— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) September 28, 2021
Especially not the Nekkid Emperor of Marred-A-Lago:
Little is known about what happened in the 90-minute conversation between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Osaka, Japan, two years ago. But as journalists were quickly ushered out of the room at the 2019 Group of 20 Summit, Stephanie Grisham once again found herself with a close-up view of the action.
She saw Trump lean toward Putin that day and tell him: “Okay, I’m going to act a little tougher with you for a few minutes. But it’s for the cameras, and after they leave, we’ll talk. You understand.”
It’s just one of many telling interactions detailed by Grisham in her new book, titled “I’ll Take Your Questions Now.” One of the most senior and longest-serving Trump advisers, she worked as the president’s third press secretary and as first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff and communications director before she resigned on Jan. 6 during the Capitol riot…
A major theme of the book is the culture of lies that pervaded Trump’s administration. “Casual dishonesty filtered through the White House as if it were in the air conditioning system,” Grisham writes…
She is particularly negative about the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner — both of whom held senior White House positions. She wrote that the first lady and White House staff called Ivanka “the Princess” who regularly invoked “my father” in work meetings, and Grisham dubbed Kushner “the Slim Reaper” for his habit of inserting himself into other people’s projects, making a mess and leaving them to take the blame.
Tellingly, Grisham writes that Ivanka and Jared tried to push their way into meeting Queen Elizabeth II alongside the president and first lady, a wild breach of protocol on a state visit, but were thwarted when they couldn’t fit into the helicopter. “I finally figured out what was going on,” Grisham writes. “Jared and Ivanka thought they were the royal family of the United States.”
“I had shared with Mrs. Trump many times my opinion that if we lost reelection in 2020 it would be because of Jared,” Grisham writes. “She didn’t disagree with me.”…
The Melania Trump whom Grisham describes is as stubborn as her husband, but his temperamental opposite. She believed in self-care so much that she’d change into a robe and slippers almost immediately upon boarding Air Force One. Self-consciousness about her accent and her English grammar meant she rarely wrote anything on her own.
The Secret Service gave her a nickname, “Rapunzel,” because she rarely left her tower, a.k.a the White House residence. Agents would request to be placed on her detail so they could spend more time with their families, Grisham writes.
If she wasn’t spending time with her son, Barron, or her parents, she was working on her photo albums, which Grisham calls one of “her two children.” Deep into the pandemic, she spent two hours re-creating the ribbon-cutting for the White House tennis pavilion because she hadn’t gotten the right shot weeks earlier. She was working on a photo shoot of a rug during the Capitol riot…
(It’s her professional portfolio for when she’s looking for a replacement meal ticket, after all.)
Paragraph I did not expect to read this morning: "Mr. Trump’s handlers designated an unnamed White House official known as the 'Music Man' to play him his favorite show tunes, including 'Memory' from 'Cats,' to pull him from the brink of rage." https://t.co/PnXOfNwtWB
— Michael Paulson (@MichaelPaulson) September 28, 2021
The NYTimes is, of course, gentler on both the writer and her subject:
… In her book, titled “I’ll Take Your Questions Now,” Ms. Grisham recalls her time working for a president she said constantly berated her and made outlandish requests, including a demand that she appear before the press corps and re-enact a certain call with the Ukrainian president that led to Mr. Trump’s (first) impeachment, an assignment she managed to avoid.
“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,” Ms. Grisham writes, offering a reason for why she never held a briefing.
After serving as press secretary, Ms. Grisham worked in Melania Trump’s office. She resigned on Jan. 6 as a horde of Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol. Her book was kept a secret from her closest allies in the White House, though by the time she departed Washington that number had dwindled. (She writes that, months before the election, she had moved to Kansas.) Her publisher, HarperCollins, calls the book “The most frank and intimate portrait of the Trump White House yet.”…
Ms. Grisham says that a trip to North Korea inspired Mr. Trump to ask her to research ways the press could be permanently evicted from the James S. Brady Briefing Room…
As she tries to please Mr. Trump, whose press coverage was relentlessly negative, she describes his anger toward her and others as “terrifying”: “When I began to see how his temper wasn’t just for shock value or the cameras,” she writes, “I began to regret my decision to go to the West Wing.”
She says one frequent target of Mr. Trump’s ire was Pat Cipollone, who served as White House counsel: “He didn’t like them telling him that things he wanted to do were unethical or illegal. So he’d scream at them. But then he’d usually listen. And then yell at them again later.”
(There were other indignities: Ms. Grisham writes that Mr. Trump called her while aboard Air Force One to defend the size of his penis after Ms. Daniels insulted it in an interview. “Uh, yes sir,” Ms. Grisham replied.)…
[To the tune of Memory]COVID!
It will be gone by April
I don't listen to doctors
They just tell me fake news…
It's the libs who all want to destroy my economy.
I blame China…
and the Dems.
— Snarkington P. Bear ?? (@Snark_P_Bear) September 28, 2021