Just hours before the world learned Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus, former friend and adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff was on CNN making Melania-related headlines of a different kind. Wolkoff, who recently released the book Melania and Me, played secretly taped conversations she had with the first lady in July 2018 in which Melania Trump bemoaned criticism she was getting over migrant children detained at the border while also having to think about the White House Christmas. As CNN reports, the tapes played on Anderson Cooper 360 captured Trump saying this:
- ."I'm working ... my a-- off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a f--- about the Christmas stuff and decorations? But I need to do it, right?"
- "OK, and then I do it and I say that I'm working on Christmas and planning for the Christmas and they said, 'Oh, what about the children that they were separated?' Give me a f------ break. Where they were saying anything when Obama did that? I cannot go, I was trying get the kid reunited with the mom. I didn't have a chance -- needs to go through the process and through the law."
- "The kids, they say, 'Wow I will have my own bed? I will sleep on the bed? I will have a cabinet for my clothes?' It's so sad to hear it but they didn't have that in their own countries, they sleep on the floor. They are taken care of nicely there."
- "A lot of like moms and kids they are teached how to do it. They go over and they say like, 'Oh, we will be killed by a gang member, we will be, you know, it's so dangerous.' So they are allowed to stay here. ... They're not professional but they are teached by other people what to say to come over and to you know let them go to stay here."
- The response, via chief of staff Stephanie Grisham, per the New York Times: "Her only intent was to secretly tape the first lady in order to peddle herself and her salacious book. There is no way to know if these recordings have been edited, and it’s clear the clips were handpicked and presented with no context. The first lady remains focused on her family and serving our country."
- The Times read on the tapes' context: "The recordings appear to present Mrs. Trump as irritated that she does not receive the positive news coverage that she believes she deserves, in part because people say she is not speaking out enough about her husband’s actions as president."
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