New Book By Melania Trump Friend Promises A Look At Trump Inaugural Finances

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August 27, 2020 11:01 a.m.

It’s been an eventful week for the Trump clan.

To say nothing of the various antediluvian calamities battering the country, a potential bombshell is headed toward the family in the form of a book written by a former friend of Melania Trump’s, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, due out next week.

Wolkoff isn’t only a friend of Melania’s, but also served as a chief organizer of President Trump’s 2017 inauguration. That event has been facing down federal investigations amid allegations of mass financial mismanagement, and of schemes in which foreign bigwigs were allowed to contribute to the committee in exchange for tickets — a practice banned by federal law.

That’s not to mention an ongoing mystery over why the inaugural raised $107 million — nearly twice as much as the next-most-expensive inauguration bash — but featured far fewer events and productions than any other presidential inauguration in recent memory.

Wolkoff’s book — Melania and Me — has been billed as having an answer to that nagging question of where the $107 million went, while also offering details of Wolkoff’s relationship with Melania. Wolkoff reportedly taped her conversations with the first lady.

NY Mag got a copy of one chapter in the book, which recounts various scenes around the comical mismanagement of the inaugural. Take this episode in which President Trump purportedly tried to install a 25-year-old aide as chief organizer of the inaugural:

As Donald exited the dining room, a young man walked inside the apartment carrying a brown-paper bag. Donald asked him, “What are you doing here?”

A bit shaky, the man said, “I’m delivering your turkey sandwich for dinner, sir.”

Donald grabbed the bag and told the kid to sit down. “You’re in charge of the inauguration now,” he said. “Stephanie, fill him in. Tell him what he needs to do.”

I couldn’t tell if Donald was serious about tapping the 25-year-old body man to be the new deputy chairman of the PIC. He looked like he was just out of college.

Rick Gates, the former GOP operative and Manafort associate who flipped on his boss in 2018, also makes a cameo in the excerpt, after Wolkoff mentions that he is helping to direct the inaugural:

Donald exclaimed, “Rick?! Rick Gates?! Who’s Rick Gates?!”

Was he serious? “He’s the deputy chairman of the inauguration,” I said.

“Oh, Rick. Rick Gates!” Donald paced himself into a tirade. “That son of a bitch stole $750,000 from me. I’m going to sue him!”

Donald stopped pacing and stood in front of Melania and me, his face scarlet. If I hadn’t known so much about food allergies, I would have thought he was going into anaphylactic shock.

“I’m calling Tom Barrack. I want Rick fired right now! That bastard. He stole my money!”

This is only one chapter, and a lot of it is devoted to backstabbing between Ivanka and Melania.

As Wolkoff tells it, the Trumps scapegoated her for the epic screw-up that the inaugural entailed, and NY Mag’s introduction to the excerpt offers a fairly juicy suggestion of what Melania’s former friend plans on alleging elsewhere in the book:

[Wolkoff] believed financial records had been purposefully structured in such a way that she was listed as the inaugural committee’s greatest benefactor when, in fact, she’d kept a careful paper trail that showed she dispersed the bulk of her payment to a series of other vendors she’d hired to put on the events. She believed her life and reputation had been destroyed — that she now looked to the outside world like a scam artist, a glamorous petty criminal.

More to come once the book itself is released on September 1.

Read the NY Mag excerpt here.

 

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