Melania Trump thinks her stepdaughter Ivanka Trump will do ‘what it takes to get what she wants,’ including undermine the first lady by ‘poaching’ staff members and making her ‘irrelevant’, a former associate of the president’s wife claims.
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff was an unpaid, informal adviser to the first lady in the East Wing of the White House until February 2018, when she left the position after she was blamed by the Trumps for alleged financial improprieties by the president’s inaugural committee.
In September, she released a new book, Melania & Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady, in which she first claimed that there was bad blood between the two women closest to President Donald Trump.
In an interview with The New Abnormal podcast hosted by Rick Wilson and Molly Jong-Fast of The Daily Beast, Wolkoff describes the 39-year-old Ivanka as ‘Donald in a suit.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to the White House for comment.
Melania Trump thinks her stepdaughter Ivanka Trump ‘impinged’ on the first lady’s duties by ‘overstepping her rank and boundaries,’ a former associate of the president’s wife claims. Melania is seen right next to Ivanka at President Trump’s inauguration in January 2017
The claims were made by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff (left), who was an unpaid, informal adviser to the first lady in the East Wing of the White House until February 2018, when she left the position amid controversy
Wolkoff recently published a new book about the time she spent advising First Lady Melania Trump (seen right next to her husband, President Donald Trump, in Valdosta, Georgia, on December 5)
She recalls an incident that took place in late January 2017, just days after Trump was sworn into office.
One of his first major acts was to issue an executive order banning entry to foreigners from seven Muslim-majority countries.
When the ban went into effect, a large number of green card holders and those with visas were also detained at airports, sparking massive protests.
As the protests raged, Ivanka Trump decided to host a White House screening of the movie Finding Dory on January 29.
The Disney Pixar film tells the story of a blue tang fish with short-term memory loss who travels from the Great Barrier Reef to a marine life institute in California to reunite with her long-lost parents.
Wolkoff said that episode was a result of Ivanka’s ‘tone deafness.’
‘Melania didn’t come to DC that week, but Ivanka stayed and Donald stayed there [at the White House],’ according to Wolkoff.
According to Wolkoff, Melania was furious at Ivanka for hosting a White House screening of the animated film Finding Dory while protests were raging in response to Trump’s travel ban in January 2017. The above image shows a protest in Lower Manhattan on January 29, 2017
‘And all of a sudden, that’s the weekend, Donald signs the immigration, what was it called? The ban. Yes.
‘Ivanka shows Finding Dory. Now, if you couldn’t be more tone-deaf.
‘Children were being separated from their parents. And here you’re screening a film where again, this trout fish is being separated from its mother.’
When asked if Ivanka was ‘dumb’ or ‘evil,’ Wolkoff replied: ‘I think it’s a mixture.’
‘I think that Ivanka is Donald in a suit, right? All of the Trumps are taught to be Trumps,’ Wolkoff said.
‘They don’t show emotion.’
She added: ‘A Trump is a Trump because they are authentically and unapologetically skin deep, and also self-serving.
‘And their attitudes and disrespect for each other is, again, you have to get inside to see it.’
In the interview, Wolkoff described how Ivanka would interfere with Melania’s affairs by hiring staff picks that were being vetted for the East Wing and instead luring them away to the West Wing.
It angered Melania to the point where she referred to Ivanka and her allies as ‘snakes,’ according to Wolkoff.
‘So [Ivanka] impinged on Melania’s duties while overstepping her rank and boundaries,’ Wolkoff said.
‘And I mean that in a sense like she poached individuals that were for the East Wing, that we were vetting to have – Kayleigh McEnany, Mercedes Schlapp.
‘I mean, these were people Melania was looking to bring in.
‘We called [Ivanka] the serial poacher. It was deceptive.
‘But you don’t go and hire people that the First Lady’s looking to bring in.’
Schlapp served as Whtie House communications director from 2017 until 2019. McEnany has been White House press secretary since April of this year.
