The tapes were released by Stephanie Wolkoff, a former advisor to the first lady. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham has questioned if they were edited
The tape was secretly recorded by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend and senior adviser to the first lady who wrote a book about their relationship, 'Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship With the First Lady,' a tell-all about her relationship with and work for Trump which was published in August. Before release, it was reported that Wolkoff had taped her interactions with Trump. The White House dismissed the book as “full of mistruths and paranoia," said The Washington Post.
The voice allegedly Melania's could be heard saying, "I'm working ... my a** off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a f*** about the Christmas stuff and decorations? But I need to do it, right?"
She continued, "OK, and then I do it, and I say that I'm working on Christmas and planning for Christmas, and they said, 'Oh, what about the children that they were separated?' Give me a f****** break. Were they saying anything when Obama did that? I can not go, I was trying to get the kid reunited with the mom. I didn't have a chance -- needs to go through the process and the law."
According to The Guardian, Wolkoff, an events planner from New York high society, fell out with the first lady and left the White House amid investigations of fundraising for Trump’s inauguration. In Feb 2018, The New York Times reported that the inaugural committee paid nearly $26 million to an event planning firm started by Wolkoff. $1.6 million was used to compensate 15 contract workers who worked with Wolkoff as staffers. Wolkoff herself received $500,000 for her work on the inauguration, reported Vanity Fair. Wolkoff left the White House in February 2018 when her contract was terminated. In an interview on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Wolkoff said she had taped the first lady as a form of defense.
The first lady's chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, launched a scathing attack on the release of the recording and questioned whether they were edited, but she didn't deny that the voice on the tape was not that of the first lady. “Secretly taping the first lady and willfully breaking a [non-disclosure agreement] to publish a salacious book is a clear attempt at relevance. The timing of this continues to be suspect – as does this never-ending exercise in self-pity and narcissism. Her only intent was to secretly tape the first lady to peddle herself and her salacious book. There is no way to know if these recordings have been edited, and it’s clear the clips were handpicked and presented with no context. The first lady remains focused on her family and serving our country," Grisham said.