TWSP/UFAA Morning Briefing for Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Washington DC, August 1, 2016 – Where is Melania Trump? This question is being asked in elite parties at the roped-off clubs in Manhattan’s meatpacking district and other haunts of the gotham financier class.  It is widely known among the jet set crowd that Melania never wanted Donald to run for President. It is also widely known that Melania was not a working model but rather a high end escort.

Ms. Trump was last seen on Thursday, July 21 at the close of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, when she sat noticeably scowling through several speeches and then joined Donald Trump and the rest of the family on stage for the balloon drop.

Since then, Melania Trump has not appeared in public, so far as is known.

But now, two wives of wealthy business associates of the GOP nominee have reportedly been overheard during this past weekend as saying that Melania is in a state of apoplectic tantrum, and is suffering from a full-blown nervous breakdown. She has reportedly stated that she does not intend to return to the campaign trail between now and November, and that she intends to remain in virtual seclusion in her Trump Tower apartments. She may also be contemplating flight, according to these unconfirmed reports coming from a well-informed source.

It is speculated that Trump will attempt to hide Melania’s mental breakdown and rejection of campaigning from the media and the public for as long as possible. Whether it will be feasible for Trump to maintain this smokescreen all the way to November 8 is highly questionable. Melania’s condition is already compounding Trump’s stress during the arduous presidential campaign. The two wives of Trump cronies may be described as denizens of the New York Post “Page Six” society circles, according to a knowledgeable observer.

According to this report, Melania Trump is terrified about possible revelations involving her past activities, which are widely known to fellow Manhattan insiders, but are largely concealed from the general public. It is alleged that Melania did not work with any regularity as a model, much less a supermodel, before she knew Trump, but was described by the sources as a high end escort. Melania is said to be most afraid that some of her former clients will now come forward and implicate her as a luxury escort.

Fear of embarrassing revelations is reported to be felt by both Trumps. This is partly because a group of well-connected billionaires have turned against Trump in public. This week, Warren Buffett of Omaha, Nebraska has campaigned with Hillary Clinton. Texas billionaire Mark Cuban, the owner of important sports franchises, has done the same, mounting strong attacks on Trump. Reportedly most disturbing to Trump has been the Democratic convention speech of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is a multibillionaire capable of buying Trump several times over, even if Trump’s wealth is really what he claims it is. Bloomberg’s attack on the GOP nominee as a con artist who made his money thanks to a $1 million check from father Fred has shocked Trump. With key billionaires turning on him, Trump apparently feels more vulnerable to attacks of all sorts. This mental instability may explain why Trump chose not to campaign this past weekend, just after the close of the Democratic convention. It may also explain the extraordinary energy invested by an increasingly erratic Trump in his feud with the bereaved Khizr Khan family, in his clashes with Fire Marshalls in various locations, and in other futile and counter-productive exercises.11

On the Friday after the Democratic convention, Trump vented his rage at a number of the DNC speakers:

‘Donald Trump, after hearing speeches at the Democratic convention this week, said Thursday he wanted to "hit a number of those speakers so hard, their heads would spin." "They'd never recover," he said. Donald Trump, after hearing speeches at the Democratic convention this week, said Thursday he wanted to "hit a number of those speakers so hard, their heads would spin." "They'd never recover," he said.’

The Republican nominee zoomed in on one speaker especially, though he didn't mention his name."I was going to hit one guy in particular, a very little guy," Trump said to laughs at a campaign rally in Davenport, Iowa. "I was going to hit this guy so hard his head would spin, he wouldn't know what the hell happened." Trump said this individual "came out of nowhere" and had done work with Trump in the past. "He made deals with me. 'Will you help me with this? Would you make this deal and solve the problem?' I solved the problem," Trump said.’1

The target of Trump’s invective appears to be former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whom Trump calls “Little Mike.” Bloomberg was by most accounts the richest speaker at the DNC, making his opinion the most important from Trump’s point of view.2

Allegations about Melania are scattered across the internet.3

The rapper 50 Cent has also made critical observations about Ms. Trump’s past as a “porn star.”4 Certain Twitter feeds have also discussed Melania as a professional “service provider.”5

This past week, Melania’s website was removed from the internet. This website had included her biography, which alleged that she had received an academic degree from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Fact checkers had examined this claim and concluded it was false, thus adding even more to Melania’s acute post-Cleveland embarrassment. But this may not be the main reason the website has been scrubbed. It may reflect a desire to hide certain details in her biography. Or, it may reflect a general desire to retreat from the public eye for the months ahead, or for the duration of the election campaign.6

Melania Trump, often described as an “intensely private person,” had long resisted campaign activity, and had sought to remain in the background of her husband’s campaign. In particular, she tried to avoid the role assigned her by Trump in giving a featured speech on July 18, the first evening of the Republican convention in Cleveland. Trump had allegedly assured her that he would make her speech and her pre-speech preparation the top staffing priority of his campaign. But, in the event, the text Melania was given to read by a staffer loyal to Trump’s campaign czar Paul Manafort’s contained paragraphs lifted virtually verbatim from Michelle Obama’s Democratic convention speech of summer 2008.

James Carville has speculated that this was a deliberate operation, with the two paragraphs having been inserted into Melania’s speech by an anti-Trump Republican operative, who then tipped off the press to make sure than Melania was caught. But this sabotage could have been prevented by simple software, which the Manafort staff failed to provide.

