First lady Melania Trump eschewed the traditional South Lawn couple’s walk to Marine One on Friday amid another adultery allegation scandal, opting instead to drive separately ahead of President Donald Trump.
“With her schedule it was easier to meet him on the plane,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, said in a statement.
Melania Trump does plan to accompany her husband when he visits with victims of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, a White House official told CNN.
Earlier Friday, The New Yorker published a report based on a handwritten account from Karen McDougal who detailed her alleged affair with Donald Trump for nine months from June 2006 to April 2007, when Trump was two years into his marriage with Melania Trump. The document was provided to The New Yorker by McDougal’s friend, but she confirmed to the magazine that the handwriting in the document is hers.
A White House spokesperson denied the affair in a statement to the magazine.
“This is an old story that is just more fake news. The President says he never had a relationship with McDougal,” the spokesperson said.
This isn’t the first break with tradition the first lady has showed in the wake of allegations of her husband’s indiscretions. She drove separately from the President to the US Capitol to attend the State of the Union address on January 30.
The White House said the unusual move was so she could attend a reception with the guests joining her in the first lady’s box and connect with them on a more personal level.
But it marked her first public event after The Wall Street Journal first reported a payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had an affair with Trump in 2006, four months after Melania Trump gave birth to the couple’s only son, Barron.
The President has denied the affair took place. But The Wall Street Journal reported Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to keep it covered up. Cohen also released a statement on behalf of Daniels calling the report “absolutely false.”
Cohen has admitted paying her the money out of his own pocket, however.
Melania Trump was reportedly “blindsided” by the reports of the payoff and “furious” with the President, two people close to the couple told The New York Times.