Sources with knowledge of the situation disputed Wolkoff’s statements. McEnany was not hired in the East Wing because she had already accepted an offer with the RNC when approached about an opportunity with the First Lady’s office, according to those in the know.
A source close to Ivanka told DailyMail.com that Schlapp never interviewed with the president’s daughter and that Wolkoff’s claims that she was ‘poached’ are inaccurate.
‘These lies have been disputed over and over,’ a source close to Ivanka told DailyMail.com when asked about Wolkoff’s claims.
‘This continues to be a sad attempt at relevance and a way to profit off of this family whenever the occasion arises.’
Wolkoff also claims that Ivanka was a ‘serial poacher’ who hired staffers like former White House communications director Mercedes Schlapp (left) and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany (right) – even though they were being vetted for jobs in the East Wing
Wolkoff added: ‘The princess wanted to render Melania irrelevant.
‘And you know, Melania refers to them as “snakes”, Jared and Ivanka, and they’ll do anything to get what they want.
‘And they do.’
Wolkoff said that Melania found it ‘galling’ that Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, were put in senior positions of authority despite being ‘no more qualified to be engaged in any governing of the country than she was.’
‘So to hear Ivanka put her name in the same sentence, as working with [former White House Chief of Staff] General [John] Kelly, it’s like, “Oh my God, how could you even?”
‘Who would do that? Who would just be so disrespectful to say something like that?
‘And I think she genuinely thinks it and believes it.’
Reports said Wolkoff was ousted because Trump and Melania were angry over the spending for the January 2017 inauguration celebration but Wolkoff has long insisted that she wasn’t fired, yet simply ‘thrown under the bus’.
Wolkoff initially claimed there was bad blood between Ivanka and Melania in her book Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady
In January, Trump’s inaugural committee was sued by Washington, DC, over allegations it had spent more than $1 million to book a ballroom at the Trump International Hotel for his inauguration celebration as part of a scheme to ‘grossly overpay’ for party space and enrich the president’s own family in the process.
In apparent vindication for Wolkoff, the lawsuit states she had raised concerns about the costs with Trump, Ivanka and Rick Gates, a top campaign official at the time.
Wolkoff, a former events planner for Vogue, was deposed earlier this month with DC Attorney General Karl Racine describing her testimony as ‘truthful, honest and fulsome’ and said it ‘strengthens’ the city’s case.
An insider told DailyMail.com: ‘They all thought, Melania included, that Stephanie would just quietly go away, but quite the opposite, she’s now one of the key witnesses in the lawsuit against the committee, the Trump Organization and the Trump International Hotel for their misuse of non-profit funds.’
The source also revealed Wolkoff has ‘millions’ of documents that show Melania was involved in the decision making and planning of the events, and accused Ivanka of creating the false narrative that Wolkoff ran off with millions of dollars.
Racine told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week: ‘Ms. Winston Wolkoff has been fully cooperative since day one of meeting her. In her deposition today, I think it was truthful, honest and fulsome.
‘Though I can’t talk about the details of the deposition, I can tell you it strengthens our case and our case is a just case because it demonstrates that the Trumps took advantage of the presidential inaugural committee and funneled money, a $1 million essentially, to their own pockets and purses through the Trump hotel.’
As part of the suit, the attorneys have subpoenaed records from Ivanka Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Thomas Barrack Jr., a close friend of the president who chaired the inaugural committee, and others.
Barrack was deposed last month.
The insider told DailyMail.com: ‘Now that Melania has been subpoenaed for the investigation, she can no longer deny her knowledge or involvement in matters related to the committee, nor the fact that Stephanie was there on her behalf.
‘Contrary to the claims made by Melania and the White House that neither she, nor Ivanka, or the President knew anything about the inaugural finances, is just a joke.
‘Stephanie has proof, in fact the Attorney General of DC Karl Racine came out and said Stephanie has been a fully cooperating witness and has already supplied close to 20,000 documents.
‘Stephanie has more like a few million documents. Melania should have just backed up her friend.
