NEW YORK – Things are getting a little like “Real Housewives” around the White House.
In one of the stranger sideshows to his presidency, President Donald Trump’s first and third wives, Ivana and Melania, respectively, on Monday had a very public war of words.
Ivana Trump boasted to ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she has a “direct number” to the White House, and talks to her ex-husband about once every two weeks.
“I don’t really want to call him there, because Melania is there,” she said. “I don’t want to cause any kind of jealousy or something like that, because I’m basically first Trump wife. OK? I’m first lady.”
The 68-year-old said she has no desire to be in Washington, and even turned down an ambassadorship to the Czech Republic offered by the president because she loves her “freedom.”
Melania Trump, through her spokeswoman, slammed Ivana’s remarks as “attention-seeking and self-serving noise.”
“Mrs. Trump has made the White House a home for Barron and the President. She loves living in Washington, D.C., and is honored by her role as first lady of the United States,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, said in a statement to CNN.
“She plans to use her title and role to help children, not sell books,” Grisham added. “There is clearly no substance to this statement from an ex, this is unfortunately only attention-seeking and self-serving noise.”
Ivana was promoting her new memoir “Raising Trump” in which she recounts growing up in communist Czechoslovakia and claims responsibility for raising the former couple’s three children: Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka.
She married Donald Trump in 1977 and divorced him in 1992 following his highly publicized affair with Marla Maples, his second wife.
“I don’t talk about her. She’s a showgirl,” Ivana told CBS’ “Sunday Morning.” “Never achieve anything in her life.”
The feud between Ivana and Maples is nothing new, and she told ABC that she had forgiven her ex but not Maples.
“I never accepted her apology,” Ivana said. “She ruined my family and my marriage.”
As for Trump’s infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape in which he bragged about groping women, Ivana said she has “not really” spoken to him about it. “He was not really disrespectful. He just jokes,” Ivana told ABC.
But she feels for Melania Trump. “I think for her to be in Washington must be terrible,” said Ivana Trump. “It’s better her than me. I would hate Washington.”
Hating Washington, however, would not preclude her ability to rule it with an iron fist, if she had the inclination, the former Mrs. Trump noted.
“Would I straighten up the White House in 14 days? Absolutely. Can I give the speech for 45 minutes without a teleprompter? Absolutely. Can I read a contract? Can I negotiate? Can I entertain? Absolutely. But I would not really like to be there. I like my freedom,” Ivana Trump said Monday on “Good Morning America.”
The Washington Post and the New York Daily News contributed to this report.