Melania Trump’s closet aide said she’s never heard the first lady make any disparaging remarks about President Donald Trump or the first family after a report that there are tapes of Melania Trump doing just that.
‘No. I’ve never heard Mrs. Trump say anything disparaging about the family,’ Stephanie Grisham, who serves as the first lady’s chief of staff, told MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson on Tuesday.
‘They’re a close-knit family. She’s talked about them many times publicly,’ she added.
The first lady’s former friend and staffer Stephanie Winston Wolkoff will claim in her forthcoming book that she had tapes of Melania Trump making disparaging remarks about President Trump and, particularly, her step daughter Ivanka Trump, according to media reporter Yashar Ali.
He did not have details of the statements Melania Trump allegedly made but noted they will be in Wolkoff’s book ‘Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,’ which will be released on September 1.
Grisham was dismissive of the speculation that the first lady trash talked the family.
‘I’ve heard a little bit about this book. I don’t know much about it. It sounds like it’s just another one of those books that unfortunately people are writing,’ she said.
Grisham also noted if the first lady was recorded without her knowledge it was ‘unfortunate’ that she would be taken advantage of by a friend.
‘If there were any recordings taken it’s really unfortunate to take advantage of somebody’s trust like that while being a friend, but I don’t know much about the book. We’re focused on the work we’re doing,’ she said.
Ali reported Wolkoff taped the first lady without her knowledge. The claim closely parallels tapes published Saturday of Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, calling the president a liar and saying: ‘Holy s***!’
Ali tweeted: ‘In her book, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff quotes the First Lady making disparaging remarks about Ivanka Trump and some of the president’s other adult children. She even makes some negative remarks about her husband, President Trump.’
The book will address some of the most controversial and infamous moments involving Melania Trump, including Stormy Daniels claim she had an affair with Trump, which he has denied, and that infamous jacket she wore: ‘I really don’t care, do u?’
The pre-order blurb for the book hints at a string of revelations.
‘How did Melania react to the Access Hollywood tape and her husband’s affair with Stormy Daniels? Does she get along well with Ivanka? Why did she wear that jacket with “I really don’t care, do u?” printed on the back? Is Melania happy being First Lady? And what really happened with the inauguration’s funding of $107 million? Wolkoff has some ideas,’ the description says.
‘What Melania wants, Melania gets’ – reads the tag line in the book’s description on Amazon.com.
Wolkoff, the former director of special events at Vogue who headed nine Met galas, met Melania Knauss in 2003 and ‘had a front row seat to the transformation of Donald Trump’s then girlfriend from a rough-cut gem to a precious diamond,’ the book’s description reads.
The report of the existence of tapes from the first lady comes on the first day of the Republican National Convention, where President Trump will be formally nominated for his second term. Melania Trump speaks Tuesday evening from the Rose Garden at the White House.
Wolkoff’s book is the latest in a spate of books about President Donald Trump, the first lady and the administration, following a tell-all by Mary Trump, the president’s niece, and from former National Security Adviser John Bolton.
It’s also the second book about the notoriously private first lady to come out this fall. Mary Jordan’s ‘The Art of Her Deal’ provided an in-depth biography of Melania and included details about how she renegotiated her prenup after Donald Trump won the 2016 election, addressed the plastic surgery rumors, and detailed Melania’s relationship with Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s eldest daughter.
Wolkoff served as an informal, unpaid adviser to Melania Trump in the East Wing of the White House until February 2018 when she left the position amid controversy.
She was in the news at the time after reports showed that her firm, WIS Media Partners, received a $26 million payment for its work on the inaugural.
The firm in turn spent $24 million on subcontractors, a person familiar with the inaugural planning told DailyMail.com at the time. The source said Wolkoff provided ‘the whole look and feel – the creative vision’ for 18 or 20 inaugural events.
Her personal take from Trump’s inaugural committee was reported to be $1.62 million although later reports showed she received about $500,000 personally while the rest went to other producers working on the event.
According to the committee’s tax filings, Wolkoff’s WIS Media Partners was formed 45 days before the inauguration and got paid the most of any vendor for its work.
Melania Trump dismissed her from the East Wing with an email.
‘I am sorry that the professional part of our relationship has come to an end, but I am comforted in the fact that our [friendship] far outweigh[s] politics,’ the first lady wrote. ‘Thank you Again! Much love.’
Wolkoff told the New York Times last year she wasn’t fired – but she was thrown under the bus.
‘Was I fired? No,’ Wolkoff said in a statement to The Times. ‘Did I personally receive $26 million or $1.6 million? No. Was I thrown under the bus? Yes.’
The Southern District of Manhattan is investigating the inaugural committee’s spending and fundraising. Wolkoff was reported to be working with prosecutors.
Wolkoff was Melania Trump’s first hire for the East Wing.
Before she took over her inaugural event planning role, she worked as a special events planner for Vogue, helped stage the Met Gala, and was a fashion director for Lincoln Center. She is a longtime friend of Melania’s.
In December, it was revealed federal prosecutors in New York were investigating whether President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the $107 million it raised.
The investigation came partly out of materials seized in the federal probe of Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen’s business dealings.
In April raids of Cohen’s home, office and hotel room, federal agents obtained a recorded conversation between Cohen and Wolkoff.
Wolkoff, in their conversation, expressed concern about how the inaugural committee was spending its money.
It’s unknown when the conversation between Wolkoff and Cohen took place or why it was recorded.
Trump’s inaugural committee raised more than double what former President Barack Obama’s first inaugural committee did.
Supporters said the event was so costly because no one expected him to win so all the planning was done at the last minute.
But investigators are looking into whether some of the top donors to Trump’s crowning event gave money in exchange for access to his administration, policy concessions or to influence the administration.
Money in exchange for political favors could violate federal corruption laws. There could also be a violation of federal law if funds were diverted from the inaugural committee, which was registered as a nonprofit.
The revelation about Melania tapes also comes after The Washington Post revealed tapes of Maryanne Trump Barry, the president’s sister, speaking harshly about him.
The tapes serve as confirmation of claims made by Mary Trump in her memoir ‘Too Much and Never Enough’ where she claims the president paid someone to take his SATs.
In the shock recording, Maryanne says she did his homework for him and ‘drove him around New York City to try to get him into college’ before she named Joe Shapiro as the man who took his exams.
Trump hit back after the recordings surfaced Saturday night saying ‘who cares’, that he misses his brother Robert who he held a funeral service for yesterday and insisting the ‘country will soon be stronger than ever before.’
Maryanne made the shocking comments in phone calls back in 2018 and 2019 with estranged niece Mary, who secretly recorded the conversations and has since parted ways with the Trump clan following the release of her spill-all book.
The release of the scathing audio from one of Trump’s nearest and dearest comes at a critical time for the president in the run-up to the November election, when his response to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing civil rights movement have pushed many voters to question his competence.
It casts alarming doubts of his own family’s confidence in his capabilities as leader of the United States, particularly given that Maryanne – and none of the rest of the Trump siblings – has never publicly criticized her younger brother or any of his White House policies before now.
Their release also comes one day after Trump held a funeral service at the White House for his and Maryanne’s brother Robert who died last week aged 71 – a service Maryanne was absent from.
Mary Trump released the never before seen and heard transcripts and audio excerpts to the Post, revealing they came from 15 hours of secretly recorded conversations with her aunt back in 2018 and 2019.
In one of the audio clips, Maryanne accuses her brother of having ‘no principles’ and simply making political moves to ‘appeal to his base’.
Maryanne brands him ‘cruel’ and phony: ‘It’s the phoniness of it all. It’s the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel.’