The vicious backbiting between first lady Melania Trump and President Trump’s daughter Ivanka got so bad it generated its own mission codename, “Operation Block Ivanka,” a new book says.
The term referred specifically to Melania’s attempt to keep Ivanka out of the limelight during Trump’s 2017 swearing-in ceremony, according to the juicy tell-all by a former aide and longtime friend of the first lady, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, which officially drops Tuesday.
“Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,” is just the latest memoir from a disaffected former aide to describe working for the Trumps — any Trump — as a chaotic nightmare.
Winston Wolkoff joined Trumpworld from the fashion and event-planning industry after working for Vogue magazine, and played a central role in organizing the inauguration. She then became a senior adviser to the first lady during the first year of the Trump presidency.
Like so many others, she then had a falling out with the Trumps — and now, she’s written a book.
From the Melania-Ivanka battles to the “shit show” of the inauguration, here’s what’s inside.
“Make it look like North Korea.”
Winston Wolkoff said Trump told her personally that he wanted a North Korean-style military parade for his inauguration.
“I want tanks and choppers,” Trump said, she writes. “Make it look like North Korea.”
Winston Wolkoff says Ivanka “didn’t bat an eye” at the remark.
Trump later became enamored with a suggestion from Mark Burnett, the famous TV producer who worked with Trump on “The Apprentice” reality show, to fly a squadron of drones that would light up the night sky over the inaugural festivities.
Both ideas fell by the wayside during the disorganized chaos of Trump’s inaugural planning.
“Grab ’em by the pussy”
Winston Wolkoff says Melania declared herself unbothered by the infamous “Access Hollywood” tapes, in which Trump crudely boasted of grabbing women “by the pussy.”
Trump’s remarks were recorded not long after Donald and Melania’s wedding. The tape emerged a few weeks before the 2016 election and created a crisis in the Trump campaign.
Winston Wolkoff recounts having a relaxed, expensive lunch in Manhattan with Melania days after the tape dropped, in which the future first lady dismissed her husband’s comments as just Donald being Donald.
“Aren’t you angry?” Winston Wolkoff asks, according to the book.
Melania shook her head.
“Nope!” Melania replies. “He is who he is. I told him that if he ran for president, he had to be ready for everything to be opened up and exposed. His whole life.”
The book presents Melania as profoundly indifferent to public criticism. She repeatedly brushes off Winston Wolkoff’s concerns about her husband’s potential impact on her wellbeing with: “Don’t be [worried]; I know who I married.”
The White House bathrooms
Melania Trump refused to move into the White House Residence until the bathroom had been renovated because she didn’t want to use the same toilet or shower as former First Lady Michelle Obama, Winston Wolkoff writes.
“Melania took one look at her bedroom off the West Sitting Hall and said, ‘I’m not moving to D.C. until the Residence has been renovated and redecorated, starting with a new shower and toilet,’” the book says.
Winston Wolkoff says Melania probably would have treated anyone else’s former bathroom the same way.
“Melania did not conduct business on a previously-used john,” Winston Wolkoff writes.
Melania vs. Ivanka
The book describes tensions between Melania and Ivanka as a “cold war.”
Before the inauguration, Melania and Winston Wolkoff launched an attempt to block Trump’s daughter Ivanka from taking center stage during the 2017 swearing-in ceremony in what they called “Operation Block Ivanka.”
The plan involved getting out a seating chart and carefully plotting camera angles to minimize Ivanka’s visual presence.
Winston Wolkoff acknowledges Operation Block Ivanka was “petty.” But it’s hardly the only scene of griping and backbiting between Melania and Ivanka in her tell-all.
According to the book, Melania gave Ivanka a derisive nickname: “Princess.”
Trump’s inaugural “shit show”
Winston Wolkoff claims she personally told Trump that his own Presidential Inaugural Committee was a “shit show.”
Winston Wolkoff would go on to take a lot of the public blame for mismanagement of the inauguration’s famously bloated budget, but claims in her book she was merely trying to keep the wildly disorganized event from falling apart.
And in this telling, the chaos trickled down from the top.
At one point, she recounts Trump angrily denouncing former campaign and inaugural planning aide Rick Gates. Then, in a huff, Trump turns to the next person he sees — the guy who just brought him dinner — and puts him in charge of planning the inauguration.
“What are you doing here?” Trump asks the young man, who looks like he just recently graduated from college, according to the book.
“I’m delivering your turkey sandwich for dinner, sir,” the guy says.
“You’re in charge of the inauguration now,” Trump replies. “Stephanie, fill him in.”
The whole episode was then, seemingly, forgotten.
Cover: Melania Trump, the wife of President Donald Trump, leaves the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, after President Trump signed his first legislation. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)