Inside Melania Trump’s Drastic Steps to Distance Herself From 'Snake' Ivanka

Hilary Weaver
·6 mins read
Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla - Getty Images

From ELLE

Update, 9/1, 10 A.M.: Melania Trump's chief of staff Stephanie Grisham recently responded to reports about Stephanie Winston Wolkoff's new book, all about her former friendship with the first lady. In a statement to PEOPLE, Grisham said, "Anybody who secretly tapes their self-described best friend is by definition, dishonest," referring to reports that Wolkoff recorded conversations with Trump and is planning to publish the comments.

Grisham continued, "The book is not only full of mistruths and paranoia, it it is based on some imagined need for revenge. Wolkoff builds herself up while belittling and blaming everyone she worked with, yet she still managed to be the victim. Sadly, this is a deeply insecure woman whose need to be relevant defies logic."

Original post, 8/30, 4 P.M.: Melania Trump's former friend and senior advisor, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, has written a book called Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship With the First Lady, in which she reportedly goes into detail about the first lady's tense relationship with her stepdaughter Ivanka.

Apparently, Melania did her best to distance herself from the older of Donald Trump's two daughters. Wolkoff writes that she and Melania took part in "Operation Block Ivanka," which was their plan to keep Ivanka out of frame during Donald Trump's inauguration.

Vanity Fair's Emily Jane Fox pointed out last week that the tension between Melania and Ivanka hasn't seemed to dissipate. This video of Ivanka at the 2020 Republican National Convention moving swiftly passed her stepmother, whose quickly fading smile made it into meme territory. Fox reports that Wolkoff writes about a particular text Melania once sent her, in apparent reference to Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner: "You know how they are snakes."

Wolkoff's book provides context to another clip from Melania's time as the first lady, the inauguration snippet that inspired "#FreeMelania." Apparently, "Melania suddenly frowned and looked down and to her right because Barron had kicked her in the ankle by accident," not because she was displeased with her husband. Apparently, though, Melania said," I don't owe them an explanation" when Wolkoff suggested they correct the record and calm the rumors about the first couple's unhappy relationship.

In her book, though, Wolkoff writes that things are definitely icy between the first lady and Ivanka. Here are all the instances she records (that we know about so far). Her book is out Tuesday.

Melania has a nickname for Ivanka

Wolkoff writes that Melania calls Ivanka "Princess." In an excerpt published in New York magazine last Wednesday, Wolkoff said that her ex-friend referred to "Princess" in their exchanges. Here is part of that excerpt:

"It seemed like just yesterday Melania had told me that Barron had worn a suit and tie to school. He was dressing 'just like his dad.' The other kids laughed at him. Melania had told him, 'Don't listen to any of them. Be strong.'

She said Barron was fine. 'I just have so much to do,' she said. 'Big move!'

'Think of all of the amazing things you'll be able to do,' I said.

'So busy,' she said.

'Who's helping you?' I asked.

'It’s being arranged,' she explained. 'I'll have someone.'

'You'll only have one person?' I asked. 'How many does Ivanka have?'

'Who?' Melania said. 'You mean Princess?!' We both bellied over with laughter.

She reportedly did not want Ivanka to get the spotlight at the inauguration

Wolkoff said that she and Trump had a plan called "Operation Block Ivanka." She said she and Melania "launched the plan to keep Ivanka out of that iconic 'special moment,'" aka President Trump's swearing in. Wolkoff writes that Ivanka sent her a text with a photo of Sasha and Malia Obama joining their father and mother for Barack Obama's swearing in. "FYI regarding the swearing in. It is nice to have family with him for this special moment," Ivanka reportedly wrote in a text.

Wolkoff said she got sketches after the inauguration walk-through that helped her determine exactly who would be in the camera frame at the swearing in. Wolkoff writes:

"We were able to figure out whose face would be visible when Donald and Melania sat in their seats, and then when the family stood with Chief Justice John Roberts for Donald to take the oath of office. If Ivanka was not on the aisle, her face would be hidden while she was seated. For the standing part, we put Barron between Donald and Melania and made sure that Don Jr. stood next to Melania, not Ivanka....Yes, Operation Block Ivanka was petty. Melania was in on this mission. But in our minds, Ivanka shouldn't have made herself the center of attention in her father's inauguration."

She detailed a post-inauguration group text among her, Melania, and their friend Rachel Roy: "Rachel Roy was watching on TV from her hotel room in Washington. She texted a photo she'd taken of the screen showing Melania's head completely blocking Ivanka's. 'Happy MT blocked IT! 😂😂😂.'"

Melania did not want to co-host events with Ivanka

Wolkoff also adds that once the Trumps were in the White House Ivanka wanted to get in on events that are traditionally hosted by the first lady. In her account of the book, Vanity Fair's Fox includes Wolkoff's report that official White House events were a particular sore spot for the two women. When Ivanka expressed specific interest in taking part in an International Women's Day event, Wolkoff says, Melania was not pleased.

"Are you kidding me?," Wolkoff said she responded. "Seriously? I’m not co-hosting." The same thing apparently happened for an annual luncheon held for the governors' wives every year, Melania reportedly told Wolkoff, "We need to let her know that I know this is a First Lady event done every year…OMG. [Ivanka and Jared Kushner] just want to take credit for it."

Wolkoff says Melania will not wear a designer Ivanka has worn

In this same excerpt provided by Vanity Fair, Wolkoff writes that if Melania saw Ivanka wearing a particular dress, she would cross that designer's name off of potential designers she would wear.

After Ivanka wore a KaufmanFranco dress for an event, that designer was apparently no longer on Melania's list for consideration.

This post will continue to be updated.

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