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Melania Trump’s Reaction to Stormy Daniels Had Nothing to Do with Donald’s Affair

It was an unusual moment for Americans everywhere when, in 2018, adult film star Stormy Daniels revealed that she and President Donald Trump had had an affair in 2006, and that she’d subsequently received a $130,000 payment and been forced into an NDA to secure her silence, a claim that was later confirmed by lawyer Michael Cohen, who facilitated the payment. Melania Trump, per her nature, never addressed the case publicly, leaving the media to speculate on how she might feel about this revelation, which places Donald having an affair just four months after their son Barron was born. But new tell-all book Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady, by Melania’s former friend and senior advisor Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, details Melania’s reaction to the Daniels case — and what most caught the first lady’s eye had nothing to do with Daniels and her husband.

When author Wolkoff, a former Vogue staffer and stepdaughter of jeweler Harry Winston, saw the Daniels news break she texted her friend Melania right away: “URGENT.” But she didn’t get a response from the first lady, not that day anyway. And when she did finally address it, her words were surprisingly apathetic — not for Melania, for whom apathy was something of an art form, but for the situation at hand.

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“I now realize Melania is not a normal woman. Two women had described having sex with her husband on national TV in graphic detail in the same week,” Wolkoff wrote, referring to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s revelations along with Daniels’. “Her private response: ‘It’s politics.'”

Truly, Melania never said a word beyond that about it to close friend Wolkoff — until Vogue got involved, and things got personal for the first lady. The former model had been featured in Vogue a few times early in her relationship with Donald, securing both a cover and a 14-page feature for her 2005 wedding and an Annie Leibovitz photoshoot in a gold bikini while pregnant with Barron in 2006. But by 2018, Anna Wintour was publicly denouncing the Trumps and Leibovitz had a new subject.

Donald’s wife kept her feelings short and sweet on the phone to Wolkoff: “Annie Leibovitz shot the porn hooker,” she said while describing the September issue of Vogue she’d seen.

Taken aback, Wolkoff asked her to clarify. “‘Stormy,’ she said. ‘She will be in Vogue.'”

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“When I started this, I just wanted to save my own ass, not everybody else’s,” says @thestormydaniels of her lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. “People come up and they’re so emotional and they put so much on me. They’re like, ‘You’re going to save the world, you’re a patriot, you’re a hero.’" But Daniels and her lawyer, @michaelavenatti, can sometimes feel more like Thelma and Louise/style fugitives—on the run, in car chases, moving hotels in the middle of the night, now that Daniels has become the unlikely, embattled symbol of our tempestuous times. Tap the link in our bio to read more about why Stormy Daniels is not backing down. Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, styled by @phyllis_posnick, written by @amychozick, Vogue, October 2018 hair: @garrennewyork makeup: @diane.kendal

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As she continued talking about Vogue, it was clear some of her earlier enthusiasm for the publication had cooled. “I’m so glad I didn’t do that profile in Vogue,” she told Wolkoff. “You know, they came back two months ago and asked me to do it again. ‘It might be a cover,’ they said. Are you kidding me? I don’t give a f**k about Vogue or any other magazine. They would never put me on the cover.”

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“All these people are so mad,” she added. “Some people say, ‘They’re all jealous. They want to be you.'”

The running theme in Wolkoff’s book is that Melania doesn’t feel obligated to answer to anyone, and becoming first lady didn’t change that. But Vogue had been an integral part of her rise to fame, starting with a close friendship with Wintour cultivated in the early 2000s, her and Donald’s engagement announcement at the 2004 Met Gala, and the subsequent coverage of her wedding and pregnancy.

Melania Trump seems impervious to nearly all media — but it seems the former model may have been stung by Vogue the most.

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