Melania Trump has been accused of having “blood on her hands” by a former friend and adviser following the deadly riots by a pro-Trump mob at the US Capitol on Wednesday.
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who previously served as an aide to the first lady, penned a scathing editorial of the president and Mrs Trump in The Daily Beast.
“It was an assault on human life and our great democracy. Unfortunately, our president and first lady have little, if any, regard for either,” Ms Wolkoff wrote following the Capitol riots, calling the violence “shocking, awful, disheartening and shameful”.
Ms Wolkoff went on to confess that she was a “Melania enabler” and regretted ever working for the first lady or having a friendship with her given all that has happened during the four years of Donald Trump’s presidency.
“I take responsibility for being Melania’s enabler, and her using me became the basis of our friendship. I can’t believe how blind I was to the depth of her deception and lack of common decency,” the former aide wrote.
The Trumps “lack character, and have no moral compass,” Ms Wolkoff said.
“Although my intentions to support the first lady in the rollout of her initiatives were always pure, I’m disheartened and ashamed to have worked with Melania,” she continued.
Ms Wolkoff became friends with the first lady nearly 20 years ago and was there when Melania married Mr Trump, The New York Times reported.
She served in the East Wing of the White House after Inauguration Day in 2017, an event she helped organise for the Trump administration. But her time at the White House lasted about a year before she left.
The reasoning behind Ms Wolkoff leaving was due to reports surfacing that a company she previously worked for was paid $25.8m by the president’s inaugural committee for its role in planning the inauguration. In the wake of the story, first revealed by The New York Times, Mrs Trump’s office announced they would be no longer working with Ms Wolkoff.
Since then, the relationship between the two former friends has deteriorated.
Ms Wolkoff released a tell-all book about the first lady entitled Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady in September 2020. At the time, Mrs Trump slammed the book and called her former friend and aide a “dishonest opportunist”.
Mrs Trump has issued no public statement about the events and offered no condolences to police officer Brian Sicknick’s family after he died during the riots. Four other people were killed.
“Melania knows how to ‘Be Best’ at standing up and reading from a teleprompter and not from the heart,” Ms Wolkoff wrote, citing the first lady’s online bullying campaign.
Hours after the riot Stephanie Grisham, Mrs Trump’s chief of staff, announced she would be leaving her position in the administration in protest of the Capitol riots.
But Ms Wolkoff said the resignation might not be quite what it seemed.
“It came as no surprise to learn, with less than two weeks to go, Grisham jumped ship during Trump’s self-imposed reprehensible implosion. Grisham was probably fired and used this opportunity to pretend she had a moral line in the sand,” the former aide wrote.
The former aide called the first lady “an extension of her husband, just as hypocritical, speaking out of both sides of her mouth, when it suits her best”.
Ms Wolkoff warned off the belief that the first lady is “powerless” within her relationship with the sitting president.
“Don’t be fooled; she is an abuser too, of the worst kind. The kind that speaks kindly to children. The sickness is under the skin,” she said.
She added: “Melania knows and supports Donald and his viewpoints. If you hit him, he’ll hit you back harder. He’s the brass knuckles, aggressive guy, and she elects to grin and bear it. She turns a blind eye. The truth is she’s actually encouraging him to go for it. Be aggressive. She’s his biggest cheerleader.”