Melania Trump parts ways with adviser amid backlash over inaugural contract

  • Melania Trump parts ways with adviser amid backlash over inaugural contract

Melania Trump parts ways with adviser amid backlash over inaugural contract

First lady Melania Trump's NY friend, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, has been cut loose from her team as an unpaid adviser after controversy arose over the $26 million her firm received from the presidential inaugural committee.

In a statement to the Times, Ms Winston Wolkoff defended her work on the inauguration and pushed back at the idea that her contract was ended in response to recent headlines.

Ms Wolkoff, 47, was Mrs Trump's first hire in her new role and had been working as an unpaid senior adviser to the office of the First Lady since Mr Trump's election.

She said she expects to still be a trusted source for advice and support on an informal basis.

The first lady's spokeswoman said Melania "had no involvement" with the inaugural committee.

Wolkoff, who was known for helping Vogue editor Anna Wintour plan the annual Met Gala, has been a friend to the first lady, a former fashion model, for years, and was one of the first people Mrs. Trump turned to after Donald Trump was elected.

Winston Wolkoff said news coverage of her work was "completely unfair", but she did not specify any errors.

Melania Trump parts ways with adviser amid backlash over inaugural contract

Inauguration committee tax documents revealed last week showed WIS Media Partners, a company based in Marina Del Ray, California, and founded by Wolkoff, received $25,843,509 for "event production services".

Melania Trump, who recently traveled with her husband to Florida to meet with two victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was light on details but voiced a willingness to address school safety and the opioid epidemic.

It retained $2 million "for all of its consulting and creative services, which was divided among our staff of 15 members (including myself)", she said in the email.

He'd promised the committee would be frugal for a "workmanlike" inauguration, donating leftover cash to charity.

Melania Trump had introduced Winston Wolkoff to Barrack, according to a person familiar with the connection.

Winston Wolkoff often invoked her friendship with Melania Trump when talking with officials on the Trump transition team and then in the East Wing, according to three people with direct knowledge of her interactions.

It was not clear whether Wolkoff will remain in contact with Trump as a friend and unofficial adviser. President Trump didn't respond to the comment.