Why is there hostility between Melania and Ivanka Trump?

Why is there hostility between Melania and Ivanka Trump?
What Melania Trump's Former White House Aides Say She's Really Like
Nicki Swift / VideoElephant

There’s no love lost between the wife and eldest daughter of Donald Trump, according to a new book, which claims that the pair were at loggerheads for most of his presidency.

Melania Trump spent her four years in the White House waging war against Ivanka, whom she dubbed “the Princess”, the book alleges.

The work, titled ‘American Woman: The Transformation of the Modern First Lady, from Hillary Clinton to Jill Biden’ was written by New York Times reporter Katie Rogers, and offers an in-depth assessment of the FLOTUS role, and how it has been assumed in recent times

It suggests that Melania, 53, and her 42-year-old stepdaughter were locked in an ongoing “internal power struggle” to take on the role, which Ivanka had initially tried to assume when her stepmum didn’t immediately move to Washington DC at the start of Trump’s term.

Melania stayed behind in New York for some months while her son Barron, who was 10 at the time, completed his school year.

Meanwhile, Ivanka had reportedly been planning to revamp the Executive Mansion’s East Wing and all but take over the first lady’s quarters, according to the New York Post, which has had an early viewing of Rogers’ forthcoming book.

It claims that Trump’s beloved second-born was, in the words of Rogers, trying to repurpose the East Wing so that it could be “geared to serving the entire First Family, not just the First Lady.”

And, indeed, the president himself was all for Ivanka’s input, telling reporters early on that his daughter would be “helping” and “working” with his wife as she carried out her duties.

Suffice it to say, Melania was far from thrilled at the prospect of this matriarchal collaboration.

The women put on a united front at Trump's 2017 inaguration(Getty Images)

“[Melania] was aware that her husband had suggested that his eldest daughter would be helping to share the responsibilities of being First Lady, and this was not a development that pleased her,” Rogers writes.

Moreover, one of the first lady’s most infamous moments during her time in the White House was allegedly intended as a provocation towards her stepchild-turned-rival.

Former administrations reportedly suggested that Melania had been sending a message to Ivanka when she sported a jacket emblazoned with the words: “I really don’t care, do you?” before visiting detained migrant children at the southern border.

The two women “were locked in a quiet competition for press coverage” at the time, Rogers claims. And Melania sure got it after pulling that stunt.

Melania made headlines with the eyebrow-raising Zara jacket(Getty Images)

And yet, for all the characterisations of the 53-year-old as aloof and disinterested, sources told the NYT journalist that she was utterly obsessed with monitoring her public perception.

The mother-of-one scoured every “mention of her name in the press and often trawled Twitter to see what the press, her critics, and her supporters were saying about her,” Rogers claims.

Ultimately, the Slovenian-born first lady didn’t approve of the massive involvement Ivanka, her brothers and their respective spouses had in Trump’s administration.

And yet, Rogers pointed out: “If she ever waged a battle over the issue, it is one she clearly lost: For four years, it was hard to see where the operations of the family business stopped and the Trump administration started,”

Fuelling the popular rumours that Melania and Trump’s marriage is far from wedded bliss, Rogers also alleges that when the former model wasn’t bristling at Ivanka, she was considering her options.

The 53-year-old held regular “meetings with teams of lawyers to examine her assets and attend to matters associated with her pre- and postnuptial agreements with her husband,” Stephanie Grisham, a top aide to the first lady, told Rogers.

These negotiations lasted throughout the Trump presidency and were largely focussed on Melania’s personal finances, rather than how any split might affect their son Barron, according to Grisham.

Melania stands between her son Barron and husband at the funeral of Ivana Trump, Ivanka's mother(Getty Images)

Perhaps inevitably, Melania’s office has denied some of the book’s claims, including that prenuptial details were raised during the FLOTUS’s meetings with her lawyers.

“Mrs. Trump had a successful career before she met her husband and has always had her own businesses and assets,” a spokesperson for Melania told Rogers.

“As an accomplished professional, she frequently meets with her counsel.”

The question that now remains to be asked is, what will happen if Trump is elected president again later this year? A prospect that seems increasingly likely.

Last week, the presumed Republican nominee promised that his wife would make more regular appearances on his campaign trail over the coming months.

But, given her recent – and very notable – absence from major events, we’re all left wondering if she just really doesn’t care anymore.

Or if, indeed, she ever did.

Sign up for our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings

The Conversation (0)