Saturday 20 October 2018

Melania 'runs White House from behind scenes', claims book

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump smile as they arrive for an Easter service in Palm Beach, Florida. Photo: Reuters
US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump smile as they arrive for an Easter service in Palm Beach, Florida. Photo: Reuters

Julie Allen

Melania Trump, America's first lady, is a "very powerful behind the scenes force" within the White House and should be credited for getting Donald Trump to run for president, according to a new book on the administration.

Ronald Kessler, the author of 'The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game', writes she has a "tremendous impact on policy and strategy".

Mr Kessler also believes their marriage, rocked by allegations of Mr Trump's infidelity, will stand the test of time. "She got him to run, he was pussy-footing around about running and she said you have to declare your candidacy and that's what happened and he went up in the polls," Mr Kessler said.

"Beyond that she will disagree with him, she will sit in, in meetings with cabinet officers and she will disagree with Trump - her judgment is spectacular."

Mr Kessler quoted from an interview he carried out with Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary: "She is a very powerful behind-the-scenes force.

"I don't think people fully recognise how influential she is. She always seems to have the pulse on the right move and the right person at the right time. When she weighs in, it's always spot on."

The book, based on hours of interviews with high level West Wing staff and the president himself, also reveals Mr Trump was regularly approached by eligible billionaires desperate to go on a date with Hope Hicks, his former communications director.

Mr Kessler writes: "Donald Trump has told friends that billionaires are constantly asking him to fix them up with Hicks. Trump says he refuses."

Miss Hicks left the administration last week having worked for Mr Trump since the start of his campaign.

Meanwhile, he details the president's concerns with the roles of his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who he described as "Teflon aides" because he believed Mr Trump would never fire them.

He wrote that the couple have been behind some of the worst decisions made by the administration and that they had "no understanding" of the basic fundamentals of politics.

The book claims the pair pushed for the firing of James Comey and brought in special counsel Robert Mueller.

According to the author, after once watching Mr Kushner on TV, Mr Trump said: "Look at Jared, he looks like a little boy, like a child."

Irish Independent

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