In a newly released recording, First Lady Melania Trump can be heard in conversation with then-confidante Stephanie Winston Wolkoff talking about everything from hating Christmas decorations to the family separation crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Not only does Melania suggest that migrant children detained at the border are being treated well, and that migrant families fabricate the truth in order to get asylum, but she also complained about unfair treatment from the press on the topic, and mocked the public’s reaction to that infamous “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” jacket she wore after visiting detention camps.
The tapes were reportedly recorded by Winston Wolkoff in summer of 2018, a week after Melania’s trip to visit a detention facility in McAllen, TX. A former close friend of Melania’s, Winston Wolkoff had also previously worked as an unpaid East Wing advisor, but had been asked to step away from that role after it was revealed that her company received $26 million from the presidential inaugural committee. Over the summer, Winston Wolkoff released a tell-all book, Melania and Me, about her relationship with the First Lady, in which she described this conversation, but it wasn’t until Thursday that she publicly aired a part of her recordings on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.
Here’s all of the Melania Trump audio played on @andersoncooper tonight. The audio was taped by her former friend and advisor @SWWCreative.
In the tapes, Mrs. Trump talks about:
– Family separations
– “Liberal media”
– The “I really don’t care” jacket pic.twitter.com/N2Y8QtqD8n
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 2, 2020
In the tapes, Melania makes a series of callous comments about the border crisis, including suggesting that migrant children have it better in U.S. detention than they do in their home countries.
“The kids, they say, ‘Wow, I will have my own bed? I will sleep on the bed? I will have a cabinet for my clothes?’ It’s so sad to hear it, but they didn’t have that in their own countries, they sleep on the floor,” she said. “They are taken care of nicely there. But you know, yeah, they are not with parents, it’s sad. But when they come here alone or with coyotes or illegally, you know, you need to do something.”
These comments were made not long after Stephanie Grisham, then Melania’s communications director, said that Melania chose to visit the detention facility because, “the images struck her, as a mother, as a human being.”
But in her phone conversation with Winston Wolkoff, Melania struck a different note. She argued that migrant families are coached before they seek asylum. “They go over and they say, like, ‘Oh, we will be killed by a gang member, we will be, you know, it’s so dangerous,’” the First Lady said. “They could easily stay in Mexico but they don’t want to stay in Mexico, because Mexico doesn’t take care of them the same as America does.”
The First Lady also complained about the press. “They are against us because they’re liberal media,” she said. “They say I’m complicit. I’m the same like him, I support him,” she said, referring to her husband, President Donald Trump. “I don’t say enough, I don’t do enough where I am.” She seemed to suggest that she was too busy to do anything about the child separation crisis because she was working on the White House Christmas decorations, which were almost universally panned as a blood-red nightmare.
“Who gives a fuck about the Christmas stuff and decorations?” Melania said. “I say that I’m working on Christmas and planning for the Christmas, and they said, ‘Oh, what about the children, that they were separated?’ Give me a fucking break. … I was trying to get the kid reunited with the mom. I didn’t have a chance — needs to go through the process and through the law.”
She also admitted that she knows the much-talked about Zara jacket she wore during her trip to the border, emblazoned, “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” caused controversy. But in the recording, she seemed to enjoy that she did something to make liberals angry, echoing the sentiments of her husband and many of his supporters.
“I’m driving liberals crazy, that’s for sure,” Melania said. “They deserve it.”
Grisham, who is now Melania’s chief of staff, said in a statement to CNN the recordings are just a way for Winston Wolkoff to boost her book sales.
“Secretly taping the First Lady and willfully breaking an NDA to publish a salacious book is a clear attempt at relevance,” Grisham said. “The timing of this continues to be suspect — as does this never-ending exercise in self-pity and narcissism.”
Grisham is right about one thing: The timing of this was, if not suspect, at least unfortunate. Just hours after it was played on CNN, Melania — and President Trump — announced that they had tested positive for COVID-19.
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