What We Learned from Stephanie Grisham’s Trump Tell-All, I’ll Take Your Questions Now

One other day, one other Trumpworld memoir. The newest damning dispatch from the Trump Administration comes courtesy of Stephanie Grisham, who served various roles within the White House throughout a four-year period: communications director and press secretary within the West Wing, in addition to communications director and chief of staff in Melania Trump’s East Wing. In I’ll Take Your Questions Now, her latest memoir, Grisham depicts a White House “where every part was like a clown automotive on fire running at full speed right into a warehouse of fireworks.” Caught between the president’s abusive leadership style and the conflicting loyalties she felt toward the primary lady, Grisham’s final straw got here on January 6, 2021, when she tendered her resignation hours into the rebel on the Capitol.

The Trumps, for his or her part, have already moved to discredit Grisham. Describing Grisham as “very offended and bitter” after a break-up, President Trump said in a press release, “Stephanie didn’t have what it takes and that was obvious from the start. 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 unfaithful things.” Melania Trump also clapped back, saying in a press release, “The creator is desperately attempting to rehabilitate her tarnished status by manipulating and distorting the reality about Mrs. Trump. Ms. Grisham is a deceitful and troubled individual who doesn’t deserve anyone’s trust.”

Grisham’s account, like all Trumpworld memoir, should be read with a healthy dose of skepticism. In any case, as Grisham herself admits, “Casual dishonesty filtered through the White House as if it were within the air con system.” But Grisham anticipates that readers may not take her account at face value, writing, “This is just not, by the best way, a book where it’s essential like me.” We read I’ll Take Your Questions Now prematurely of publication; now, we’re breaking down the largest bombshells below.

First up: Grisham offers insight into the day by day routines of the primary lady, and the derisive nickname they inspired:

I could count only a handful of times through the years that Mrs. Trump was actually in her office. She preferred to run things via text or phone calls, which initially made it hard to set an agenda and form a detailed working relationship. Mrs. Trump was working from home long before the country was… the First Lady kept to her rooms within the residence. That became a running joke amongst those that knew her. The Secret Service unofficially dubbed her ‘Rapunzel’ because she remained in her tower, never descending. In actual fact, some agents tried to get assigned to her detail because they knew the First Lady’s limited movements and travel meant that they may spend more time at home with their families.

Based on Grisham, there was no lost love between Melania Trump and her stepchildren, particularly Ivanka Trump:

Ivanka was always stepping into the press shots that really must have been reserved for the president and first lady. It was yet one more example of the Kushners putting themselves on the identical level as the primary couple, and it was unseemly. For Mrs. Trump, it was about protocol and the principles; or all of us as staff, it was about allowing her to be in her role and have the people of america see her representing them with dignity and sophistication… Mrs. Trump seemed relieved to see that I shared her frustrations along with her daughter-in-law, a lot in order that she eventually let me in on the nickname she had privately given her: ‘the Princess.’ Over and over after that I’d hear one in all her favorite stock complaints, ‘Princess all the time runs to her father.’

Jared Kushner is described as “Rasputin in a slim-fitting suit.”

Anadolu AgencyGetty Images

Inappropriate behavior on the a part of the Kushners earned the couple their very own derisive nickname. “Because they dabbled in a little bit of every part and may very well be precocious and self-absorbed, we within the East Wing dubbed [the Kushners] ‘the interns,’” Grisham writes. “Mrs. Trump was amused and herself used the nickname every so often.” Tension between the East Wing and the Kushners is a permanent theme throughout the book, with Grisham continually emphasizing the conflicts of interest proposed by the Kushners’ role within the administration. Take, for instance, the matter of Jared Kushner’s security clearance:

The best irony, after all, was once I heard that Jared Kushner never got a security clearance due to all of his issues, financial interests, and so forth. So far as I do know, he only ever got essentially the most basic clearance, yet he was in all of crucial meetings of the administration. He also reached out on to many heads of state, comparable to Benjamin Netanyahu and the leadership of the Saudi government, something no staffer should ever do, let alone in the event that they had no top security clearance.

Remembering when Kushner teamed up with speechwriter Stephen Miller to write down a televised address firstly of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grisham writes at length about what she saw as Kushner’s poisonous influence within the White House:

I had shared with Mrs. Trump persistently my opinion that if we lost reelection in 2020 it could be due to Jared. She didn’t disagree with me. It was my fervent opinion that his arrogance and presumption had grown through the years, and he threw his power about with absolutely no shame. I’d enterprise to say that being within the White House modified Jared as an individual. There was no reason that he ought to be sitting with the speechwriter laying out our nation’s plan to fight a world pandemic. And I knew that if things went badly with the speech, which felt inevitable, he could be the primary person to say within the president’s ear that the comms team had fucked all of it up. He was Rasputin in a slim-fitting suit.

