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Secret recordings show Melania Trump was frustrated about criticism of Trump 2018 border separation policy: CNN

First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpPresident says Trump Jr. doing 'very well' after COVID-19 diagnosis Trumps to spend Thanksgiving at White House instead of traveling to Florida Chelsea Clinton blames Trump for Secret Service officers in quarantine MORE expressed frustration that she received criticism for the Trump administration's 2018 border separation policy, according to secret recordings released by CNN on Thursday. 

The first lady’s former friend and senior adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff secretly recorded the first lady after she left the White House, according to CNN. 

"They say I'm complicit. I'm the same like him, I support him. I don't say enough I don't do enough where I am," Melania Trump said. 

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The recordings, which aired on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” also document Melania Trump’s irritation with performing traditional first lady duties, specifically decorating the White House for Christmas. 

"I'm working ... my ass 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?' Give me a f---ing break,” she added.

“Where 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."

Melania Trump was referring to a policy during the Obama administration that said children would be separated from their parents if authorities were concerned about the children’s well-being or if the adults could not confirm they were the children’s guardians, CNN noted.

But under Trump's 2018 policy, more than 2,800 children were separated from their parents after the administration allowed all immigrants who crossed the border with their families illegally to be prosecuted, including parents of small children.   

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The first lady’s chief of staff Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamTrumps to spend Thanksgiving at White House instead of traveling to Florida Melania Trump cancels campaign appearance over 'lingering cough' The Memo: Trump grapples with credibility gap in crisis MORE slammed Wolkoff for the recordings in a statement obtained by The Hill

“Her only intent was to secretly tape the First Lady in order to peddle herself and her salacious book," she 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," Grisham added. "The First Lady remains focused on her family and serving our country.”

Melania Trump, in a separate recording, said the migrant children’s reaction to the detention centers showed they appreciated “the way they take care of them.”

"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 in the recording, according to CNN. "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."

The first lady also suggested that several migrants falsely claim to be fleeing danger from their home country when they aren’t.

"A lot of like moms and kids they are teached how to do it,” she said. “They go over and they say like, 'Oh, we will be killed by a gang member, we will be, you know, it's so dangerous.’ So they are allowed to stay here."

"It's not true that they would, you know what I mean," the first lady said, adding that "they're not professional but they are teached by other people what to say to come over and to you know let them go to stay here. Because they could easily stay in Mexico, but they don't want to stay in Mexico because Mexico doesn't take care of them the same as America does."

Wolkoff told Cooper in an interview that she thinks the first lady felt a maternal concern for the children but eventually aligned with her husband’s administration.

"I think that as a mother, those maternal instincts in her were set off and she did care," Wolkoff said. "But there is no husband to come to, the leader of the free world, to discuss how she's feeling about that. So regardless of that, she steps in line and she just decides that what she has heard and what she's been told is what the rule of law is in our country."

Wolkoff, who formerly worked at Vogue as a magazine staffer, has known Melania Trump for more than a decade, but their friendship reportedly fell apart as allegations mounted that Wolkoff and her firm took in money while planning the president's inauguration in 2017.

Her company was paid more than $26 million for the inauguration. Most of that money went to subcontractors, but $1.6 million went directly to her firm, according to documents reviewed by CNN.