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Tell-All Reveals First Lady's 'Operation Block Ivanka'

Book says first lady tried to keep first daughter out of swearing-in photos
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2020 3:57 PM CDT

(Newser) – Another White House tell-all is out, but this time first lady Melania Trump is the subject. The book is by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former associate of Melania's until a falling out two years ago. Wolkoff, who says the two were friends for 15 years, helped coordinate President Trump's inauguration, and is now cooperating with authorities who are investigating spending related to the event. Some of the items getting attention in Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady:

  • Ivanka: A big theme is the "reportedly icy relationship" between Melania and Ivanka Trump, reports Politico. One example: The first lady went out of her way to try to block the face of Ivanka from showing up in the president's swearing-in photos. They called it Operation Block Ivanka, and it was "mostly successful," per Politico. Melania refers to Ivanka as the "princess," according to the book.

  • Bathrooms: Wolkoff writes that Melania refused to move into the White House for months until the shower and toilet used by Michelle Obama were replaced, reports the BBC.
  • Unfazed: The first lady is utterly unconcerned by public criticism, writes Wolkoff. "It's my life, it's nobody's business," she would say in her "impenetrable, unflappable, inexplicably calm" way, per USA Today. "The secret to her happiness is to be authentically and unapologetically skin-deep," Wolkoff writes. "Her behavior hasn't changed from her pre-first lady days; she's just more visible now."
  • Marriage: Pragmatism appears to be key, per Vogue. "Melania told me the secret of her long marriage to him is that she is completely different than his other wives,” Wolkoff writes. “Unlike Marla Maples, Melania didn't pressure him emotionally. Unlike Ivana, his first wife, who ran one of his Atlantic City casinos … Melania didn't pressure him for things to do."
  • Response: “This book is not only wildly self-aggrandizing, it’s just not truthful,” says Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's chief of staff. "It is an exercise in bizarre twisting of the truth and misguided blame for the sake of self-pity. It’s unfortunate and concerning that she’s overstated their friendship and her very brief role in the White House to this degree.”
(Read more Melania Trump stories.)

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