- Stephanie Winston Wolkoff published a tell-all about the "rise and fall" of her 15-year friendship with first lady Melania Trump on September 1.
- On October 13, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Wolkoff, claiming that the publication of the book was in violation of a nondisclosure agreement she signed.
- Wolkoff, a former special events planner for Vogue, helped plan President Donald Trump's inauguration in 2017.
- She was fired from the White House in 2018 after a scandal involving spending on the inauguration.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Trump was accused of plagiarizing a 2008 speech by former first lady Michelle Obama, with several reports pointing out that a number of Trump's passages appeared to be directly lifted from Obama's.
Wolkoff said Trump wasn't embarrassed, but suspicious.
"She was suspicious that the plagiarism had been left in on purpose," Wolkoff wrote in her book. "Someone in Trump World didn't want Melania to shine."
"We talked about who that might be. Who stood to gain by making Melania look bad? Our conversations were guarded, and she kept it light, as always."
"But it seemed to her, and to me, that the plagiarized speech was like drawing first blood between rivals," Wolkoff wrote. "Or was it a warning that Melania should stay in the background?"
Source: Business InsiderWhile promoting her book, Wolkoff told The Washington Post that Trump used a private email account when she first moved to Washington, DC.
"Melania and I both didn't use White House emails," Wolkoff told The Post.
It drew comparisons to Hillary Clinton's use of a private server during her time as President Barack Obama's secretary of state, which Donald Trump repeatedly criticized during his 2016 presidential campaign.Wolkoff also told CNN that Trump deliberately wore a controversial jacket to visit detained children at the US border in 2018 to get press attention.
The jacket read "I don't really care, do u?"
Wolkoff told CNN that she thought the first lady meant to say that she didn't care what either liberals or conservatives thought about her trip to the border.
"She wanted everyone to know that she went to the border," Wolkoff said. "She did not feel the press would cover a good deed — she felt the press only wanted to cover something that was damaging to the administration."
At the time, the first lady's office released a statement saying there was no message behind the jacket, but Trump herself later admitted to ABC that there was "a kind of message" to the jacket.
In the conversations, which were recorded in the summer of 2018, Trump is heard complaining about having to balance both planning the White House's Christmas decorations and blowback from the administration's migrant child separation policy.
"I'm working ... my a-- off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a f--- about the Christmas stuff and decorations? But I need to do it, right?" the first lady is heard saying in the tapes, which were first aired on CNN in October.
"OK, and then I do it and I say that I'm working on Christmas and planning for the Christmas and they said: 'Oh, what about the children that they were separated?'"
"Give me a f---ing break."According to the book, Wolkoff met Melania in 2003, when Wolkoff was director of special events for Vogue and Melania, then-girlfriend of Donald Trump, was seeking the help of Vogue journalist André Leon Talley in shaping her style.
Source: "Melania and Me"Wolkoff said her friendship with Trump blossomed around regular lunch dates at expensive New York City eateries.
Source: "Melania and Me"When Donald Trump won the election in 2016, Melania asked her friend to help advise her as first lady and plan his inauguration, using the skills Wolkoff had honed organizing the Met Gala for years.
Source: "Melania and Me"But just a year later, Wolkoff was let go from her position at the White House after reports that her company profited excessively from working on the inauguration.
Source: The New York TimesWolkoff later told The New York Times that she had been "thrown under the bus," and that she was told privately that the termination of her position had nothing to do with inauguration spending.
Source: The New York TimesOn October 13, 2020, the Department of Justice sued Wolkoff, claiming that publishing "Melania and Me" was in violation of a nondisclosure agreement that Wolkoff signed.
The Justice Department is calling on the court to funnel the profits of the book into a government trust so that Wolkoff doesn't profit from the move.
You can read the lawsuit here:In response, Wolkoff said her confidentiality agreement with the first lady is no longer valid, and accused the Trumps using "bullying tactics."
In a statement published by Reuters, Wolkoff said that the confidentiality provisions with Melania Trump ended "when the White House terminated the agreement."
"The president and first lady's use of the US Department of Justice to silence me is a violation of my First Amendment Rights and a blatant abuse of the government to pursue their own personal interests and goals," Wolkoff added.
"I will not be deterred by these bullying tactics."
Her publisher, Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster also told Page Six: "The Department of Justice's action is a transparent attempt to use the government as a means of intimidation against authors."
"We stand behind our author Stephanie Winston Wolkoff,and her right to tell her story."