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Melania Trump takes aim at critics and migrant children in secret audio recordings

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First Lady Melania Trump downplayed her husband, President Trump's family separation policy and complained about Christmas planning in an expletive-filled secret recording aired by CNN

The leaked audio from June 2018 was secretly recorded by Mrs. Trump's former senior adviser and friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. In the audio, Trump discusses her frustration with the criticism of the family separation policy and also complains about preparing for Christmas at the White House, a duty traditionally carried out by the first lady. CBS News has not independently verified the recordings. 

"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 said. 

"OK, and then I do it and I say that I'm working on Christmas and planning for the Christmas and they said, 'Oh, what about the children that they were separated?" she added. "Give me a f****** break. Were they were saying anything when Obama did that? I can not go, I was trying get the kid reunited with the mom. I didn't have a chance -- needs to go through the process and through the law."

Family separations under former president Barack Obama were rare and happened when immigration officials determined parents posed a risk to their children. During Mr. Trump's "zero tolerance" policy, thousands of parents and children who crossed the border illegally were separated over a span of months, but the practice was discontinued after massive public outcry and a federal judge ruling. In 2018, during a trip to a detention center housing immigrant children in Texas, Mrs. Trump prompted backlash after she wore a green jacket that read: "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?"

Wolkoff, the woman who made the recordings, told CNN the jacket was a "publicity stunt." 

"It was to garner the attention of the press, to make sure everyone was aware that Melania was going to the border," she said.

In a separate recording, Mrs. Trump voices support for the treatment of children at Border Patrol detention centers, suggesting the facilities were better than what they had at home. The first lady discussed conditions migrant children faced in the U.S. after being brought in by "coyotes."

"The kids, they say, 'Wow I will have my own bed? I will sleep on the bed? I will have a cabinet for my clothes?' It's so sad to hear it, but they didn't have that in their own countries, they sleep on the floor," she said. "They are taken care of nicely there. But you know, yeah, they are not with parents, it's sad. But when they come here alone or with coyotes or illegally, you know, you need to do something."

She also claimed that migrants looking to gain entry in the U.S. were being coached to say certain things.

"Some of them are using that lines, that they're not professional, but they're teached by other people – what to say to come over and to, you know, to let them to to stay here," Trump said. 

Wolkoff released a book last month about her relationship with the first lady called "Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady," which is published by Simon and Schuster, part of the ViacomCBS.  

In a statement to CBS News, the first lady's chief of staff Stephanie Grisham criticized the recordings by Wolkoff. 

"Her only intent was to secretly tape the First Lady in order to peddle herself and her salacious book," Grisham said. "There is no way to know if these recordings have been edited and it's clear the clips were hand-picked and presented with no context. The First Lady remains focused on her family and serving our country."

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