According to Wolkoff, Melania refers to Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner (pictured), as ‘snakes’ because ‘they’ll do anything to get what they want’
‘Melania was very much involved in the decision making and planning of the dinners and events for the inauguration and knew a lot of the drama that was going on. Stephanie and Melania worked together from the transition, through the inauguration and into the east wing of the White House.’
Ivanka was grilled for five hours earlier this month, leading the first daughter to lash out at Racine and published an email she claims exonerates her.
‘This ‘inquiry’ is another politically motivated demonstration of vindictiveness & waste of taxpayer dollars,’ she wrote and attached a December 2016 email in which she wrote: ‘Just seeing this. Why don’t you call and negotiate. It should be a fair market rate.’
In addition to her New York Times bestselling book, Wolkoff also released bombshell audio tapes of intimate conversations with Melania, sparking a media storm when the 50-year-old First Lady quipped ‘give me a f***ing break’ about separating migrant children from their mothers at the border.
Melania fired back, saying it was a ‘book of idle gossip trying to distort my character’ and claimed the former Vogue staffer ‘hardly knew’ her and ‘clung’ to her after Donald Trump won the presidency.
But the insider laughed at the first lady’s attempt to distance herself from her former best friend, telling DailyMail.com: ‘Stephanie was the only person who cared about Melania and the role of the future first lady. If Stephanie wasn’t there, Melania wouldn’t have been a priority or kept in the loop.
‘With Ivanka’s close relationship to Tom Barrack and Deputy Chairman Rick Gates, it easily could have been Ivanka walking down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial arm-in-arm with her dad, and not Melania.’
‘When Stephanie was Melania’s top advisor, she tried to support and protect her especially from Ivanka and her ongoing attempts to undermine the First Lady. Those first months in the White House were exactly as Stephanie described in her book, just miserable.’
The insider added: ‘Stephanie didn’t write her book to get back at Melania with idle gossip.
‘Quite the opposite, she wrote the memoir to share her experience, and if you’ve read Melania and Me, you’ll see the breadcrumbs all over the pages pointing to the bigger picture of the utter chaos and corruption that she witnessed first-hand during the planning of the presidential inauguration and inside the White House.’
Earlier this month, Ivanka (pictured on Monday in Virginia) gave a five-hour deposition as part of a civil lawsuit brought by the city of Washington, DC, against the Trump inauguratl committee
Ivanka lashed out at the DC attorney general and released excerpts of an email she says exonerates her. The committee allegedly spent more than $1 million to book a ballroom at the Trump International Hotel for his inauguration celebration as part of a scheme to ‘grossly overpay’ for party space and enrich the president’s own family in the process
‘It was Stephanie who helped Melania with everything! Who do you think asked Ralph Lauren to custom make her swearing-in outfit?
‘You think WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) just miraculously had the exclusives on Melania’s wardrobe? Stephanie went into this role with the right intention. She wanted to help Melania build out a game changing initiative, it’s just who she is, and for Melania to claim otherwise, is just horrible.
‘Ivanka had all the relationships with the top-tier administration officials and used every single one of them to advance her agenda.
‘Ivanka succeeded in making sure Stephanie was put front and center of the inaugural’s financial scandal creating a false narrative that she ran off with millions of dollars.
Wolkoff has ‘millions’ of documents that show Melania was involved in the decision making and planning of the events, and accused Ivanka of creating the false narrative that Wolkoff ran off with millions of dollars
‘By doing this, Stephanie would no longer be able to support Melania in moving forward with initiatives that would have solidified her impact as First Lady on the country.’
‘Whether she wants to admit it or not, Melania could have done the right thing and saved her friend and herself a lot of headache had she just backed Stephanie when she had the chance.
‘She’s been dragged into the US Attorney General Karl Racine’s lawsuit which could have been avoided had she told the truth and not allowed the New York Times to discredit Stephanie and make it appear as if she received $26 million dollars or was fired – neither which are true.’
‘Stephanie had her back. In fact, she’s the only one who had Melania’s back, and the only one who was thrown under the bus for something she didn’t do. Well, three years later it’s all come full circle, and now Stephanie is the one with the last laugh and the last word.’