Takeaways from Trump’s aide’s tale of the chaotic White House

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NEW YORK – Ferocious temper tantrums. Family gossip. Little nicknames.

Stephanie Grisham, formerly White House press secretary and chief of staff to First Lady Melania Trump, is releasing a book next week that paints a deeply unflattering picture of Donald Trump – a man with a “terrifying” temperament who has eyeed a young aide and tried to impress dictators while he was president, she writes.

Grisham, who has the distinction of never having held a press briefing as a White House press secretary, traces her path from the low-level press to the inner circles of the Trumps, and her gradual disillusionment with the family. and his eventual resignation after the Jan 6 uprising.

As Trump’s many critical books have done, Grisham’s “I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House” angered Trump. He criticized the book and its author in very personal terms, saying in a statement that Grisham was “paid by a radical left-wing publisher to say things bad and wrong”.

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Highlights of the book include:

ABOUT MELANIA TRUMP

Grisham describes the former first lady as a figure of Marie Antoinette who refused to condemn the violence at the United States Capitol on January 6 as Trump supporters stormed the building in an attempt to stop certification of 2020 election results.

Grisham writes that she texted Melania Trump as the scene unfolded. “Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but that there is no room for lawlessness and violence?” She said. She writes that “literally a minute later and as she was preparing for a photoshoot of a new rug she had selected – yes you read that right – Melania Trump sent me back a one word response:” No”.

It was a breaking point for Grisham, who both praises the former first lady’s off-camera temperament and offers insight into her idiosyncrasies. She writes that Melania Trump’s habit of avoiding public appearances was so “extreme” that the “Secret Service unofficially dubbed her” Rapunzel “because she stayed in her tower, never going down.”

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She also writes that Melania Trump responded to the saga of adult movie star Stormy Daniels and her husband’s allegations of infidelity by tweeting a photo of her on the arm of a handsome military aide and insisting at one point given to travel alone.

“I don’t want to be like Hillary Clinton,” Melania Trump reportedly told Grisham. “She walked over to Marine One holding her husband’s hands after the news of Monica and it didn’t look right.”

ON TRUMP

“His temper was terrifying. And it could be directed at anyone, whether he or she deserved it or not, ”Grisham writes. “He was questioning people’s confidence, their appearance, their intelligence – whatever he thought would hurt someone’s psyche the most.

Trump had a particular contempt, she said, for White House lawyers. “He didn’t like them telling him that the things he wanted to do were unethical or illegal.”

Staff, she says, often deceived Trump to avoid his anger, and tried to temper his worst impulses by stalling or distracting in a White House “where everything was like a burning clown car running at full speed. in a warehouse full of fireworks “.

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#ME TOO

Grisham writes that, while in the press, she noticed that Trump “was taking an unusual interest in a young and very handsome press secretary” on her team, asking her where the woman was, if she would be traveling with him. while traveling overseas, and asked Grisham to bring help to his office cabin on Air Force One.

“Put it on TV. Keep her happy, promote her, ”she says Trump would tell her. “Let’s bring her in here and look at her ass,” she said, she was told he once said.

Grisham also remembers the uncomfortable encounters she had with the President, including noting him one day that she wasn’t wearing tights. On one occasion, she writes, he asked her then-boyfriend if she was “good in bed.”

“On another occasion he asked me to contact a prominent Arizona fan. He wanted me to advise her not to wear dresses and sleeveless tops anymore, saying they didn’t flatter her and it wasn’t “nice look”.

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“You’re talking to her though,” he reportedly told her. “I can’t with MeToo and all.”

A BAD CALL

Trump reportedly felt compelled to respond to Daniels’ accusations about the size of his genitals. Grisham says she received an embarrassing phone call from the president on board Air Force One, who assured her that “everything is fine over there.”

“Uh, yes, sir,” she said, she replied. “Not in two million years had I thought to have a conversation with the President of the United States about his penis. Fortunately, the call ended soon after.”

DICTATORS

“He always seemed to want dictators to respect him,” Grisham wrote, pointing in particular to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who staff suspected of having arranged an attractive interpreter and coughing to catch Trump off guard.

She described a meeting at the Group of 20 meeting in Osaka in 2019, when Trump appeared determined to appease the Russian leader. “Okay, I’m going to be a little harder on you for a few minutes.” But that’s for the cameras, and after they’re gone, we’ll talk. You understand, ”she says, telling Trump.

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Grisham also writes that Trump “often said crazy things to foreign leaders” that ranged from the absurd to the baffling.

“Trump liked to order cabinet secretaries, staff or anyone else sitting next to him to give this dictator or whatever he wanted,” she wrote. “I think he must have thought that made him sound tough and powerful. As for us? We usually walked slowly or ignored the president and very rarely did exactly what he asked.

JEALOUSY

The book describes deep jealousy among staff and within the Trump family. Melania Trump had a nickname for Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and senior White House adviser: “The Princess,” she says.

“The princess is always running to her father,” Grisham said, complaining often.

Grisham remembers how she and her husband, Jared Kushner, tried to be part of an official greeting ahead of a state dinner in the UK hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.

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“Jared and Ivanka thought they were the royal family of the United States – on the same level as William and Kate in the United Kingdom,” she writes. She also blames Kushner for the loss of Trump last November.

ON HIS ROLE

One of the reasons, Grisham writes, why she did not want to hold formal press briefings was that she knew that “sooner or later the President would want me to tell the public something that is not true or that would make me sound crazy. “

Indeed, at one point, she says, Trump asked her to piece together his “perfect phone call” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which led to his first impeachment, and “to use two votes” on the “. scene “from the briefing room. She writes that Trump has also constantly asked her if the press can be removed from the White House.

THE HAIR

Trump’s hair, she writes, “is much longer than I expected, like several inches from end to end. He cuts it himself with a pair of huge scissors that could possibly cut a ribbon at an opening of one of its properties.

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What about its distinctive hue? She says there was no tanning bed in the White House. “The president’s look was created with makeup that he put on his face every morning, like he was going to appear on a TV show. What he was, in a way.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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