WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Melania Trump made it clear Monday (Oct 9) that she may be President Donald Trump's third wife but is the only "first lady".
Her response was swift and certain Monday after Ivana Trump, the president's first wife, laid claim to the title, perhaps playfully.
While promoting her new book, Raising Trump, Ivana Trump, who was married to the president from 1977 to 1992, has sought to take credit for what she sees as the president's strengths, including his Twitter habit. Appearing Monday on ABC's Good Morning America, she said she has a "direct number" to her ex-husband and speaks to him about once every two weeks.
"I don't want to call him there because Melania is there and I don't want to cause any kind of jealousy or something like that because I'm basically first Trump wife. I'm first lady, OK?" said Ivana, the mother of three Trump children: Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric.
Melania Trump's White House team hit back.
"There is clearly no substance to this statement from an ex, this is unfortunately only attention-seeking and self-serving noise," spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, hinting at sensitive relations among women who've been married to the president.
"Mrs Trump has made the White House a home for Barron and the president," Grisham added. "She loves living in Washington, DC, and is honoured by her role as first lady of the United States. She plans to use her title and role to help children, not sell books."
The first lady has in recent weeks stepped up her efforts to build a policy platform, hosting children at the White House kitchen garden and attending meetings arranged by the president's opioid commission.
She is scheduled to travel Tuesday to West Virginia to visit Lily's Place, a non-profit centre that provides care for infants born with prenatal exposure to opioids or other drugs.