Melania Trump fires back at former aide who released tell-all book and secret recordings, saying the move was 'an attempt to be relevant'

Sophia Ankel
·10 min read
melania trump
First Lady Melania Trump attends an event to mark National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in the East Room of the White House on September 3, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • First Lady Melania Trump spoke out against her former aide and ex-friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who wrote a tell-all book about their relationship, saying the move was "an attempt to be relevant."

  • The first lady described Wolkoff as being "someone who clung to me after my husband won the presidency" in a letter-style post published on the official White House website on Friday.

  • She also railed against the media's coverage of the book, claiming news outlets "chose to focus their coverage on pettiness over my positive work."

  • Melania Trump also said that the audiotapes, which were published by CNN and recorded her complaining about her duties as the first lady, had been taken "out of context."

  • Her statement comes just a few days after the Justice Department announced that it would file a lawsuit against Wolkoff over her memoir, claiming she violated a nondisclosure agreement.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

First Lady Melania Trump has publicly spoke out for the first time since former aide and ex-friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff wrote a tell-all book about their relationship, saying the move was "an attempt to be relevant."

In a letter-style post published on the official White House website on Friday, the first lady described Wolkoff as being "a person who said she 'made me' even though she hardly knew me" and "someone who clung to me after my husband won the presidency."

Wolkoff, who was friends with Melania Trump for ten years, acted as an unpaid adviser to her in the first year of the Trump administration and also oversaw the planning for President Trump's 2017 inauguration. She later resigned amid controversy over the inauguration's finances.

In August, the ex-friend published a damning book about the first lady, titled "Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with The First Lady."

"Her 'memoir' included blaming me for her ailing health from an accident she had long ago, and for bad news coverage that she brought upon herself and others. Never once looking within at her own dishonest behavior and all in an attempt to be relevant," the first lady wrote in the statement. "These kinds of people only care about their personal agenda — not about helping others."

melania trump
First Lady Melania Trump attends an event to mark National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in the East Room of the White House on September 3, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

First Lady Melania Trump has publicly spoke out for the first time since former aide and ex-friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff wrote a tell-all book about their relationship, saying the move was "an attempt to be relevant."

In a letter-style post published on the official White House website on Friday, the first lady described Wolkoff as being "a person who said she 'made me' even though she hardly knew me" and "someone who clung to me after my husband won the presidency."

Wolkoff, who was friends with Melania Trump for ten years, acted as an unpaid adviser to her in the first year of the Trump administration and also oversaw the planning for President Trump's 2017 inauguration. She later resigned amid controversy over the inauguration's finances.

In August, the ex-friend published a damning book about the first lady, titled "Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with The First Lady."

"Her 'memoir' included blaming me for her ailing health from an accident she had long ago, and for bad news coverage that she brought upon herself and others. Never once looking within at her own dishonest behavior and all in an attempt to be relevant," the first lady wrote in the statement. "These kinds of people only care about their personal agenda — not about helping others."

Although Wolkoff is not named in the post, the first lady's refers to a "former contactor who advised my office."

Melania Trump also railed against the media's coverage of the book, claiming news outlets "chose to focus their coverage on pettiness over my positive work," referring to her BE BEST campaign against cyberbullying.

"There are plenty of opportunists out there who only care about themselves, and unfortunately seek to self-aggrandize by knowingly taking advantage of my goodwill," she added.

melania and me
The book "Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady" by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff is viewed on display at a Barnes & Noble bookstore on 5th Avenue in New York City on September 1, 2020. Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

The post comes just days after the Justice Department announced that it would file a lawsuit against Wolkoff over her memoir, claiming she violated a nondisclosure agreement.

In the book, which quickly became a New York Times bestseller, Wolkoff makes multiple claims about the first lady, including that she has an icy relationship with the president's oldest daughter, Ivanka, whom she allegedly calls  "princess."

Wolkoff also claims the first lady tried to come up with a plot to block out Ivanka Trump from appearing in any pictures of her father's swearing-in ceremony.

The memoir also claims that Melania Trump wore the controversial 'I really don't care, do u?' jacket to the US border only to get media attention.

Meanwhile, her move to the White House was delayed because she didn't want to use the same shower and toilet as former first lady Michelle Obama and was waiting for the bathroom to be renovated, according to Politico.

