As first lady, Melania Trump had purview over social events at the White House and, ‘if it was up to her, there would be no White House parties during the pandemic,’ Michael Bender reveals in his new book Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost.
In an excerpt exclusively by DailyMail.com, it’s revealed for the first time how Melania Trump worked to stop the White House for being used for political purposes, a move President Trump was heavily criticized for by Democrats.
For the August Republican National Convention, where Trump accepted a second term as the GOP nominee, Melania ‘slow-walked’ several requests from the campaign to try and stop the event.
Originally scheduled for Charlotte, N.C., President Trump grew furious when the state’s Democratic governor refused to grant them exception to the state’s coronavirus restrictions and threatened to hold the event elsewhere. Trump then moved part of the event to Jacksonville, Fla., but ultimately had to cancel that when COVID cases in the state spiked.
The White House, instead, was used as the backdrop for his political coronation.
Melania Trump gave her convention speech in her newly-renovated White House Rose Garden while President Trump spoke from the South Lawn.
‘The constant use of the White House for blatantly political purposes also made her uncomfortable,’ Bender writes of the former first lady.
President Donald Trump, Melania Trump and Barron Trump on the South Lawn of the White House after Trump accepted nomination for a second term; Melania tried to stop the event from being held at White House, new book reveals
President Donald Trump and Melania Trump on election night at the White House, Melania Trump tried to stop the party from happening, Michael Bender reveals in his new book Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost
Melania Trump told then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (above) ‘no’ three times about the election night party but President Trump called her from Air Force One to convince her; Meadows tested positive for COVID after the event
Melania Trump gets a kiss from President Donald Trump after giving her convention speech in the Rose Garden of the White House
Several events at the White House led to COVID outbreaks among guests and staff. Both Trump and Melania contracted the virus in October of 2020 as did their son Barron.
So when it came to holding a party on election night, Melania Trump told then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ‘no’ three times.
The campaign originally planned to use the Trump International Hotel, just five blocks down the street from the White House, for the big event.
But Washington D.C.’s COVID regulations prevented gatherings of more than 50 people.
And Mayor Muriel Bowser was still angry about Trump’s September Rose Garden event for his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. It became known as a ‘superspreader event’ after guests were diagnosed with COVID after it.
Michael C. Bender’s book ‘Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost’ is out July 13
‘We’ll be talking to our licensee, which is the hotel,’ Bowser warned.
Meadows called Melania to say they needed to hold the event at the White House, which was exempt from DC regulations. If they held it at the hotel, they would face fines or other penalties.
‘I’m not comfortable with it,’ she told him. She told Meadows no.
He, in turn, called Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law who served as a senior counselor in the White House. Kushner brought it to the president.
Trump called Melania from Air Force One as he flew from a rally in Michigan to one in Wisconsin.
‘This is your night—do what you’re going to do,’ Melania told him, the book reports. ‘You’re going to do it anyway.’
Meadows, Trump campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson all tested positive for COVID after the event.
President Trump and Melania Trump tested positive for COVID in October, as did their son Barron.
Melania, meanwhile, spent Election Day in Florida, where she voted after the Trumps’ changed their legal residency from New York to the Sunshine state.
She had been late to join the campaign trail for her husband, holding her first rally for him in October, months after Jill Biden was a regular on the campaign trail.
President Trump had voted early in the state but Melania opted to do it on Election Day – wearing a $3,200 Gucci dress and carrying a $30,000 Hermes bag to do it.
Melania Trump on Election Day in Florida, going to vote in a $3,200 Gucci dress and carrying a $30,000 Hermes bag
Melania Trump didn’t want to host holiday parties at the White House, where guests posted selfies of themselves, many of them not wearing face masks
Kristi Noem at a White House holiday party; she wanted invites to several and wouldn’t take no for an answer
But even after Trump lost the election, Melania Trump couldn’t stop the round of traditional holiday parties that take place in December. Night after night the White House was packed with guests, many of them not wearing face masks as seen in the selfies they posted to social media.
She did successfully cut the invite lists down from 1,000 or so to around 200, Bender reveals in his book, but writes ‘that just seemed to make the invites all the more desirable.’
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem wanted to attend multiple Christmas parties and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
‘Fine,’ Melania said, according to the book. ‘You know what? If she wants to get Covid that bad, that’s up to her.’