Donald Trump’s various major scandals all seem to be coming to a head at once. The Russia scandal has reached a fever pitch with indictments and plea deals flying. The security clearance scandal is out of control. The emoluments scandal is progressing in court. The one silver lining for Trump is that his salacious affairs have begun taking a back seat, allowing Melania Trump to get out of the spotlight. But that just changed, thanks to Melania’s own corruption scandal, which just exploded.
It was recently reported that a ridiculous amount of money that had been fundraised for the inauguration was funneled to Melania’s friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who has since been working as a White House adviser whose job duties aren’t understood to anyone involved. This was widely interpreted by the public as Melania kicking millions of dollars to her friend, and then giving her friend special access to hang out in the White House despite not having a real job there. We’ve been waiting to see which way this would go, and now we have our answer.
As of this evening the New York Times is reporting that Stephanie Winston Wolkoff has left the building (link). These things are always announced as mutually agreed-upon resignations even if they’re contentious departures or ugly firings, so we have no way of knowing what really happened. But we’ve learned that when the Trumps preemptively shove someone out the door like this, it’s because the scandal is even bigger than has been reported.
We’ve also learned that when the Trumps shove someone out of the White House as a scapegoat, it doesn’t cause the scandal to go away. Instead it causes the scandal to explode. We’ve seen it with the departures of Michael Flynn and others. So while we don’t even know what really happened here, and we don’t know if what went on was illegal or just inappropriate, it’s a safe bet we’re about to find out. Donald and Melania can’t even scapegoat people correctly.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report