President Trump and first lady Melania Trump are pushing back against a Vanity Fair report that suggests she never wanted to be first lady and that neither of them thought he’d win the presidency.
“Melania, our great and very hard working First Lady, who truly loves what she is doing, always thought that ‘if you run, you will win,’” President Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning. “She would tell everyone that, ‘no doubt, he will win.’ I also felt I would win (or I would not have run) — and Country is doing great!”
A spokeswoman for Melania Trump dismissed the report, published online Sunday, as a partisan smear.
“Once again part of the liberal media, this time Vanity Fair, has written a story riddled with unnamed sources and false assertions,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, said in a statement. “As a magazine tailored to women it is shameful that they continue to write salacious and false stories meant to demean Mrs. Trump, rather than focus on her positive work as First Lady as a supportive wife and mother.”
In an email to Yahoo News, Beth Kseniak, Vanity Fair’s executive director of communications, said, “We stand by Sarah’s story.”
In the report by the magazine’s Sarah Ellison, a longtime friend of the first family told her that Melania Trump was ill-prepared for her role in the White House. Melania Trump, a Slovenian-born former model and Trump’s third wife, initially stayed in Trump Tower with her 11-year-old son Barron, but they moved into the White House in June.
“This isn’t something she wanted and it isn’t something he ever thought he’d win,” the unnamed friend told Ellison. “She didn’t want this come hell or high water. I don’t think she thought it was going to happen.”
But the report also suggested that Melania Trump was the person who ultimately pushed her husband to run for president in 2015 after he publicly flirted with the idea for years.
“She was very clearly the one who said, ’Either run or don’t run,’” Roger Stone, a former Trump campaign adviser and longtime friend, told the magazine. “’Your friends are tired of this striptease. Every four years you talk about it.’”
“She knew it was in his blood,” Stone added. “He always wanted to run. She is the one who pushed him to run just by saying run or do not run. I don’t think she was ever too crazy about it. … She said, ‘It’s not my thing. It’s Donald’s thing.’ And I think she understood he was going to be unhappy if he didn’t run.”
It’s not the first time Melania Trump has responded to speculation over her true feelings about life in the East Wing.
Last month, Ivana Trump, Donald Trump’s first wife, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she speaks to Trump every couple weeks — and that she has a “direct number” to call him at the White House but rarely uses it.
“I [don’t] really want to call him there, because Melania is there,” Ivana Trump said. “And I don’t want to cause any kind of jealousy or something like that, because I’m basically first Trump wife, OK? I’m first lady.”
“I think for her to be in Washington must be terrible,” she said of Melania. “It’s better her than me. I would hate Washington.”
“Mrs. Trump has made the White House a home for Barron and the President,” Grisham shot back. “She loves living in Washington, D.C., and is honored by her role as First Lady of the United States. She plans to use her title and role to help children, not sell books. There is clearly no substance to this statement from an ex; this is unfortunately only attention-seeking and self-serving noise.”
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