On Friday, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania Trump’s former friend and adviser, published a diatribe about the first lady’s absence during last week’s insurrection in the Daily Beast. The gist of the piece is Melania only cares about herself, and would rather preserve some kind of hagiography as the most “enigmatic” first lady than address a crumbling democracy.
Winston Wolkoff’s piece could have been a small item in the enormous RSS feed of this past week’s news—it flew so under the radar that, when Melania herself finally spoke up about the riots five days after the fact, multiple members of the media had no idea what she was referring to when she mentioned “salacious gossip.” But it seems that nearly a week since the Capitol riots, Winston Wolkoff’s essay—which is something of a repackaged and updated version of her book, Melania and Me—is the only thing that could get under Melania’s skin.
The first lady wrote, “I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me—from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda. This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain.”
This is the problem with averaging one (1) friend. If Melania had more than one friend, then she would not be left to come to her own defense. But even the first lady’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, has turned in her gossip-cop badge.
Winston Wolkoff, you’ll remember, is responsible for leaking the “Who gives a fuck about Christmas” tape, in which Melania said, “Who gives a fuck about Christmas?” on the same call that she said actually the children taken from their parents and detained at the border are being taken better care of than they were in their homes. She’s the one that revealed the nature of the rivalry between stepmom and stepdaughter, Ivanka Trump. She’s the reason one might be able to definitively conclude that the husband-and-wife duo is more similar than they might appear from the outside.
And she’s the one who Trump has reliably replied to, usually through Grisham. In the instance of the “fuck Christmas” call, for example, Grisham told CNN, “Secretly taping the first lady and willfully breaking an NDA to publish a salacious book is a clear attempt at relevance. The timing of this continues to be suspect—as does this never-ending exercise in self-pity and narcissism.”
The words from her bizarre statement regarding the Capitol mirror these (and it wouldn’t be the only instance of plagiarism in the statement). It seems Melania can ignore most calls for answers from the press and the public, but she can’t quit her former friend Winston Wolkoff.
— How Harry and Meghan’s Royal Exit Led to an Unexpected Happy Ending— Astrologer Chani Nicholas Says 2021 Will Still Be Tough, but There’s Hope— Report: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Are Getting Divorced— More Hillsong Pastors Resign as Justin Bieber Confirms He’s Left the Church— Does Prince Andrew Understand That He Can’t Go Back to Normal Royal Life?— Sheryl Crow’s Life Lessons— The 13 Best Winter Moisturizers for Every Skin Need— From the Archive: The Temptation of Tiger Woods
— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.