Stephanie Winston Wolkoff knew Melania Trump for greater than 15 years however as an aide to the primary woman she lasted lower than 14 months. Like different scarred veterans of the Trump administration, she now airs her grievances on paper.
But for all of the hype round Wolkoff having secretly taped Melania, her e book is sedate, not tempestuous. It informs, but it surely lacks the bombshell revelations that may make this style compelling or darkly entertaining. Melania & Me shouldn’t be confused with Too Much and Never Enough, by Mary Trump, or Unhinged, by Omarosa.
Subtitled The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Woman, Wolkoff’s story is one in every of friendship misplaced, versus wholesale dysfunction or searing intra-familial enmity. When controversy swirled across the funds of the Trump inauguration, Wolkoff was banished from the dominion. However she wound up again together with her personal loving household, a cheerful ending of kinds.
She didn’t seem to have engaged in any illegality. In opposition to this backdrop, her anger is comprehensible. Neither hero nor rogue, she is a seasoned occasion planner.
Wolkoff produced the Met Gala, was trend director for Style Week, and labored for Anna Wintour at Vogue. She is accustomed to heavy lifting, frenetic tempo and other people with very deep pockets. Her husband, David Wolkoff, comes from an actual property household.
When she went to work within the White Home in 2017, he refused to reveal their private funds. Wolkoff explains that stance by pointing to Donald Trump’s well-known recalcitrance on the exact same matter. Going again to 2015, the couple was sued by their son’s tutor for allegedly stiffing her almost $33,000. They apparently settled months later.
Rising up, Wolkoff was not cosseted. She grew up in upstate New York and, at 6ft 1in, performed Division I faculty basketball. However till 2016, she writes, she had by no means voted in a presidential election.
She provides this clarification for such political passivity: “I knew nothing about coverage. For those who requested me the distinction between Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s stances on immigration or to elucidate their financial plans, I might not know the place to start.”
Apparently, glamour was an finish in and of itself. Wolkoff and DC weren’t meant for one another.
Melania & Me amply conveys the strain between Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter together with his first spouse, and Melania, his third spouse. It additionally supplies a glimpse of Melania’s world within the aftermath of the discharge of the notorious Entry Hollywood tape, through which Donald Trump boasted of grabbing ladies “by the pussy”.
Between Melania and Ivanka, there is no love lost. Certainly, Wolkoff intimates that Ivanka helped sabotage Melania’s 2016 Republican conference speech, elements of which had been lifted from Michelle Obama.
In Wolkoff’s telling, Rick Gates, a marketing campaign deputy and deputy inaugural director, was behind the scandal, as Ivanka’s plant: “If Ivanka managed Rick, and Rick had allegedly written Melania’s conference speech, did that imply Ivanka was behind that main fake pas/sabotage?”
In February 2018, a federal judge sentenced Gates to 45 days in jail and 36 months of probation, after he pleaded responsible to mendacity to the FBI in connection and fascinating in a conspiracy.
Wolkoff describes Ivanka as “relentless” in her efforts to “usurp” workplace house from Melania, and in poaching potential workers. She quotes the primary woman referring to the president’s daughter and her minions as “snakes”, and attracts a parallel between Ivanka and Hillary Clinton, particularly that Ivanka additionally used a non-public e mail handle for official enterprise, besides she was not vilified for doing so.
In Wolkoff’s personal phrases, “Are you able to say non-public server?” She recollects the mantra of “lock her up” at Trump’s rallies and the conference, and the way it was by no means meant for Ivanka. The Trumps are totally different from the remainder of us.
Wolkoff is gone however doesn’t wish to be forgotten. Who does?
As soon as, she was nearer. On 11 October 2016, 4 days after the Entry Hollywood tape dropped, Melania and Wolkoff grabbed lunch in Manhattan. Melania denied being indignant, stated Donald “is who he’s”, and recalled telling him that if he ran for president, “he needed to be prepared for all the things to be opened up and uncovered”.
When it got here to Barron, Melania’s son, nonetheless, the long run first woman grew tense and protecting, advising Wolkoff the boy was robust and can be high quality.
Wolkoff takes a dimmer view of the opposite Trump boys and their penchant for large sport searching. She claims Melania interceded with the president to delay implementation of a proposal to raise a ban on importing elephant trophies from Africa. The transfer had been urged by Don Jr and Eric. Melania sprang into motion, Wolkoff writes, after being proven a New York Put up headline that trumpeted the shift.
On the finish of her e book, Wolkoff regrets pondering Melania was totally different from her husband and sorrowfully concludes she just isn’t. The creator recollects watching the 2020 State of the Union, and seeing Rush Limbaugh sitting within the first woman’s field. She is disgusted.
Lastly exterior Melania’s orbit, Wolkoff conveys a way of non-public liberation and passes ethical judgment. Is it too little too late, or a case of bitter grapes? Wolkoff laments that the girl she “as soon as thought of” her “shut pal” is “gone”. Virtually talking, it would merely be time to maneuver on.