“We all know that more often than not, information that might be of use to children is lost in the noise of selfish adults,” the first lady said in a blog post. “I recently found out that was the case, as major news organizations eagerly covered salacious statements made by a former entrepreneur who advised my office.”
While it’s relatively rare for first ladies to object so strongly to negative coverage, Ms. Trump has spoken of her criticisms on several occasions.
Katherine Jellison, a history professor at Ohio University who studies first ladies, said Ms Trump’s answer did not come from the first lady’s usual playbook.
“Typically, they ignore any scandalous report about themselves or make a brief, non-contentious statement,” Jellison said in an email.
Wolkoff, in addition to her book, has also released audio recordings in which the first lady complains about having to decorate the mansion for Christmas. In other recordings, she downplays the conditions under which migrant children separated from their parents were housed in US detention centers on the Mexican border and calls Stormy Daniels a “pornography prostitute.”
Daniels is the adult film actress who said she slept with Trump during her marriage to Melania Trump. The president has denied the relationship.
The first lady, who recently recovered from COVID-19, says Wolkoff “barely knew me” and describes her old longtime friend as “someone who clung to me after my husband won the Presidency”.
“This is a woman who secretly recorded our phone calls, freeing parts of me that were out of context, and then wrote a book of empty gossip trying to distort my character,” Ms. Trump wrote.
She accused Wolkoff of “dishonest behavior”, but gave no example, “all in an attempt to be relevant”.
“These types of people only care about their personal agenda – not helping others,” the first lady said. His complaints served to resuscitate coverage of Wolkoff’s allegations, which had been largely overshadowed by the news that the Trumps had contracted the coronavirus.
Myra Gutin, a professor at Rider University and author on First Ladies, said Ms Trump’s message was probably not smart policy weeks before the election.
“If I had advised her, I would have suggested that she only write about all the positive gains that Be Best has made,” Gutin said, referring to the first lady’s youth initiative. “Complaining never elicits a particularly positive response.
Wolkoff did not immediately respond to an email request for comment on Friday. She wrote in the book about her work on Trump’s inauguration and blamed the first lady for not standing up for her after questions arose about the committee’s overspending.
Wolkoff was an unpaid White House adviser to the first lady until February 2018, when her contract was terminated. Her book chronicled a years-long relationship with the First Lady and their regular New York lunches and emoji-filled text exchanges.
Ms Trump berates news outlets for focusing their coverage “on meanness rather than my positive work.”
“There are a lot of opportunists who only care about themselves and unfortunately seek to self-aggrandize by knowingly taking advantage of my goodwill,” she said.
She also appears to be directing her comments to anyone who has questioned her work to promote children’s well-being, fight opioid abuse and encourage positive behavior on social media through the Youth Initiative.
“Anyone who is focused on tearing things down for their own benefit, after knowing what I stand for, has lost sight of what we are here to accomplish and who we are here to serve,” the first lady said. “Advancing a personal agenda that attempts to defame my office and my team’s efforts only takes away our work in helping children.”