Thus, assurances from Trump proved worthless to Melania, who was humiliated and mortified by the firestorm of plagiarism accusations. One commentator described the aftermath of Melania’s Cleveland convention speech as a make or break moment in their marriage.

It was clear to many that the supposedly competent Manafort had let Melania down, and some thought he should be fired, especially since Manafort dodged all responsibility and eagerly threw Ms. Trump under the bus in many interviews. But Trump, to save such organization as he has, came up with a cowardly compromise solution which solved nothing, scapegoating a humble staff writer to protect Manafort while throwing a sop to Melania, who was relieved from any responsibility for having purloined Michelle Obama’s rhetoric.

Michael Gross, the author of Model, a widely-read account of the fashion industry, is emphatic that Melania Knauss Trump was never a supermodel, whatever claims Donald Trump may make today. Gross describes the pattern of Trump’s activities in those years:

‘The accusation of plagiarism against Melania Knauss Trump (or her anonymous speechwriters) has put the former model on the media griddle. As the author of Model, a book on the model business, and now Focus, on fashion photographers, I’ve fielded several calls today about the third Mrs. Trump’s career as an alleged supermodel—and disappointed the questioners, I’m afraid, by firmly dismissing it. Knauss was simply one of the endless parade of pretty but fungible women who passed through the modeling business making hardly a mark, until she turned up at the end of the long line of actress-model-whatevers who’ve served as arm candy for Donald J. Trump over his 40 years in the public eye. Dating and then marrying Trump transformed Melania into a supermodel-of-sorts if you consider her professional peak, a near-nude appearance on the cover of British GQ, a mark of distinction. Far more interesting—and relevant to the current political debate, where Bill Clinton’s decades-old sexual improprieties are now being regurgitated by his wife’s enemies—is Trump’s history as what’s commonly referred to as a model-f****r.  Before his first marriage, Trump told me in an interview for my book, My Generation, he indulged in consequence-free promiscuity—or “my second business,” as he put it—mostly with women he met at Le Club, an East Side private nightclub known for privileged debauchery. “You had drugs, women and booze all over the … place.” In 1977, though, Trump married Ivana Winklmayr, a “model” from Czechoslovakia, shortly after she came to New York from Montreal, where she’d come to promote the 1976 Olympic Games in Canada. That glamorous modeling job was the equivalent of standing in a bikini next to a new car at an auto show….closest encounters with Vogue happened at newsstands.“7

Gross also writes about Trump Model Management, the modeling agency which continues in business. The formula here was to use the presence of famous models of the previous generation, known as the ‘legends division,’ to re-assure younger recruits, who might discover that this company was more dating service than model agency.

‘…Trump teamed up with Tommaso Buti, one of a pair of Italian entrepreneur brothers behind the long-defunct Hard Rock-clone chain of beaneries, The Fashion Cafe, to open Trump International Models & Talent, a modeling agency. In 1999, actor Leonardo di Caprio, by then already a noted modelizer himself, was quoted in the Times of London memorably describing Trump’s poser business as “one-stop date-shopping.”8

Trump soon made parties featuring models and attended by his rich associates into an integral part of his business practices. Trump provided young women, and so he was always in demand:

‘ … meet-and-greet parties Trump threw in a suite at New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel during his tenure as its owner, where his wealthy friends, high-rollers from his Atlantic City casinos, and potential Trump condominium buyers could meet models wrangled for him by cooperative owners of lesser agencies.’9

As part of the atmospherics of Melania’s reported mental breakdown, the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post has chosen to publish nude photos of Melania for two separate issues in recent days. On July 30, the Post dedicated its front page to a nude photo of Melania with the headline “THE OGLE OFFICE.” On August 1, this paper featured a prurient photo of a naked Melania from the middle nineties which shows her embracing another nude model, with the headline “MENAGE À TRUMP.” In one of the photos, Melania brandishes a whip.

Included in the article is a comment from Trump: ‘Asked about the photos, Donald Trump said: “Melania was one of the most successful models, and she did many photo shoots, including for covers and major magazines. This was a picture taken for a European magazine prior to my knowing Melania. In Europe, pictures like this are very fashionable and common.”’10 That is the Trump spin, but does it make any sense?

Trump, we can see, is determined to use any occasion to shore up the myth that Melania was at some point a supermodel. As we have just learned from Michael Gross, there is almost nothing to back up this claim. Melania may have found some work as a commercial model in Slovenia, in western Europe and a couple of campaigns in New York City, but she never made it as a working model. The New York Post pictures depict Melania on beds, wearing underwear, cavorting with another woman, and displaying sado-masochistic paraphernalia. Could such pictures be drawn from the website or catalogue of an escort service, where the wealthy customers get to see whom they will be meeting? When Trump’s friend Buti fled to Italy to escape US charges of conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering, Donald took over the operation.

By contrast, an internet search reveals no significant photos of Melania as a high-fashion, haute couture, runway model in her pre-Trump years. Her work place was evidently not the catwalk, but more obscure places. It was only after she became associated with Trump and the power of his billions that Melania was able to attain the cover of British GQ magazine and a few other prestigious publications, all related to Donald Trump’s influence.

The question remains: where is Melania Trump? If there are any honest reporters, they should be peppering Trump with questions about her whereabouts and her welfare.

  3. see also the critique of Trump offered by the Bruce Montalvo show