WASHINGTON — First lady Melania Trump fired a pointed broadside at former “best friend” Stephanie Winston Wolkoff on Thursday, calling her a “dishonest opportunist” who “clung to me” for fame.
The normally private first lady sought to discredit Winston Wolkoff’s tell-all memoir “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,” which described her experience of working as a senior adviser to Trump and painted an unflattering portrait of the Slovenian-born ex-model.
In an essay published on the White House website Thursday morning, Trump criticized the news media for covering the “salacious claims” from Winston Wolkoff’s book and publishing secret audio recordings of their phone calls.
“[M]ajor news outlets eagerly covered salacious claims made by a former contractor who advised my office,” wrote Trump, 50.
“A person who said she ‘made me’ even though she hardly knew me, and someone who clung to me after my husband won the Presidency,” she went on.
“This is a woman who secretly recorded our phone calls, releasing portions from me that were out of context, then wrote a book of idle gossip trying to distort my character,” she added.
The Justice Department on Tuesday announced it was suing the first lady’s former friend, claiming Winston Wolkoff had violated a nondisclosure agreement and would need to hand over all of her book’s profits to a government trust.
The New York socialite party planner and ex-Vogue staffer met Melania Knauss, then Donald Trump’s girlfriend, in 2003, with Winston Wolkoff describing her as like “the sister I never had before.”
She became an unpaid adviser to the first lady but was booted from the White House in 2018 after reports claimed her company had been paid nearly $26 million for her work on President Trump’s January 2017 inauguration.
Earlier this year, the 50-year-old ex-adviser began releasing recordings of her conversations with Melania Trump in which the first lady referred to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claimed she had an affair with the commander-in-chief, as “the porn hooker.”
On Thursday, Melania Trump accused her former friend of trying to remain relevant and said she had brought any bad publicity on herself.
“Her ‘memoir’ included blaming me for her ailing health from an accident she had long ago, and for bad news coverage that she brought upon herself and others. Never once looking within at her own dishonest behavior and all in an attempt to be relevant,” she wrote.
“These kinds of people only care about their personal agenda — not about helping others,” she added.