Stephanie Winston Wolkoff said the first lady is the president's "biggest enabler"

By Virginia Chamlee
January 12, 2021 03:35 PM

A former friend and adviser to Melania Trump lambasted her response to last Wednesday's U.S. Capitol riots, saying the first lady is an "enabler" of her husband, President Donald Trump.

In a Monday interview with CNN's Brianna Keilar, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff said Mrs. Trump's statement — issued five days after the attempted insurrection — offered too little, too late, describing the statement as one of many examples of the first lady's failure's.

"This isn't the only complicit event that's occurred throughout these four years. Melania Trump has a voice and she hasn't used it," Winston Wolkoff said. "She has a platform, she hasn't used it. As the First Lady of the United States of America ... you have the ability to speak loudly, clearly, and for the rest of Americans."

Winston Wolkoff continued: "She is not just complicit, she is his enabler. And she's his biggest cheerleader and unfortunately she's done nothing but that."

Formerly a close friend of Mrs. Trump's, Winston Wolkoff penned a tell-all book, Melania and Me, after leaving the White House, and has also publicly shared recordings of conversations she's had with the first lady.

Mrs. Trump now calls her former friend "dishonest."

The first lady, 50, made her first public statement regarding the attempted coup five days after the events, and did not blame her husband for his role in inciting the violence that took place in the Capitol.

"I implore people to stop the violence, never make assumptions based on the color of a person's skin or use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness" Mrs. Trump's statement read. "We must listen to one another, focus on what unites us, and rise above what divides us."

Winston Wolkoff told CNN those words weren't enough.

"The first lady's words have come very late ... her words are vacuous and they have no meaning ... There have been no actions," Winston Wolkoff said.

In her statement, the first lady also lashed out at what she called "salacious gossip" toward her in the wake of the attack (a remark that some speculated to be directed at Winston Wolkoff, who penned an essay for The Daily Beast last week in which she said Mrs. Trump has "blood on her hands.")

"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," Mrs. Trump wrote. "This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain."

Asked by Keilar whether she believed that statement was directed at her, Winston Wolkoff said, "Unfortunately, Brianna, if that's what's on her mind, then that's really an embarrassing thing to be thinking about at this moment in time."

In her editorial for The Daily Beast, Winston Wolkoff wrote that neither the president nor First Lady "have little, if any, regard" for either "human life [or] our great democracy."

"Many still believe that Melania is powerless, but don't be fooled; she is an abuser too, of the worst kind. The kind that speaks kindly to children," Winston Wolkoff wrote. "The sickness is under the skin. Melania knows and supports Donald and his viewpoints."

The violent insurrection, which resulted in the deaths of at least five people, has led to several resignations of those in the White House, including the First Lady's former chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham.

"It has been an honor to serve the country in the @WhiteHouse. I am very proud to have been a part of @FLOTUS @MELANIATRUMP mission to help children everywhere, & proud of the many accomplishments of this Administration," Grisham wrote in a tweet published just hours after the mob descended on the Capitol.