Secret recordings in 2018 caught first lady Melania Trump profanely expressing her frustration with criticism of her over President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant children from their families at the border.
CNN on Thursday night aired audio clips of a conversation secretly recorded by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, at the time an adviser and friend of the first lady. The two later had a falling out, and Wolkoff has written a tell-all book about her experiences, in which Melania Trump is portrayed in a sharply negative light.
In the recording aired Thursday, the first lady is heard telling Wolkoff: “They say I’m complicit. I’m the same like him, I support him. I don’t say enough, I don’t do enough where I am. … I’m working … my ass off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a f*** about the Christmas stuff and decorations? But I need to do it, right?
She continued: “OK, and then I do it and I say that I’m working on Christmas and planning for the Christmas and they said, ‘Oh, what about the children that they were separated?’ Give me a f****** break. Where they were saying anything when Obama did that? I can not go, I was trying get the kid reunited with the mom. I didn’t have a chance — needs to go through the process and through the law.”
That was shortly after she was heavily criticized for wearing a jacket with the words “I really don’t care, do u?” on a trip to visit border detention facilities for children in June 2018.
Melania Trump’s comments about Obama were also inaccurate — while migrant children were separated from their parents on occasions under the Obama administration when authorities had doubts about their relationship or when there were concerns about the childrens’ well-being, Trump made family separations a blanket policy for those caught crossing the border illegally, until a federal judge halted the policy.
Later in the recording, CNN reported she also questioned the danger some of the migrants faced in their home countries.
“A lot of like moms and kids, they are teached how to do it. 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,’” she said. “So they are allowed to stay here.
“It’s not true that they would, you know what I mean,” she said. “They are teached by other people what to say to come over and to you know let them go to stay here. … They don’t want to stay in Mexico because Mexico doesn’t take care of them the same as America does.”
Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s chief of staff, blasted Wolkoff for airing the recordings, saying in a statement Thursday: “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.”