Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Memoir of former press secretary Stephanie Grisham dishes loads of dirt on Donald Trump, including his unseemly fascination with a young female staffer's butt


While president, Donald Trump summoned a young, female member of the press office to come to his cabin on Air Force One so he could "look at her butt," according to a memoir from former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. Multiple news outlets have reported on revelations from the Grisham memoir -- titled I'll Take Your Questions Now.

Yahoo! reported under the headline "Trump summoned a young press aide to his Air Force One cabin so he could look at her butt, new book says." From the report:

Stephanie Grisham, a former longtime top White House staffer, writes in her memoir that President Donald Trump took an inappropriate liking to one of his young staffers, The Washington Post has reported.

The book, a copy of which The Post obtained, says Trump became "obsessed" with a young press staffer whom Grisham didn't name. He would regularly ask where the aide was during media events and once demanded that she be delivered to his cabin on Air Force One so he could "look at her [behind]," the book says, according to The Post report.

Grisham, who joined the Trump campaign in 2016 and went on to serve as White House press secretary and the first lady's chief of staff, also writes that Trump once asked her to assure him that his penis wasn't small or abnormally shaped, as the adult-film star Stormy Daniels had claimed.

Twenty-six women have publicly accused the former president of sexual misconduct, including allegations of rape, groping, and harassment. Trump has denied all of the allegations and called the women liars.

From a report at Business Insider

Trump has also attacked Grisham over her tell-all book, accusing her of writing "bad and untrue things" about him because she's "very angry and bitter" over her 2020 split from former White House aide Max Miller, who reportedly physically assaulted Grisham during an argument.

"Stephanie didn't have what it takes, and that was obvious from the beginning," Trump told The New York Times in a statement. "She had big problems, and we felt that she should work out those problems for herself. Now, like everyone else, she gets paid by a radical left-leaning publisher to say bad and untrue things."

TMZ weighed in on the memoir and some of its shocking details, reporting:

In a review for Slate, Laura Miller says Grisham's book is the "dishiest" of all the Trump tell-alls. Miller also advises: "Read Stephanie Grisham’s new book for the LOLs—and even the occasional insight." Here is more from Miller's review at Slate:

Last year, novelist Elinor Lipman could not find an American publisher for Rachel to the Rescue, a romantic comedy set in the Trump administration, so she published the book in the United Kingdom instead. Publishers’ reluctance on this side of the pond was understandable at the time. There was nothing funny or lighthearted about that regime as long as it remained in power. Still, who can deny that Trump’s presidency was full of both threats to our democratic institutions and moments of bizarre black comedy, given the ignorant, crass, shamelessly self-serving person in charge of it?

Most inside accounts of that presidency that have appeared so far have taken a sober approach to the three-ring circus of the Trump White House. That tone has also largely been in keeping with the self-importance of the author penning the book, be it the sub-Mencken contempt of Michael Wolff or the establishment ponderosity of Bob Woodward. However, while it turns out there’s still no way to be lighthearted about the inner doings of the Trump administration (and romance? … ugh), funny has indeed become possible. I’ll Take Your Questions Now, the new tell-all book by former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, is the sitcom version of Trump’s White House years. Grotesque as it is, I found myself LOLing every few pages.

Part of this book’s perverse appeal lies in Grisham’s basic-ness. The quotations that serve as epigraphs to each chapter read like wall art picked up along with the latest Rae Dunn products at TJ Maxx. (“Say yes to unexpected opportunities—even if it scares you” goes one, citing designer Tory Burch but perhaps just misquoting “The Sunscreen Song.”) At one point, she notes that the rooms at Mar-a-Lago are “quite dated,” which is code for “not enough shiplap or barn doors” and “no giant clock faces on the walls.” What on Instagram would be aesthetically irksome, in a Trump memoir is weirdly endearing. Grisham is so average, and so comfortable in her averageness, that she becomes a recognizable comedic figure, the chagrinned everywoman. The tale becomes Bridget Jones Goes to Washington, but instead of finding a decent chap to fall for, Grisham gets involved with a creep Trump nicknamed “the Music Man” for his ability to queue up enough Andrew Lloyd Webber show tunes to soothe the savage president.

Grisham is famous for never giving a briefing during her tenure as press secretary, and she explains that this was partly the result of Trump’s dissatisfaction with her predecessors and penchant for speaking directly to the public and media. It was also partly self-preservation, as she knew he would eventually ask her to make statements that were false or simply foolish. During Trump’s first impeachment crisis, he ordered Grisham to assemble the press before her “stage” and reenact his phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, “with voices.” She describes leaving this meeting in shock, convinced “this was going to be my ticket to being satirized on Saturday Night Live—and not in a good way. I would be all over the news, sounding like a straight idiot that night and for years to come.” She got out of this ridiculous scrape—too broad a joke for the likes of even Veep—when a colleague suggested that they tell Trump that having a member of Congress read the transcript out loud would ensure that his “perfect” phone call would be entered into official record. Trump loved this idea, and Devin Nunes (“one of our most reliable ‘yes’ guys”) obliged.

At times, Grisham presents herself as a beleaguered professional coping with conniving co-workers, a crazy boss, and his sphinxlike wife (she also served as Melania Trump’s press secretary and eventually her chief of staff). At others, she sounds like someone’s scornful 13-year-old daughter: “There was that guy Rex Tillerson and then General Jim Mattis and then they were gone and then someone else came in and then another guy. I’d actually have to look at a list to remember who they all were—a blur of mostly middle-aged white dudes.” She calls Laura Ingraham a “rando” and pronounces Lindsey Graham “gross” for stuffing his face with free food every time he visited Mar-a-Lago. The whole last half of I’ll Take Your Questions Now is one long hiss of catty gossip about Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner and their camera-hogging ways.

Who but a “straight idiot” would want to work in a place that Grisham herself describes as resembling “a clown car on fire running at full speed into a warehouse full of fireworks”? And once there, who would stay? Grisham explains the first part as a temptation of the ego. Apparently, becoming a presidential press secretary is the pinnacle of flackdom. Grisham may even be an adept publicist. She perceptively attributes Melania’s public reticence to the fact that her “experience with the press was largely shaped by her career in modeling. In that world, photos were far more important than what was said in print or on television.” When the press was around, “I could see her working to ensure that her face was held a certain way, that she stood or sat a certain way.” This “made for great photographs but also gave off a chilly vibe to the people she was meeting with.” Once in, Grisham was in, like a sports fan pledging her complete loyalty to a hometown team. Melania was “my girl,” and Grisham fought and cheered for the first lady’s every petty triumph over the dread Javanka.

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