First Lady Melania Trump appeared amazed at Vogue magazine's decision to have Beyoncé on the cover of its September 2018 issue and provide her editorial input, according to a secretly taped phone call shared with NBC News.
"Anna gave Beyoncé the September edition of the Vogue cover – complete, complete, complete -" Trump said in a conversation taped by then-girlfriend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff in July 2018.
"She hired a black photographer," she says. "And it's the first black photographer to ever do a cover for Vogue."
The statement came after Trump and Winston Wolkoff, her former friend and advisor who had previously spent a decade on Vogue, discussed the departure of the top editors at the venerable fashion magazine.
The September 2018 issue made history as the first to select a black photographer to photograph its cover star. Beyoncé said at the time that she saw the subject as an opportunity to give more options to black artists like cover photographer Tyler Mitchell.
Vogue described the cover as "really a collaborative effort".
"When Vogue Beyoncé suggested photographer Tyler Mitchell, the star immediately accepted the opportunity to work with this young artist," said the magazine at the time.
In a statement, Trump's spokeswoman attacked Winston Wolkoff, who wrote the book "Melania and I: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady," but did not directly address the comments on Beyoncé.
"Her narcissism knows no bounds, this woman is a scam," said spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham. "These audio tapes are handpicked about nonsense and presented out of context. Shame on them for this continued attempt at character assassination and shame on NBC to cover up that gossip."
A Beyoncé spokesman declined to comment.
BILD: Beyonce on the cover of Vogue (Vogue)
Trump's remarks on the Beyoncé cover were made in one of six recorded phone calls that lasted more than six hours and took place from February to July 2018. Winston Wolkoff began recording her calls to Trump after she was asked to leave the White House under control of the expenses of the Presidential Committee she was working on.
The story goes on
Trump has maintained a carefully guarded personality since taking on the role of first lady, revealing little about her personal beliefs, and largely staying out of the political struggle.
But in the previously unknown recorded phone calls, it sounds remarkably similar at times to President Donald Trump.
She calls the press "stupid", describes Democrats as "bad" and describes her husband as "the most popular Republican president of all time".
She also talks about a range of other topics, from "Princess" Ivanka to the Steele dossier to her television news.
She speaks extensively with Winston Wolkoff about how she pays close attention to media coverage to keep up with what's going on, and how she doesn't just stay "in the bubble of Fox".
"I watch CNN. I watch MSNBC," Trump says before referring to the president. "Hello. And then they said, 'Oh, he got angry about my TV.' Hello. I'll watch what I want."
She laughs, then adds, "Of course I'll have CNN and MSNBC and all. I watch what I want. And people think, 'Oh poor Melania. Oh, he tells her what to see. & # 39; No, he isn't. "
But she also describes the feeling of being attacked by the media and, like her husband, complains that she rarely gets cheap coverage.
She once refers to a trip to the US border with Mexico in June 2018 to visit imprisoned migrant children who have been separated from their parents. Trump notes that her predecessor Michelle Obama did not take such a trip.
"When did the previous first lady go to the border and visit her?" Asks Trump. "Never."
"I asked," Has she ever left? "" She continues. "You said like no. No records."
The jacket that Trump wore during their trip to the Texas detention center – with the slogan "I really don't care. Do you?" – Conducted a full audit at that time.
Trump's fashion choice was a frequent topic of conversation between the two women. She expresses her confusion over the efforts of some to make sense of the clothes she has chosen. During a phone call, she mocked a reporter who suggested she wore a pink designer dress in honor of gay pride.
"They said," She wore this dress because she hadn't said anything about the gay parade on Sunday, but she wore it on Monday to nod the gays, "says Trump.
"Are you kidding?" She adds. "It never crossed my mind."
Trump also reflects comparisons with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the former first lady known for her style.
"We're such a different kind of woman," says Trump. "If you really think about it, right? She was thin, small, tiny. I'm not like that."
David Wolkoff, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania Trump and Donald Trump (Billy Farrell / Patrick McMullan via Getty Image File)
The taped conversations took place over five months as several Donald Trump employees were involved in the Special Envoy's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 elections.
In one of the recorded calls, Melania Trump expresses sympathy for Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager who was eventually sentenced to seven years in prison for a number of crimes including witness manipulation, tax fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
"See how unfair it is for Manafort," she told Winston Wolkoff in June 2018.
She also described watching the White House news as Robert Mueller's investigation gained momentum.
"We don't know who you're looking into because you're so calm and then suddenly one day you come out," she says.
She also discussed the dossier of Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent whose research into Donald Trump-Russia links was funded by Democrats.
The dossier that BuzzFed released in 2017 contained brutal but unconfirmed allegations against the president.
"It's all fiction," said Melania Trump when he called. "It's all BS."
The records suggest that Melania Trump rarely interacts with Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and senior advisor. In her book, Winston Wolkoff said Melania Trump called Ivanka Trump a "princess".
On one of the recorded calls, Winston Wolkoff asks, "How is Princess doing?"
"I don't know. I don't know," replied Trump.
She points to an article in the New York Times that says Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner are assuming extended roles in the White House.
Trump says she doesn't waste her time meeting the couple because they always do things "their own way".
"You wouldn't do what I said," she says. "I'm just wasting my energy. What for?"
The conversation about Vogue continued during the call in July 2018. Trump described her shock over the magazine's decision to feature Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who received $ 130,000 for keeping silent about a sexual encounter she had with Donald Trump in 2006.
In a recording that was first heard on the podcast of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, Melania Trump describes Daniels as "the porn whore".
Trump, a former model, goes on to say that she would never be selected to appear on the cover of the coveted September issue of the magazine.
"You'd never do it," she tells Winston Wolkoff, a former Vogue Special Events director who planned the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute gala and later served as the founding fashion director for the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Trump also says she turned down an opportunity to stand out in the magazine.
“I don't give an f — about Vogue,” she says.
Winston Wolkoff, who helped plan the 2017 Trump opening ceremony, left the White House in 2018 to scrutinize spending on the event. Winston Wolkoff said she started taping the talks after Melania failed to offer public support to Trump after reports indicating she had made tremendous profits from the events.
"The tapes were primarily for my protection and safety," Winston Wolkoff told NBC News. "They became my insurance policy so no one could disprove the truth."
Winston Wolkoff said that she made a personal appeal to Trump to defend her, but that Trump refused, citing a "possible investigation" by the president's opening committee.
The inauguration expense was later the subject of investigations by Muller and federal attorneys in New York, and it was the subject of a lawsuit by the Washington, D.C. Attorney General.
"Instead of making a statement on my behalf, it was complicit in the government's decision to scapegoat me for the inexplicable and excessive spending of the $ 107 million," said Winston Wolkoff. "At that point it was painfully clear that she was no longer my girlfriend, so I recorded the conversations I had with Melania."
Winston Wolkoff added, "I had nothing to do with inaugural donations, and I had no access, jurisdiction or authority over inaugural payments. I have repeatedly raised concerns about the financial management of the Inaugural Committee."
Around $ 26 million went through a company in which Winston Wolkoff was involved. The vast majority of the money went to another provider to pay for the live broadcast of multiple inaugural events and other expenses.
"I had no discretion over the budget," she said. "I was not authorized to sign checks on behalf of the company."
Last week the Justice Department sued Winston Wolkoff for breaking a confidentiality agreement she signed while working at the White House. Winston Wolkoff has said she has the right to defend herself against "defamatory lies".
In one of the recordings made after Winston Wolkoff left the White House, Melania Trump said to her, "Don't be so dramatic. You weren't fired. That came about for political reasons."