However the Kushners aren’t the one Trumpworld acolytes to return under fire in I’ll Take Your Questions Now. Grisham doesn’t mince words when writing about Trump sycophant Lindsey Graham:

Lindsey Graham? Well, it struck me that he was using Trump to mop up the freebies like there was no tomorrow (seems that he still is). He would show up at Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster to play free rounds of golf, stuff his face with free food, and hang around with Trump and his celebrity pals. On one occasion, I got here across him at Bedminster after he’d kicked out a White House staff member so he could take her room. Senator Freeloader was sitting at a table by the pool, a giant grin on his face, lapping up the goodies he was getting like some potentate. He said to me, with a creepy little smile, ‘Isn’t this great? Man, that is the life.’

Grisham, like many other Trumpworld alums, takes note of Trump’s obsession with dictators. But it surely’s her recollection of 2019’s G20 Summit in Osaka that’s essentially the most chilling, suggesting an all-too cozy rapport between Trump and Vladimir Putin:

Trump would often spend a minute or two talking about what ‘animals’ the reporters may very well be, after which the press would are available. With President Putin, Trump started off the identical, then modified his tone. With all of the talk of sanctions against Russia for interfering within the 2016 election and for various human rights abuses, Trump told Putin, ‘Okay, I’m going to act a bit tougher with you for just a few minutes. But it surely’s for the camera, and after they leave we’ll talk. You understand.’

Probably the most interesting moments in I’ll Take Your Questions Now come when Grisham offers a glance behind the scenes of memorable moments. Take, for instance, her recollections in regards to the hand slap heard ‘around the world. In 2017, Melania Trump made headlines when she appeared to slap her husband’s hand away during a diplomatic visit to Saudi Arabia in 2017. The reality, based on Grisham, is less interesting:

I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw on the Trump White House

For individuals who care to know, Mrs. Trump ‘slapped’ her husband’s hand away that day because she thought it was against protocol to carry hands at such a proper ceremony. Melania was a rule follower, sometimes to a fault, and her husband knew that. He often tried to carry her hand or messed along with her hands on purpose in front of the cameras to annoy her.

Grisham also delves into the Stormy Daniels scandal from 2018, remembering when Daniels sued Donald Trump over his efforts to suppress her disclosure of their affair. In the following media blitz, Daniels likened Trump’s penis to a toadstool—an outline he took such issue with that he called Grisham from Air Force One to set the record straight.

“Did you see what she said about me?” He said after a moment, referring to Stormy. Then he added, unsurprisingly, “All lies. All lies.” “Yes, sir.” Then I found out exactly what he was concerned about. “The whole lot down there may be nice,” he said.What the hell was I imagined to say to that? I kept it to a straightforward “Okay,” praying that one way or the other we’d get disconnected.“It’s nice,” he repeated.

washington, dc   february 08 us president donald trump returns to the white house after receiving his annual physical exam at walter reed national military medical center on february 8, 2019 in washington, dc photo by olivier douliery poolgetty images

“It’s nice.”

PoolGetty Images

Remember Trump’s mysterious visit to Walter Reed Medical Center in 2019, when protocol was disrupted and doctors were asked to sign NDAs? Grisham takes us behind the scenes there, too.

I used to be reminded of what had happened in the autumn of 2019 when Trump had made a seemingly impromptu visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. I used to be informed, as were a small handful of others, including Vice President Pence, of the explanation for the visit. Pence was told he needed to stick around town “just in case.” What I used to be not allowed to inform anyone on the time was that the president was having a quite common procedure that every one men and girls over the age of fifty must have. In such a procedure, a patient is typically put under. In Trump’s case that would mean signing a letter under the Twenty-fifth Amendment to place Pence temporarily in charge, however the president was ultimately not put under, I feel in order that he wouldn’t need to be perceived as giving up power.

But we all know the true behind-the-scenes story you must learn about: behind the scenes of Trump’s haircare routine. Grisham has got you covered:

Donald Trump’s hair, when not perfectly coiffed, was a sight to behold. There isn’t any option to describe exactly how he styles that magnificent and really wild mane of his, nevertheless it involves a comb, a hair dryer, and a shit ton of hair spray. His hair is for much longer than I had imagined, like multiple inches from end to finish. He cuts it himself with an enormous pair of scissors that would probably cut a ribbon at a gap at one in all his properties.

That’s all for now, dear reader. We’ll see you next time there is a Trumpworld memoir to excavate, which surely won’t be long.

Assistant Editor
Adrienne Westenfeld is a author and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.

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