family separation policy
Former First Lady Melania Trump criticized her former friend and aide Stephanie Winston Wolkoff more than two years after a secret recording was released in which Trump complained she doesn't "give a f**k about Christmas" and resented having to decorate the White House for Christmas festivities.
Now Trump says she wants to "set the record straight," telling the far-right Breitbart News Wolkoff "spitefully edited and released our conversation to create the perception that Christmas is not significant to me."
Saying "the mainstream media has failed to provide context for these misleading exchanges," Trump insisted Christmas is "an important time" for her and her family and her "devotion to the holiday is personal and profoundly serious."
Then things got a little awkward when the former First Lady appeared to take a dig at her husband—former Republican President Donald Trump—and his "zero tolerance" family separation policy at the nation's southern border that Trump administration critics said was both cruel and immoral.
"Most people will agree that reuniting migrant children with their parents is more important than discussing Christmas decorations during summertime."
But that comment, bizarre as it was, did not warrant further elaboration as far as the First Lady was concerned. She claimed Wolkoff deliberately exposed her "malicious intent" by releasing a recording she said made her seem callous.
Trump added Wolkoff had her contract with the First Lady’s Office "terminated in February 2018" and "she was later charged with violating the confidentiality clause of her White House Employment Agreement."
Trump's claims angered Wolkoff, who said the former First Lady's statements were little more than an attempt to rehabilitate her image now she’s launched a new line of Christmas ornaments and corresponding NFTs.
Writing on Twitter, Wolkoff stated Trump "has nothing to do than to impugn my integrity and lie again in order to sell some ornaments."
\u201cMelania Trump LIES AGAIN\u2026capitalizing on my name to take advantage of the American people! She has nothing better to do than to impugn my integrity and lie again in order to sell some ornaments. \n\nSHAME ON YOU \u2066@MELANIATRUMP\u2069 \n\nP.S. I don\u2019t lie!!! https://t.co/JLfQvK9pLc\u201d— Stephanie Winston Wolkoff (@Stephanie Winston Wolkoff) 1663711853
In a follow-up tweet, she suggested Trump's "next attack" would be when she "tries to sell lightweight jackets that say 'I DON’T REALLY CARE! DO YOU?'"
\u201cPATHETIC!\nMelania Trump needs to attack ME to sell Christmas ornament NFT\u2019s.\u00a0What is Melania worried about? She can\u2019t sell ornaments on her own?\u00a0\n\nWhat\u2019s the next attack against me? When she tries to sell lightweight jackets that say \u201cI DON\u2019T REALLY CARE! DO YOU?\u201d\u201d— Stephanie Winston Wolkoff (@Stephanie Winston Wolkoff) 1663711853
Wolkoff's remark was a reference to a jacket Trump wore emblazoned with the words “I really don’t care, do u?” while she boarded a plane to visit a detention center for immigrant children in McAllen, Texas.
News outlets reported the then-First Lady changed her outfit while traveling but her wardrobe choice was perceived by many as a tacit endorsement of her husband's child separation policy.
\u201cDaily Mail reports that Melania Trump boarded her plane to Texas wearing a jacket that said on the back, "I really don't care, do u?"\n\nhttps://t.co/SeNGeux5jB\u201d— Tim Mak (@Tim Mak) 1529604582
Many came to Wolkoff's defense, criticizing Trump in the process.
\u201c@SWinstonWolkoff You had tapes.\n\nSo sucks to be her!\u201d— Stephanie Winston Wolkoff (@Stephanie Winston Wolkoff) 1663711853
\u201c@SWinstonWolkoff She is loathsome.\u201d— Stephanie Winston Wolkoff (@Stephanie Winston Wolkoff) 1663711853
\u201c@SWinstonWolkoff I don't know her obviously, but she comes off stiff, shallow, judgmental and self-righteous. Anyone who can marry trump has to have something wrong with them.\u201d— Stephanie Winston Wolkoff (@Stephanie Winston Wolkoff) 1663711853
\u201c@SWinstonWolkoff She is as awful as Trump.\u201d— Stephanie Winston Wolkoff (@Stephanie Winston Wolkoff) 1663711853
\u201c@SWinstonWolkoff Melania has no depth, if she did, she wouldn't be trying make money selling ugly trinkets but instead go give of her endless available time to help the needy, for free.\u201d— Stephanie Winston Wolkoff (@Stephanie Winston Wolkoff) 1663711853
\u201c@SWinstonWolkoff @AliAdair22 Just consider the source. She lies like Trump.\u201d— Stephanie Winston Wolkoff (@Stephanie Winston Wolkoff) 1663711853
\u201cShe has tapes! Email and documents. \n@MELANIATRUMP is a pitiful liar. A real Trump.\u201d— Giuseppina (@Giuseppina) 1663717499
Former President Trump previously admitted his administration’s policy of separating families was a negotiating tool to get Democrats to cave to his demands, which included tougher border security and the building of a wall at the United States-Mexico border.
Medical professionals decried the policy, saying it would cause “irreparable harm” to separated migrant children and warning of the effects “toxic stress” can have on a child’s brain development and long-term health.
The policy ultimately withered after The Associated Press reported the Trump administration would be operating at least three “tender age” shelters in South Texas for migrant babies and toddlers and a fourth shelter would house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, Texas.