When Donald Trump’s now famous Access Hollywood interview tape came out in 2016, many of us thought of wife Melania, and how she would feel to hear her husband describing how he would grab women “by the p***y,” among other unsavory details. But Melania, now known as First Lady for her inscrutable, impassive presence, first perfected that art on the campaign trail, and her reaction to this quote was no exception. The world remained largely unaware of what Melania might really think of her husband, now the President’s, tape — until now. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania’s former friend and advisor and the author of upcoming tell-all Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady, went on Good Morning America to discuss her relationship with the Slovenian-born former model. Per Wolkoff’s description, who had lunch with Melania the day the Access tape came out, the First Lady’s reaction wasn’t at all what we expected — but having observed Melania over these past four years, it’s a reaction that’s undeniably fitting with her reputation within the Trump family.
Wolkoff chatted with GMA host Linsey Davis about her close friendship with Melania, including the text she got from her the day that Access Hollywood tape first made the rounds.
“The day that the Access Hollywood tape came out she reached out to have lunch. Now, if any other human being or any other one of my friends I would have expected to see them in tears, right?” Wolkoff recounted. “She was smiling. It was as if nothing happened.”
In keeping with her friend’s mood, Wolkoff cracked a joke: “I said to her, how many times have you heard the word P**** and president in the same sentence, and we burst out laughing.”
“Then I said, are you upset and doesn’t it get you angry and — Melania is a pragmatist,” Wolkoff continued. “Melania, if you can’t control people’s emotions, then why even worry about it. And that’s how she lived her life and that is what she stood by every day.”
Both in Wolkoff’s tell-all book and Melania’s own public appearances over these past four years, we see an image of a woman whose primary goal is solidarity with her family, and whose primary interactions with the media have been to convey her disinterest. Melania did not want to be included in the “grab em by the p***y” narrative, and so she refused to be.
Even now, it’s hard to picture Wolkoff and Melania erupting into giggles over a tape that so clearly painted Donald Trump as a gleeful assaulter of women, and even harder to understand how Melania would have brushed off the backlash as yet another overblown media response. But the “I really don’t care do u” jacket-wearing First Lady has always been an expert in refusing to acknowledge the upsetting. It’s ultimately unsurprising that she chose not to acknowledge this either.
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