03:45 GMT28 November 2020
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    In an essay published on the White House website late last week, Melania Trump scorned US mainstream media for "eagerly" covering "salacious claims" made by the First Lady's former aide Stephanie Winston Wolkoff.

    Melania Trump voiced surprise about Vogue magazine's move to feature American pop singer Beyoncé on the cover of its September 2018 issue, according to a secretly recorded phone conversation between the US First Lady and her former aide and friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff shared with NBC News.

    The two reportedly discussed the departure of the magazine's top editors earlier in 2018.

    The First Lady was heard saying in the tape that Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour "gave the September issue of the Vogue cover - complete, complete, complete everything - to Beyoncé". The September issue is traditionally Vogue's biggest and most important issue of the year.

    Melania Trump than added that Wintour "will hire [a] black photographer and it's the first black photographer ever doing [a] cover of Vogue".

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington.
    © AP Photo / Evan Vucci
    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington.

    The First Lady also said in the recording that Vogue "would never" feature her on the September issue and that she doesn't "give a f**k about Vogue". Melania has not appeared in Vogue since her husband took office in January 2017.

    Beyoncé's spokesperson declined to comment on the First Lady's remarks, while Melania's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said that Wolkoff's "narcissism knows no bounds" and that "this woman is a fraud".

    "These audio tapes are hand-picked about nonsense and presented with no context. Shame on her for this continued attempt at character assassination and shame on NBC for covering this gossip", Grisham said.

    Melania Trump Berates Wolkoff for 'Dishonest Behaviour'

    She spoke after the First Lady lashed out at Wolkoff in an essay published on the White House website last Friday, describing her former aide and friend as a person of "dishonest behavior" who "only cares" about her "personal agenda".

    "This is a woman who secretly recorded our phone calls, releasing portions from me that were out of context, then wrote a book of idle gossip trying to distort my character. Her 'memoir' included blaming me for her ailing health from an accident she had long ago, and for bad news coverage that she brought upon herself and others", Melania argued.

    The remarks come a few days after the US Justice Department lodged a lawsuit against Wolkoff, insisting that she had violated a nondisclosure agreement by publishing a tell-all memoir about her time working at the White House and that she should hand over all of her book's profits to a government trust.

    The memoir titled "Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with The First Lady" was released in September and focused, in particular, on Wolkoff planning President Donald Trump's 2017 inauguration and advising the First Lady in the first year of the Trump administration.

    The First Lady's friend left the White House in 2018 after reports claimed that her company had been paid almost $26 million for her work on Trump's inauguration.

    Wolkoff, in turn, claimed that she began recording her conversations with Melania for her "protection" as she was about to depart the White House, saying that she "only started pressing record once I had already been severed and accused of criminal activity".

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    conversation, magazine, issue, Vogue, Beyonce, Melania Trump, Donald Trump, US
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