The headlines are screaming "Real Housewives of the White House" over Ivana and Melania Trump's strange spat over who is the "real" first lady. But in many ways, that's burying the lede: Like her daughter Ivanka, Ivana knows how to play the media to her own ends.
In case you missed it, Ivana, President Trump's first wife and the mother of his three eldest children, has been making waves while promoting her new book Raising Trump on ABC News on Monday morning. During the interview, she was asked about her relationship with POTUS.
"I have the direct number to White House but I don't really want to call him there because Melania is there and I don't really want to cause any kind of jealousy or something like that because I'm basically first Trump wife," she said.
"I'm first lady, OK?" she added while laughing.
Just a day earlier Ivana told CBS' Sunday Morning that she still had a good relationship with her ex-husband and that she got along with first lady Melania Trump. In fact, she said she had a good relationship with Melania and not with President Trump's second wife Marla Maples because "one is nobody, and the other one is first lady." (There's probably another reason: Trump's affair with Maples led to him divorcing Ivana in 1992.)
But acknowledging Melania's role in that earlier interview didn't seem to matter. Whether she was in on Ivana's publicity stunt or simply took the bait, the first lady deployed her communications director, Stephanie Grisham, with a sharply-worded statement.
"Mrs. Trump has made the White House a home for Barron and the President. She loves living in Washington, DC, and is honored by her role as first lady of the United States. She plans to use her title and role to help children, not sell books," Grisham said, and added, "There is clearly no substance to this statement from an ex, this is unfortunately only attention-seeking and self-serving noise."
It should be noted that while Melania went after Ivana because of her comments, she has remained silent when it's been suggested that her stepdaughter Ivanka acts as if her role is that of the first lady. (Fun fact: Ivana also suggested in her book that Ivanka could run for president in 15 years.)
Ivana is not the first lady, but she sure knows how to sell a book: As of press time, Raising Trump was #1 on Amazon's Rich & Famous biographies category. And if that proves anything, it's that she's certainly a Trump.