Several weeks after the publication of her book, Wolkoff also shared audio recordings with CNN. The first lady can be heard complaining about some of her duties and railing against critics of her visit to the US-Mexico border.

"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---ing break," the first lady said, according to the audio released by Wolkoff.

In her letter on Friday, the first lady said that the recordings had been taken "out of context."

"This is a woman who secretly recorded our phone calls, releasing portions from me that were out of context, then wrote a book of idle gossip trying to distort my character," she wrote, according to the letter.

"Anyone who is focused on tearing things down for their own gain, after knowing what I stand for, has lost sight of what we are here to accomplish and who we are here to serve," she added.

Speaking to  MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last month, Wolkoff defended the release of the audio recordings, saying: "Melania and the White House had accused me of criminal activity, and publicly shamed and fired me and made me their scapegoat. At that moment of time, that's when I pressed record. She was no longer my friend."

Following the news of the lawsuit on Tuesday, the first lady's former friend has said it is a violation of her First Amendment rights.

Wolkoff told NBC earlier this week: "I am defending myself against the defamatory falsehoods according to my constitutional rights to defend my reputation and set the record straight." 

Trump recently recovered from COVID-19, saying she chose to go down a "more natural route" to treat her mild symptoms, relying mainly on "vitamins and healthy food." 

She also revealed on Wednesday that the first couple's son, 14-year-old Barron Trump, had also be diagnosed with the coronavirus earlier this month but has recovered.

Melania Trump also railed against the media's coverage of the book, claiming news outlets "chose to focus their coverage on pettiness over my positive work," in reference to her BE BEST campaign against cyberbullying.

"There are plenty of opportunists out there who only care about themselves, and unfortunately seek to self-aggrandize by knowingly taking advantage of my goodwill," she added.

melania and me
The book "Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady" by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff is viewed on display at a Barnes & Noble bookstore on 5th Avenue in New York City on September 1, 2020. Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

The post comes just days after the Justice Department announced that it would file a lawsuit against Wolkoff over her memoir, claiming she violated a nondisclosure agreement.

In the book, which quickly became a New York Times bestseller, Wolkoff makes multiple claims about the first lady, including that she has an icy relationship with the president's oldest daughter, Ivanka, whom she allegedly calls  "princess."

Wolkoff also claims the first lady tried to come up with a plot to block out Ivanka Trump from appearing in any pictures of her father's swearing-in ceremony.

The memoir also claims that Melania Trump wore the controversial 'I really don't care, do u?' jacket to the US border only to get media attention and that she didn't move into the White House right away because she didn't want to use the same shower and toilet as former first lady Michelle Obama and was waiting for the bathroom to be renovated, according to Politico.

Several weeks after the publication of her book, Wolkoff also went on to share audio recordings with CNN, in which the first lady can be heard complaining about some of her duties and railing against critics of her visit to the US-Mexico border.

"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---ing break," the first lady said, according to the audio released by Wolkoff.

In her letter on Friday, the first lady said that the recordings had been taken "out of context."

"This is a woman who secretly recorded our phone calls, releasing portions from me that were out of context, then wrote a book of idle gossip trying to distort my character," she wrote, according to the letter.

"Anyone who is focused on tearing things down for their own gain, after knowing what I stand for, has lost sight of what we are here to accomplish and who we are here to serve," she added.

Speaking to  MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last month, Wolkoff defended the release of the audio recordings, saying: "Melania and the White House had accused me of criminal activity, and publicly shamed and fired me and made me their scapegoat. At that moment of time, that's when I pressed record. She was no longer my friend."

Following the news of the lawsuit on Tuesday, the first lady's former friend has said it is a violation of her First Amendment rights.

Wolkoff told NBC earlier this week: "I am defending myself against the defamatory falsehoods according to my constitutional rights to defend my reputation and set the record straight." 

Trump just recently recovered from COVID-19, saying she chose to go down a "more natural route" to treat her mild symptoms, relying mainly on "vitamins and healthy food." 

She also revealed on Wednesday that the first couple's son, 14-year-old Barron Trump, had also been diagnosed with the coronavirus earlier this month but has since recovered.

Read the original article on Business Insider