“Everybody was saying, 'You should go upstairs and see Melania. Why don't you go upstairs now and see Melania?' And he was not rushing to go up there."

Jun 17, 2020 @ 11:52 am
Advertisement

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mary Jordan’s new biography about Melania Trump, The Art of Her Deal, attempts to paint a clearer portrait of the elusive First Lady.

The biography, which draws on more than 100 interviews, goes behind the scenes of a pivotal moment in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign: when the infamous Access Hollywood tape was leaked.

In said tape, recorded in 2005 (while Melania was pregnant with Barron), America’s future leader brags to Billy Bush about how his fame has made sexually assaulting women easier for him. "I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p—. You can do anything.”

The video emerged roughly one month ahead of the 2016 election, and according to those present when Trump and his aides watched the footage for the first time, the future president “turned red; red was coming up his neck to his ears.” The aforementioned source told Jordan “I think he understood early on that it was going to create ramifications for him at home, too.’"

Former Governor Chris Christie drew a similar conclusion. "She was the elephant not in the room," he told Jordan in reference to Melania.

“Everybody was saying, 'You should go upstairs and see Melania. Why don't you go upstairs now and see Melania?' And he was not rushing to go up there," Christie continued. "I said to him, 'It ain't going to get any easier. The longer you wait, it's not going to get any easier.’”

According to Jordan’s account, Trump went to see his wife two hours later. And while she showed her “fury quietly and deliberately,” it seemed she was more upset about the future of the campaign.

"Now you could lose," Melania reportedly told her husband. "You could have blown this for us.”

Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Contrary to the existing narrative of Melania’s indifference to her husband’s presidential aspirations, Jordan writes that "Melania was a believer.”

"Now she told him his mouth had jeopardized their chance at the White House. Trump apologized. He said he didn't mean any of that; it was just his schtick. She left him to stew and retreated to her own bedroom.”

She reportedly refused to do a joint TV appearance, instead deciding to release her own statement. "I am not going to sit here and pretend that I don't have an opinion," she said, according to Christie.

The statement, released a day after the video surfaced, read: “The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me. This does not represent the man that I know. He has the heart and mind of a leader. I hope people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation and the world.”

In her book, Jordan highlights the oft-overlooked similarities between the two Trumps. "As I reconstructed her journey, I learned that Melania has strengths her husband lacks, but she also shares many of the qualities that landed him in the Oval Office. In that sense Melania is like her husband," she wrote. "They are both independent, ambitious, image-conscious, unsentimental, and wary of those outside their inner circle. They are both fighters and survivors and prize loyalty over almost all else."