Politics - News Analysis

It Turns Out Melania and Ivanka Trump Hate Each Other Much More Than Was Previously Reported

Melania Trump and Ivanka have long had an acrimonious relationship. I’m guessing it’s been this way from the very beginning, when Melania married her father, Donald Trump in January 2005. The situation was never more fraught with more tension than during Trump’s years in the White House. During this time Melania fought constantly with Ivanka — stopping only to renegotiate her pre- and post-nuptial agreements with her husband, according to a new book.

The two women waged a four-year “internal power struggle” over who was going to fill the role of first lady. Which is, well, weird. But that’s the Trump family for you. Ivanka tried to step in because Melania didn’t move into the Executive Mansion at the beginning of Donald Trump’s term. That’s according to The New York Post’s viewing of Katie Rogers’ forthcoming book American Woman: The Transformation of the Modern First Lady, From Hillary Clinton to Jill Biden. 

Ivanka apparently wanted to revamp the White House’s East Wing because Melania remained in New York for a while so that her son Barron could wrap up his school year. She wanted to largely eliminate the first lady’s position by moving into her quarters so that it would be “geared to serving the entire First Family, not just the First Lady,” notes Rogers, a New York Times White House reporter.

Early on, President Trump encouraged Ivanka to take on the role alongside Melania, telling reporters that Ivanka would be “helping her and working with her” as she carried out her first lady duties.

“She 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 wrote.

That may have been the understatement of the year. Melania was definitely not having it, and thus began the battle with her stepdaughter, whom she dubbed “The Princess.”

The two women typically gave each other a wide berth even as they worked closely with Trump, where Ivanka worked as an unpaid adviser in dear old Dad’s West Wing. And Melania’s most notorious slip-up occurred because of her intense dislike of Ivanka. Former administration officials say that Melania was trying to send a message to her stepdaughter when she wore that notorious “I really don’t care, do you?” jacket when she visited detained migrant children at the southern border.

Melania Trump wore a jacket that read “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” on her way to visit a child detention center in South Texas. It was a disgusting mistake that she never shook. Photo – Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

I think this had to be the epitome of bad timing because most of us naturally assumed she was making a pointed statement about migrant children. However, according to Rogers’ book, Ivanka and Melania “were locked in a quiet competition for press coverage.”

Melania was completely obsessed with keeping an eye on her public, meticulously scouring 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.” She also believed it was inappropriate for Ivanka and her brothers, as well as everyone’s spouses, to be so heavily entrenched in the White House.

“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,” Rogers wrote.

When she wasn’t embroiled in all these silly disputes with her stepdaughter, Melania was holding “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, who served as a top aide to the first lady, told Rogers. But those negotiations didn’t revolve around Barron, according to Rogers. Instead, Melania was deeply focused on her own financial situation.

“I know that she had very separate finances that she watched very carefully, and she had her own lawyers that she met with a good amount,” Grisham said.

Ivanka, of course, has also been monitoring her own financial situation. She and her husband, Jared Kushner hauled in $640 million. Maybe that’s one of the worst things about having so much worth: you’re so focused on that it means you’re not focused on the real world around you. This is forged by greed and it’s likely one of the biggest reasons Ivanka and Melania played this game. Each had to guard their own stash, so it left them with little time to do anything else remotely human.

meet the author

Megan has lived in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida and she currently lives in Central America. Living in these places has informed her writing on politics, science, and history. She is currently owned by 15 cats and 3 dogs and regularly owns Trump supporters when she has the opportunity. She can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GaiaLibra and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/politicalsaurus


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