As headline after headline spread Friday about a new biography on First Lady Melania Trump, the White House responded with a brief, disdainful dismissal.
“Yet another book about Mrs. Trump with false information and sources,” said Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s spokeswoman and chief of staff. “This book belongs in the fiction genre.”
Grisham was referring to The Art of Her Deal, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Mary Jordan and, according to the publisher, based on more than 100 interviews.
Details of the book were first reported by the Post on Friday morning, particularly what Jordan describes as the first lady’s successful efforts to renegotiate her prenuptial agreement with President Donald Trump in the wake of his 2016 election win.
The original agreement, according to Jordan, was not very good and the first lady’s focus was on “taking care of Barron,” the young son she shares with the president.
Mrs. Trump, 50, “wanted proof in writing that when it came to financial opportunities and inheritance, Barron would be treated as more of an equal to Trump’s oldest three children,” Jordan writes, according to the Post. The first lady and Barron’s pending move to the White House from New York City, to join President Trump, was used as leverage.
The Art of Her Deal digs into Mrs. Trump’s earlier life as well, according to the Post, and Jordan writes skeptically of some parts of the first lady’s background including her assertions about her education and how she first met the 73-year-old president.
The book publisher promises yet other new details, according to a press release: “While her public image is of an aloof woman floating above the political gamesmanship … behind the scenes Melania Trump is not only part of President Trump’s inner circle, but for some key decisions she has been his single most influential adviser.”
In one scene recounted early in the book, according to the publisher, Mrs. Trump says that she wanted to put out a statement following the leaked Access Hollywood tape that caught her husband bragging about touching women’s genitals.
“I am not going to sit here and pretend that I don’t have an opinion,” she said. “I have an opinion and people need to know my opinion.”
Some of the reporting in Jordan’s book echoes a biography last year of the first lady by CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett.
Bennett had cooperation from Mrs. Trump’s office, though they were displeased by the end result. Then, as now, her spokeswoman bit back.
“Mrs. Trump is surprised at Kate Bennett’s reporting,” Grisham told PEOPLE in a statement at the time about Free, Melania.
“Our office worked with Kate in good faith on her book, and thought she would do an honest job. Sadly, it includes many false details and opinions, showing Ms. Bennett spoke to many anonymous people who don’t know the First Lady,” Grisham said. “It continues to be disappointing when people, especially journalists, write books with false information just to profit off the First Family.”