Cards on table time.
I am absolutely not a fan of Melania Trump, with her permanent scowl and penchant for issuing the very occasional terse and trite comment, but since I am not an American, so not tax-funding her lifestyle, I can’t really complain.
About her apparent lack of purpose.
About her apparently not really doing very much at all, other than scowl at the cameras.
But whenever her husband is being even more Trump-y than usual, or looking a little more perma-tanned than usual, I have had the occasional fleeting moment of sympathy for her. I mean who wouldn’t scowl under her circumstances?
And then I read this deliciously insider exposé of the court of Melania Trump and any remaining vestige of sympathy disappeared in a flash.
Melania Trump, if her now-ex-best-friend is to be believed, is as self-obsessed as her husband.
As arrogant and self-serving as her husband, and as disloyal a friend as her husband, not hesitating to distance herself from people who have helped her, and now need her help in return.
Ms Wolfoff was a close personal friend of Mrs. Trump before her husband becomes president. They were ladies who lunched, ladies who texted each other, and (certainly as far as Mrs Trump is concerned) also emoji-ed each other a lot.
When Mr. Trump became President, Stephanie Wolkoff, who had a high powered career in PR and event management, was taken on by Melania to help her, to ease her transition to First Lady, and to help coordinate the inaugural functions.
Ms Wolkoff wrote speeches for Mrs. Trump, advised her what to wear and what to say, as she steered this apparently wooden but glamorous mannequin into the public eye.
This is a tale of a 15 year old friendship unravelling, as well as a peek into the utter chaos that reigned in the Trump White House in those early years – maybe it is still chaotic, but Ms Wolkoff is now an outsider, ousted, no longer spending the night at the White House and enjoying family suppers with them, but rather charged with syphoning off money from the inaugural functions and shunned by her former friend.
I enjoyed reading this book, especially as the American elections are looming, but it is a sad, almost tawdry, exposé of people for whom one already had very little time.
This book reveals the depths of pettiness and self-interest and selfishness of the Trump family.
Ivanka, the deliciously-monikered First Daughter is a case study in crassness.
The book is worth reading just for the Ivanka awfulness alone.
Good on Ms Wolkoff for recording conversations, once she realised that she was being sacrificed at the altar of the Trump’s narcissistic self-interest.
Good for Ms Wolkoff for keeping all the inane, selfish texts from Mrs. Trump.
I just wonder why she even bothered to stick around with Mrs Trump for so long?
I know nothing about Ms Wolkoff other than what I have read in the press, especially in the wake of the publication of this book in early September, but I have decided to believe her version of events. I mean, why would a woman who is now up to her neck in legal problems, courtesy of the Trumps, not tell the truth?
Sadly, I doubt this book will change the course of politics – the scowling Mrs. Trump is, I imagine, just not important enough, nor eloquent enough, to influence anyone’s opinion.
But is is, nevertheless, a weirdly compelling read.
You keep wondering just how low the Trumps will go. Just how crass can they be. How inarticulate. You wonder just how many emojis and insincere texts can one woman send to a friend who is in deep trouble.
And guess what? The Trumps never disappoint.
I’ll give you a couple of teasers, shall I?
“Ivanka was very focused on Ivanka. Seating positions and photo ops were of paramount importance, especially during the swearing-in ceremony, “the most iconic moment of the inauguration” she told me. If she could have swapped spots with Melania, you bet she would have!”
Ivanka’s obsession with where she will be seated in the inaugural events leads to one of the only truly light-hearted episodes in the book – Operation Block Ivanka.
The Trumps are also tight-fisted.
“There’s an imperiousness, grandeur, about the Trumps that makes one scared to mention something as trifling as fair compensation…The Trumps treat people as if being in their orbit is its own reward.”
Remember when Mrs. Trump didn’t move to Washington for nearly half a year, opting to stay in New York, claiming she didn’t want to interrupt her son’s schooling?
“I couldn’t comprehend how she thought it was okay to stay in New York just because she wanted to. I said, “You’re going to have to move here as soon as possible. This isn’t about you anymore. It’s about our country.”
She looked at me and said, “I get it.”
The reality was, she understood just fine, but, as she explained to me, “I don’t care what people think. I will do what is right for me and Barron.”