House days, sit­ting around in the Man­hat­tan pent­house in Trump Tower in her Trump-branded bathrobe or ‘ march­ing around with weights on her an­kles, pump­ing her pink dumb­bells’.

The wo­man who, in her mod­el­ling days, pre­ferred trips to the cin­ema alone rather than par­ties ‘ is like Mar­lene Di­et­rich. She “vonts to be alone”,’ writes Wolkoff.

Or at least alone with her son, 14year-old Bar­ron Trump.

EM­BAR­RASS­MENT does not seem to trou­ble her — whether giv­ing a speech that turned out to have been pla­gia­rised from one by Michelle Obama or by the re-pub­li­ca­tion of a naked shot from her mod­el­ling days, Mrs Trump sim­ply shrugs it off.

‘ She doesn’t do shame,’ says Wolkoff.

It was in the af­ter­math of the Trump shock elec­tion vic­tory in late 2016 that Wolkoff agreed to work gratis to help or­gan­ise the Trump in­au­gu­ra­tion cel­e­bra­tions. It proved to be ‘eight weeks of hell’, she says.

The most out­ra­geous idea came from Mr Trump him­self, she says.

‘I want tanks and chop­pers. Make it look like north Korea,’ he told Wolkoff of his vi­sion of the in­au­gu­ra­tion pa­rade along penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue.

Over­whelmed by the work­load, she re­cruited Jon rey­naga, an old Bri­tish friend who was a former se­nior Down­ing Street aide to Tony Blair. An­other Bri­tish re­cruit was former sol­dier turned re­al­ity TV guru Mark Bur­nett, who han­dled the en­ter­tain­ment side.

While Me­la­nia had never been close to ‘ Daddy’s girl’ Ivanka, the ‘ cold war’ be­tween the two women rapidly de­vel­oped af­ter Mr Trump was elected pres­i­dent, says Wolkoff.

As she and Wolkoff went through the in­au­gu­ra­tion sched­ule, Me­la­nia paused over plans for an ‘ Ivanka Trump/Leonardo DiCaprio en­vi­ron­men­tal Ball’ to be held in Wash­ing­ton’s na­tional por­trait Gallery, ac­cord­ing to Wolkoff.

‘ Give me a break!’ Me­la­nia re­port­edly scoffed. Ivanka’s ball never hap­pened.

Mrs Trump clashed with the ‘re­lent­less and driven’ Ivanka on ev­ery­thing, from which of them should over­see the re­dec­o­ra­tion of the Oval Of­fice — Trump nat­u­rally wanted a lot more gold — to where the First Daugh­ter should sit at her father’s swear­ing-in cer­e­mony.

‘Ivanka was very fo­cused on Ivanka,’ says Wolkoff. ‘ Seat­ing po­si­tion and photo ops were of para­mount im­por­tance . . . If she could have swapped spots with Me­la­nia, you bet she would have!’

Ivanka sent Wolkoff pho­tos of Barack Obama’s swear­ing- in, sur­rounded by his fam­ily, to sup­port

her case that she should be in­cluded in her father’s cer­e­mony.

In re­sponse, Me­la­nia and Wolkoff launched ‘Op­er­a­tion Block Ivanka’ to ‘keep her face out of that iconic “spe­cial mo­ment” ’, with Wolkoff and her team even study­ing cam­era an­gles to make sure Ivanka’s face would be hid­den in pic­tures.

‘Yes, Op­er­a­tion Block Ivanka was petty,’ Wolkoff ad­mits now.

‘Me­la­nia was in on this mis­sion. But in our minds, Ivanka shouldn’t have made her­self the cen­tre of at­ten­tion at her father’s in­au­gu­ra­tion.’

At the cer­e­mony, cam­eras filmed Mr Trump turn­ing to smile at his wife. She re­turned it, but as soon as he turned back, she scowled.

The me­dia made much of it, but Wolkoff says the real ex­pla­na­tion was that Bar­ron, who was then only ten years old, had ac­ci­den­tally kicked his mother’s an­kle.

When Wolkoff sug­gested that Mrs Trump ex­plain pub­licly what had hap­pened, she re­torted: ‘Who cares what they think?’

Fa­mously, Jacque­line Kennedy didn’t care what oth­ers thought of her either, and was also re­garded as some­thing of an enigma. In­deed, Me­la­nia’s in­ter­est in the most al­lur­ing of First Ladies is one of the few things she shares with Ivanka and her hus­band Jared Kush­ner. The cou­ple are ob­sessed with ape­ing the Kennedys, says Wolkoff.

‘ Ivanka and Jared are big

Camelot [the name given to the Kennedy ad­min­is­tra­tion] fans, too. It’s no co­in­ci­dence that all three of their chil­dren—Ara­bella, Joseph and Theodore — share names with Kennedy fam­ily mem­bers,’ she writes.

Mrs Trump ap­par­ently shares Mrs Kennedy’s ad­dic­tion to the finer things in life, too. At the start of the pres­i­dency, she told Wolkoff: ‘I’m not mov­ing to DC un­til the Res­i­dence has been ren­o­vated and re­dec­o­rated, start­ing with a new shower and toi­let.’

Wolkoff says Me­la­nia ‘did not go so far as to say that she would not sit on the same throne as Michelle Obama’, but it was clear that she did not want to ‘con­duct her most per­sonal busi­ness on a pre­vi­ously used john’.

It is, how­ever, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Don­ald and Me­la­nia that fas­ci­nates most. When Wolkoff pushed Me­la­nia to ar­range a Valen­tine’s Day date with her hus­band, she found the idea ‘hys­ter­i­cal’.

Nei­ther of them are ‘sen­ti­men­tal types’, says Wolkoff, adding: ‘I can’t re­call her ever telling me about Don­ald send­ing her flow­ers or her girl­ishly plan­ning a spe­cial sur­prise or treat for him.’

In fact, on that par­tic­u­lar Valen­tine’s Day, Trump in­stead re­port­edly had din­ner with me­dia mag­nate Ru­pert Mur­doch.

In Fe­bru­ary 2018, Wolkoff was sacked af­ter her firm was ac­cused in the me­dia of hav­ing been paid $26 mil­lion by the Trump In­au­gu­ral Com­mit­tee.

She says much of the money went to other peo­ple, and blames White House of­fi­cials as well as Ivanka Trump for un­fairly pin­ning the blame on her for the strato­spheric costs. Me­la­nia Trump knew the truth but didn’t de­fend her, adds Wolkoff.

She now says she wishes she had never met the First Lady, let alone worked for her — some­thing that she rue­fully ac­knowl­edged her friends had been telling her right from the start.

 ??  ?? Frosty re­la­tions? Me­la­nia (far right) and Ivanka are bit­ter ri­vals, says Stephanie Win­ston Wolkoff (above)
Frosty re­la­tions? Me­la­nia (far right) and Ivanka are bit­ter ri­vals, says Stephanie Win­ston Wolkoff (above)
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