Former first lady put her foot down over social gatherings in the midst of coronavirus pandemic
Melania told former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows “no” three times when he asked about an election night soiree, according to Michael Bender’s bombshell book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost, released on Tuesday.
“The constant use of the White House for blatantly political purposes also made her uncomfortable,” writes Mr Bender, a White House reporter for TheWall Street Journal.
Mr Trump’s wife was understandably cautious, following a number of 2020 events at the residence of the president linked to Covid-19 cases.
On 2 October, the former president tested positive for Covid-19 following a 26 September Rose Garden gathering, dubbed a “superspreader event” where there was reportedly little to no social distancing.
Mr Trump was hospitalised for three days while fighting the virus. By 7 October, more than 30 White House staff members and contacts had reportedly contracted Covid, including Melania and the couple’s son Barron.
According to the new political tell-all book, the plan was to hold an election night celebration at the Trump International Hotel, near the White House – but this would have been in breach of Washington DC’s Covid regulations at the time, which strictly stated a cap of 50 guests at events. The White House was exempt from these regulations.
After a Michigan rally, Trump reportedly called Melania from Air Force One to sell the election night party to her. “This is your night – do what you’re going to do,” Melania told her husband, according to the book.
Melania reportedly managed to downsize the event from 1,000 to about 200 guests writes Bender, which made invites more coveted.
A number of White House Christmas parties took place over the holidays. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem wanted to attend on a number of occasions. Melania said: “Fine… you know what? If she wants to get Covid that bad, that’s up to her,” Bender reports.