On October 2, 2020, CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper reported a secret recording of first lady Melania Trump taped in 2018 by former aide Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. The tape depicts the wife of President Donald Trump in a way that the American public has never before seen — and the results are at best unflattering, and at worst shocking.
The recording features the first lady unleashing a profanity-laden tirade in which she expresses her vehement frustration over White House Christmas decorations, as well as her resentful feelings on immigrant detention. The New York Times described her rant as “[mocking] the plight of migrant children who were separated from their parents at the border.”
“I say that I’m working on Christmas planning for the Christmas, and they said, ‘Oh, what about the children?’ That they were separated,” stated FLOTUS to Winston Wolkoff. She then followed with more profanity, concluding with, “Where they were saying anything when Obama did that?”
News of the tape leak came on the heels of reports that both the first lady and her husband have tested positive for the coronavirus and both are experiencing mild symptoms of the disease, according to The New York Times.
Melania Trump complained about negative press
First lady Melania Trump, who has been characterized by her cool, stoic public demeanor throughout her husband’s first term in the White House, shows a new side of herself on former aide Stephanie Winston Wolkoff’s recording of a December 2018 conversation.
In the taped conversation, per The New York Times, Trump complained about not receiving enough positive coverage by the press, saying that it was due to her perceived complicity with her husband’s actions. “They say I’m complicit. I’m the same like him. I support him. I don’t say enough. I don’t do enough,” she voiced to Winston Wolkoff.
Trump and Winston Wolkoff also discussed the first lady’s visit to a detention camp at the U.S. border, during which she wore a jacket with the phrase “I really don’t care. Do U?” At the time, many criticized the wardrobe choice, calling it insensitive. Trump defended her choice in the taped conversation, saying she did it to “[drive] liberals crazy.”
Melania Trump made a shocking assertion
Among the most shocking of first lady Melania Trump’s comments in the December 2018 tape was her assertion that refugees seeking asylum at the border were coached to lie to Border Patrol officials.
“A lot of, like, moms and kids they are teached how to do it,” the first lady told former aide Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. “They go over and they say like, ‘Oh, we will be killed by a gang member, we will be, you know, it’s so dangerous.’ So they are allowed to stay here.”
According to a 2019 statement by the ACLU, statistics show that families and unaccompanied children make up 61 percent of border arrivals. Countries where many refugees seeking asylum at the border come from, such as El Salvador and Honduras, have some of the highest violence rates in the world, per the United Nations.
Since news of the recording went live, Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s chief of staff, called Winston Wolkoff’s leak an effort to boost sales for her tell-all memoir Melania and Me, published on September 1, 2020. “Her only intent was to secretly tape the first lady in order to peddle herself and her salacious book,” said Grisham to The New York Times. She posited there “is no way to know if these recordings have been edited, and it’s clear the clips were handpicked and presented with no context.”
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