"Sadly, this is a deeply insecure woman whose need to be relevant defies logic," the first lady's spokeswoman said

By Adam Carlson
August 31, 2020 01:23 PM
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First Lady Melania Trump has nothing nice to say about a former friend and adviser who now has plenty to say about her.

A day before Stephanie Winston Wolkoff's memoir, Melania and Me, is set to be published — with the subtitle "The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady" — Trump's spokeswoman assailed her character and her account of the first family.

Stephanie Grisham, the chief of staff for the first lady, also bit back at Wolkoff over reports that Wolkoff recorded her conversations with Trump, which Wolkoff has declined to confirm or deny.

"Anybody who secretly tapes their self-described best friend is by definition, dishonest," Grisham said in a statement to PEOPLE. (At least some White House officials have been preparing for the release of the audio for days.)

"The book is not only full of mistruths and paranoia, it it is based on some imagined need for revenge," Grisham continued. "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."

Wolkoff, a high-profile events planner who has known President Donald Trump's wife since 2003, followed Mrs. Trump to the White House in 2017 as an unpaid East Wing adviser after helping plan the inaugural events.

But Wolkoff was ousted from the Trump orbit in 2018 over what she has said was a scapegoating about the inauguration cost — insisting she was "thrown under the bus" rather than fired.

Her upcoming book was excerpted in New York last week and various news outlets have since reported on its contents, which provide an up-close view of the famously private first lady. Anecdotes about how Mrs. Trump, 50, reacted to the infamous Access Hollywood tape and her friction with stepdaughter Ivanka Trump have drawn particular notice.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff (left) and Melania Trump in 2008
BILLY FARRELL/Patrick McMullan via Getty
From left: Melania and Donald Trump with Stephanie Winston Wolkoff
Billy Farrell/ BFA

"Melania’s a pragmatist, Melania always — you know, if you can’t control people’s emotions then why even worry about it," Wolkoff told ABC News in an interview on Monday. "And that’s how she lived her life and that is what she stood by every day."

" She doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her," Wolkoff said. "That’s true confidence."

Still, Wolkoff told ABC News, their relationship soured because she had misunderstood something fundamental about the first lady: "I gave Melania the benefit of the doubt that she was my friend, she was different than Donald was, she was different than the other Trump children. ... [But] a Trump is a Trump is a Trump."

"The Melania I first met versus the Melania there is today is a very different person," she told ABC News.

Melania and Me will be published on Tuesday.