Melania and her family drama

A former friend and adviser of Melania Trump says it was "the worst mistake of my life" to work for President Donald Trump and his family, lashing out at the first lady for not defending her over questions about costs for the presidential inauguration she helped produce.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff was an unpaid White House adviser to the first lady until February 2018, when her contract was terminated as questions about inaugural spending arose.

"When it really counted, Melania wasn't there for me," Wolkoff writes in "Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady," to be published Tuesday.

"She wasn't really my friend. In fact, I wish I had never met her," Wolkoff says about the first lady, a former fashion model. Wolkoff, a New York-based event planner, said the pair first met in 2003 in the hallways of Vogue magazine, where Wolkoff worked.

Wolkoff also writes about frostiness in the relationship between the first lady and the president's eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump. She said she and the first lady both once "bellied over with laughter" after Mrs. Trump referred to Ivanka Trump - long seen as her father's favorite child - as "Princess." Wolkoff also detailed how they launched "Operation Block Ivanka" to keep her from being too prominently featured in inauguration day photographs of her father being sworn in to office.

Ivanka Trump declined comment Monday. A person close to Ivanka Trump said it's traditional for a president's children to join in such a historic occasion.

In the book, Wolkoff portrays herself in a positive light and says she agreed to stay on and work in the White House for long hours, without pay and away from her husband and three children in New York because she wanted to help the first lady set up her operation and avoid being marginalised.

She also sheds light on Mrs. Trump's desire for privacy, recounting numerous occasions where the first lady had told Wolkoff she would do what was right for her, or her now 14-year-old son, Barron, and did not care what the public thought about her.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal