Republican National Convention where Trump will be formally nominated as candidate
Republican National Convention where Trump will be formally nominated as candidate

Melania ‘folded like a deck of cards’

The author behind a new tell-all book on US First Lady Melania Trump has confirmed she recorded her former friend and shed light on the real logic behind a controversial jacket she wore at the US-Mexico border

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff told US journalist Rachel Maddow she had recorded her former friend to gain material for the book, but only once it was clear that Melania was not going to come to her aid in an investigation.

"If she was my friend that would be horrible, but Melania and the White House had accused me of criminal activity, had publicly shamed and fired me, and made me their scapegoat," Ms Winston Wolkoff said.

"At that moment in time, that's when I pressed record. At that moment she was no longer my friend and she was willing to let them take me down and she told me herself this is the way it has to be.

"That's not how you treat a friend so I was going to do anything in my power to make sure that I was protected."

"She turned her back, she folded like a deck of cards and I was shocked when she did it."

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The comments come as a new book released this week, "Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship With the First Lady," dishes the dirt on the supposed icy relationship between Melania Trump and her stepdaughter Ivanka and explains some of the behind the scenes action involving the President's somewhat mysterious wife.

Author Stephanie Winston Wolkoff says she was once a friend of the president's third wife, also acting as an adviser until 2018 when she fell out of favour after reporting revealed colossal spending on Donald Trump's inauguration, which she played a key role in organising.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff.
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff.

One of the key segments describes Melania's reasoning for wearing a hugely controvsial jacket to the US border which said: "I really don't care, do you?"

It was interpreted by some to mean a heartless view of children under President Trump's border policies, while others thought it was a jab at the media.

A Vanity Fair article quoting the book says Melania shrugged of the firestorm saying "I'm driving liberals crazy."

"You know what? They deserve it." She added that people "connect stuff to my clothes" and that she wears what she wears "because I like it."

"They all went crazy about the zero-tolerance policy at the border. But they don't know what's going on. The kids I met were brought in by coyotes, the bad people who are trafficking, and that's why the kids were put in shelters. 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?' It's more than they have in their own country where they sleep on the floor. They are taking care nicely there."

The First Lady is also said to have added: "Did Michelle Obama go to the border? She never did. Show me the pictures!"

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The 351-page book is filled with anecdotes about the Slovenian model who some claim is trapped with the slogan #FreeMelania painting her as the victim of a difficult husband.

Winston Wolkoff, a former Vogue events organiser, describes a much more aggressive figure, notably detailing how she and Melania choreographed every minute detail of the inauguration - and prevented Ivanka from appearing in key photos of the ceremony.

The 50-year-old first lady allegedly nicknamed her 38-year-old daughter-in-law "princess," calling her and her husband Jared Kushner "snakes."

The book also leads readers to believe that Melania might influence certain White House decisions.

Speaking to CBS Monday, Winston Wolkoff criticised the first lady for not defending her against the accusations of overspending on the inauguration, adding she's working with federal investigators to scrutinise what happened.

The first lady's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham has dubbed the book "wildly self-aggrandising" revenge from a woman who joined the ranks of the president's enemies.

But as campaign season heats up, the book appears a likely hit. Its release comes days after Melania and Ivanka exchanged what appeared to be an icy stare at the Republican Convention where the president formally accepted the nomination to run for a second term.

It's one of many "tell-alls" about the Trump family: the president's niece recently held the spotlight after publishing a book lambasting her uncle's character.

On Tuesday "Melania and Me" was in fourth place in Amazon's top sellers, behind a new investigation by a New York Times journalist into members of the White House who resist Trump, and a book set for publication September 8 by Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer currently serving a prison term.

Americans "want to know about their First lady and, since Melania is someone who is really guarded, they want to hear more," said Katherine Jellison, a historian at Ohio University.

"A strained relationship between stepmother and stepdaughter is very much entrenched in the public's mind … it goes back all the way to Cinderella."

Originally published as Melania 'folded like a deck of cards'