WASHINGTON – Stephanie Grisham, one of Donald Trump’s former press secretaries, says in a forthcoming book that Trump and his aides forged a culture of lying during their four years in the White House.
“Casual dishonesty filtered through the White House as if it were in the air conditioning system,” Grisham writes in “I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House,” according to The Washington Post, which obtained an early copy of the book.
The book, to be published on Tuesday of next week, offers anecdotes of Trump’s volcanic temper, his sexist comments about women, and his demands to aides that they simply deny the numerous allegations made against him and his administration, despite any evidence to the contrary.
Grisham, also a former chief of staff to first lady Melania Trump, writes about how Mrs. Trump became dis-engaged from the administration after reports of her husband’s past infidelities.
The book also says that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, kept inserting themselves into administration activities, often creating new problems.
Grisham entitled her book “I’ll Take Your Questions Now,” even though she never conducted a public news briefing during her nine months on the job.
According to an account of the book in The New York Times, Grisham offers an explanation for not holding a briefing: “I knew that sooner or later the president would want me to tell the public something that was not true or that would make me sound like a lunatic.”
In a statement, Trump did not address Grisham’s specific claims, but rather attacked her personally. He referred to the “break up” of a relationship with an administration official, claiming that made her “very angry and bitter.”
“Stephanie didn’t have what it takes and that was obvious from the beginning,” Trump said.
Among the anecdotes in the book: Trump yelling at his wife for wearing a jacket emblazoned with the phrase “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” while on a trip to visit children at a migrant camp in Texas. Grisham writes that Trump instructed an aide to say Mrs. Trump wore the jacket as a message to the news media.
Trump was smitten by an attractive female press aide, Grisham writes, repeatedly inviting her to his cabin aboard Air Force One and urging Grisham to keep her happy.
Grisham discloses an incident in which Trump tells Russian President Vladimir Putin he would talk “a little tougher with you for a few minutes” while television cameras were in the room at an international meeting. “After they leave we’ll talk – you understand,’” Grisham quotes Trump as telling Putin, according to news accounts of the book.
Grisham also writes about Trump’s mysterious trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in 2019. The reason, she said: Trump had a colonoscopy, but did not want to disclose it publicly because it would have subjected him to jokes by television comedians.
Grisham also reports that Trump tried to ban the news media from the White House press room, a thought he often expressed, but never acted upon.
After Grisham’s initial stint as spokeswoman for the first lady, Trump picked her for White House press secretary in late June of 2019 to replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Grisham left the job the following April and was replaced by Kayleigh McEnany.
Grisham returned to the first lady’s office as chief of staff. She resigned that post in January to protest the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters who were protesting Joe Biden’s election.
In his statement attacking Grisham, Trump also suggested, again, that he will seek the presidency again in 2024: “Someday in the not too distant future we will have our voice back and be treated fairly by the press.”