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Melania Trump didn’t think Donald Trump would win in 2016, former lawyer Michael Cohen told Insider

  • Melania Trump reportedly cried on election night in 2016 after realizing her husband had won.
  • She had expected Donald Trump to lose.
  • This story and many more are a part of Insider’s 2016 oral history of how Trump took over the GOP

Former First Lady Melania Trump never expected her husband to win the White House in 2016, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told Insider. 

“Melania played a very limited role during the campaign not believing Donald would actually win,” Cohen told Insider for its 2016 oral history of how Trump took over the Republican Party. “However, when directly asked for her opinion on a matter by Donald, she offered it readily.” 

Cohen’s comment echoes other reports that Melania Trump and many others close to the former president weren’t expecting to win on Election Night in 2016. His niece Mary Jordan wrote in her 2020 book that Donald Trump was stunned when he won the election.

In 2018, New York journalist Michael Wolff reported that Melania Trump cried on Election Night in 2016 after realizing her husband had won. The Trump White House denied Wolff’s report at the time. However, Wolff has struggled with credibility questions surrounding his books on Trump.

Former House Speaker John Boehner speculated in 2018 that Donald Trump promised Melania Trump they wouldn’t win, and therefore wouldn’t have to leave New York and move to Washington. 

Just days after the 2016 election, the New York Post reported that Melania Trump and their son Barron Trump would stay in New York until the end of the school semester. They left New York for Washington in the middle of June 2017, according to a Politico report at the time.

Inside Trumpworld, the former first lady is viewed as one of Donald Trump’s most influential advisors, rivaled only by the influence of his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

A spokeswoman for the former first lady did not immediately comment for this story.

In a separate anecdote from Insider’s oral history project, Melania Trump concurred with her husband that John McCain “isn’t a war hero,” according to longtime Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski. Melania Trump’s office denied she made the comment.

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