RNC 2020: Melania and Ivanka Trump caught in awkward video moment as tell-all book reveals ‘tense relationship’

First lady allegedly attempted to block daughter from appearing in president’s inauguration photos

Matt Mathers@MattEm90
Friday 28 August 2020 16:00
Melania Trump pulls face after Ivanka walks past her in apparent snub following RNC speech
Leer en Español

Melania Trump and her daughter Ivanka were caught in an awkward moment on Thursday night at the Republican National Convention (RNC), just a day after a published book extract detailed an alleged tense relationship between the two women.

While introducing Donald Trump to deliver his nomination speech, the first lady’s facial expression could be seen dramatically changing after Ivanka, who had also taken to the stage to welcome her father, enters the stage.

It came just 24 hours after a former confidant of the first lady detailed what she claims is a tense relationship between the first lady and her daughter in a new book.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who is said to have been close to Ms Trump for several years before she entered the White House, alleges in ‘Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady’ that the first lady attempted to block Ivanka from appearing in photos of her father’s swearing-in at his January 2017 inauguration.

“We were all exhausted and stressed out. Yes, Operation Block Ivanka was petty,” Ms Wolkoff wrote in an extract published in New York magazine on Wednesday.

“Melania was in on this mission. But in our minds, Ivanka shouldn’t have made herself the center of attention in her father’s inauguration.”

According to Ms Wolkoff, there was an ongoing power struggle between the two women in the White House. She alleges that Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who both work for the president, looked for ways to “control” Melania and attempted to commandeer office space from the East Wing.

“Ivanka was relentless and was determined to be the first daughter lady and to usurp office space out from under Melania; she wanted to be the only visible female Trump on the premises,” Ms Wolkoff wrote.

But a source reportedly close to Ivanka hit back: “The idea that she was trying to take over the East Wing, I know it’s been written a million times, that doesn’t make it any more true”.

A White official sought to question Ms Wolkoff’s character, saying she had “inflated her relationship with the first lady”. The official added that Ms Wolkoff often behaved in a manner that annoyed Ms Trump.

Ms Wolkoff, who worked as a director of special events for Vogue magazine, reportedly met Ms Trump on the New York social scene. She was one of Ms Trump’s first hires in the East Wing and also had a short stint as an unpaid special government employee, and helped with the president’s inauguration.

But that working relationship was short-lived. A firm set up by Ms Wolkoff was paid around $26m (£19m) for its work on the president’s inauguration, a sum that reportedly upset the Trump family. Ms Wolkoff later left the White House.

Ms Wolkoff was last year subpoenaed over her role in the inauguration amid claims of excessive spending.

‘Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady’ has been scheduled for release on 1 September.

The Independent has approached the White House for comment.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments