Former First Lady of the United States of America Melania Trump had “no budget” to hire staff as most of it was taken by Ivanka Trump, a former adviser and friend has said.
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, author of the tell-all book Melania and Me, described how she was forced to give up her salary so two more staff could be hired to help set up the East Wing for Ivanka and her husband Jared.
Melania and Ivanka are said to have a fragile relationship, with the First Lady calling her stepdaughter a “snake”.
The tension dates back to the early days of the Trump administration when Ivanka who served as a special adviser to her dad reportedly suggested renaming the White House’s “First Lady’s Office” to “First Family Office”.
Recollecting her time at the White House assisting Melania, Wolkoff said respect for the then-First Lady “never existed”, reports the Daily Star.
Speaking on Mooch FM podcast, the 50-year-old – who worked as an unpaid adviser to Melania from January 2017 to February 2018 – said no one expected Trump’s wife to have the ability to do something impactful.
She said: “I walked into the White House on January 22 and had dinner with the Trump family the day after the swearing-in.
“I was so looking forward after we had toured the East Wing so Melania and I to create this bipartisan group of women that were going to really make a difference to the world.
“I believed it was possible, and it was.”
Stephanie pointed to a conversation with Donald Trump’s deputy chief of staff, Katie Walsh, as she added: “I’m realising Melania didn’t have a budget and didn’t really have any staff.
“It was me interviewing everyone because Ivanka and Jared had used all of the budgets, all of the titles.
“Melania was left with a handful of titles and salaries that wouldn’t enable us to hire anyone with any experiences.
“So I gave up the original salary because I needed to hire two other people in order to be there and to help set up the East Wing.”
“It was so disheartening because it didn’t matter to me whether Melania was there, whether they felt Melania had the ability to do something that was going to be impactful,” she explained.
“It was the fact that no one respected that she was the First Lady of the United States of America and the East Wing represented that to me and I held that in high esteem.”
In her book Melania and Me, which was published in September, Wolkoff made multiple claims about the First Lady, including allegations that funds for former President Donald Trump ’s inauguration in 2017 had been misused.
Since then she has been accused of breaching a non-disclosure agreement to write the tell-all tale.