02:48 GMT22 September 2020
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    The claim adds to years of rumours suggesting that Donald Trump’s third wife has been engaged in a bitter rivalry with the president's daughter by his first wife, Ivanka, and the competition only intensified after the real-estate mogul went into politics and became the 45th US president.

    Melania Trump is claimed to have plotted to keep the president’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, out of the swearing-in photos, according to an excerpt from a book penned by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who worked as a senior adviser for the first lady until 2018. The book, titled “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady”, will address the most controversial issues involving Melania, including Donald Trump’s alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels and other women. The first excerpt of the book, published in New York Magazine, reveals how the president’s third wife and Wolkoff purportedly launched "Operation Block Ivanka" in order to keep the president’s daughter out of photos during the inauguration.

    Wolkoff, who organized the event, wrote that after she received a sketch of a platform where the new president was to be sworn in, the two planned where cameras should be located and how guests should be positioned to get the images they wanted.

    "Using his sketch, we were able to figure out whose face would be visible when Donald and Melania sat in their seats, and then when the family stood with Chief Justice John Roberts for Donald to take the oath of office. If Ivanka was not on the aisle, her face would be hidden while she was seated. For the standing part, we put Barron between Donald and Melania", Wolkoff wrote.

    Wolkoff admitted that the idea to keep Ivanka out of photos was petty, but noted that the operation came in response to Trump’s daughter making herself and her family the center of attention during the inauguration festivities. Wolkoff also claimed that the president’s daughter tried to usurp an office in the East Wing of the White House that is traditionally made available for the use of the first lady.

    "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, and she was actively using her influence with Katie Walsh, Reince Priebus, and Hope Hicks to thwart our efforts. Ivanka wasn’t playing by the rules, but she never, ever, got in trouble”, Wolkoff wrote.

    Wolkoff wrote that she met the first lady in 2003, when the former worked for Vogue. The fashion executive said Melania, a former model, was like a sister to her.

    "And the more time I spent with Melania, the more I genuinely liked her. Being with her was like having the sister I never had before - but a really confident, perfectly coiffed, ultimate older sister. In her world, nothing was a big deal, and everything was just as it should be. Just being with her made me feel good. She had her s*** together!”, Wolkoff wrote.

    The author is expected to address how the two fell out after it became known how much money had been spent for the inauguration - $26 million. A source told the Daily Mail at the time that Wolkoff’s firm is said to have spent 24 million on subcontractors alone, while the author reportedly received $500,000, with the rest of the money given to producers who worked on the event. The book may also feature statements allegedly made by Melania Trump in which she harshly criticized her husband and his adult children. According to reporter Yashar Ali, the statements were recorded by Wolkoff during an intimate conversation.

    Melania's press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said, however, that she has never heard FLOTUS make any negative comments either about her husband or his family.

    The book "Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady" will hit the shelves on 1 September.


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