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It’s clear that first lady Melania Trump will not be off-limits in election-year mudslinging. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, former aide to the first lady, has a book to sell and, like all grifters who attached themselves to the Trump administration, she’s “telling all” about her grudge against the Trumps. This same tactic has been used over and over again—see Omarosa Manigault, Stormy Daniels, and Michael Cohen.
Wolkoff had been a personal friend of the first lady since 2003. She claims that after working in the White House and planning events and coordinating staff for Mrs. Trump, she was fired and made a “scapegoat” for an investigation into financial irregularities in campaign funds.
The self-described former friend of Mrs. Trump forwarded campaign emails to D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, according to NBC.
Emails from Winston Wolkoff and deputy Trump campaign chair Rick Gates warned the inaugural committee that it was being overcharged by the Trumps’ D.C. hotel, according to the book.
The meticulous records that Winston Wolkoff kept would later prove helpful to Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine.
She provided tens of thousands of electronic documents to Racine, who used them to file suit against the inaugural committee, Trump Hotels and the Trump Organization, alleging misuse of non-profit funds to enrich the president’s family business.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee and the Trump properties deny her allegations.
A spokesperson for Trump Hotels said in a statement in January that “the AG’s claims are false, intentionally misleading and riddled with inaccuracies.”
A spokesman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee said in a statement in response to this story that the PIC “disagrees with Stephanie’s characterizations of this historic event but given that it was only active for a few months, and ceased regular operations more than two years ago, it will decline to engage in her effort to sell books.”
Cable news is breathless over these new allegations, as usual, and are chomping at the bit to get ahold of recorded conversations between the two that Wolkoff claims to have. Washington, D.C., is a one-party consent district, which means it is not against the law to record a private conversation without the other party’s knowledge. But it sure is treacherous. Here she is on Rachel Maddow getting her fifteen minutes of fame.
I predict that, like every other tell-all book on the Trumps, this one will be a tempest in a teapot. The takeaway I get from it is how awful it must be for the first lady to not even be able to trust a “friend” she’s had for over a decade. Accusations Wolkoff levies at the first lady include claims that she said disparaging things about her husband and Ivanka. I don’t think there’s a married woman alive who has never complained about her husband or family to a girlfriend, but very few of them have to endure public betrayal and a book being written about it.
#MelaniaTapes and #LockHerUp are trending on Twitter in response to the political hit job. Wolkoff also claims that the first lady uses a private email account to do the business of her office. But comparing the business of the first lady—planning dinners and parties and scheduling appearances—is a far cry from classified, sensitive information going between the secretary of state and others in the government through a private server. Comparing this “scandal” to the Hillary Clinton email scandal is simply absurd. What emails could FLOTUS be sending that would put American interests in jeopardy, exactly? Reading hour at the local elementary school?
This won’t stick and Wolkoff will join the growing list of has-beens, whose names we don’t remember, who turned on Trump. But it does serve to illustrate how lonely it is at the top.