No One From the Trump Administration Deserves a Book Deal

Stephanie Grisham was a Trump administration stalwart—first as a press aide to the disgraced former president’s 2016 campaign; later, as press secretary and chief of staff to First Lady Melania Trump and, finally, as White House press secretary-turned-communications director. Grisham stood by the Trumps through it all, from “grab ’em by the pussy” to family separation and the “I Really Don’t Care Do U” jacket Melania wore amidst it. Grisham earned a notorious distinction in the White House, becoming the first press secretary in American history to hold zero press conferences, including through the early, dire days of the coronavirus pandemic.

Grisham was silent when it mattered. Suddenly, she has found her voice—conveniently timed to the release of her memoir, I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw in the Trump White House. Now in book promotion mode, Grisham claims to fear the former boss she so loyally served. “The fact that [Trump] is pushing this election lie is scary to me,” Grisham said Tuesday on CNN’s New Day, teasing the possibility of a Trump 2024 run. “The fact he is the front-runner right now if he were to run for office is scaring me.” Funny: Grisham didn’t say a peep as she watched Trump cast doubt on the 2020 election from within the White House, remaining in the East Wing as Melania’s top staffer. As Eric Boehlert, founder of the newsletter PressRun, told the Guardian: “If you’re gonna blow the whistle, have the courage to be a whistleblower. Don’t do it after everything is safe and he’s out of office.”

Grisham isn’t the first former Trump staffer to profit from her role in a destructive presidency with a publishing deal and spontaneously sprout a conscience once the book drops. Sean Spicer, Anthony Scaramucci, and former national security adviser John Bolton are among those who paved the way in this hypocrisy. “It took me a really long time to realize it was a culture of abuse in there,” Grisham claimed on New Day. “You just want to keep Donald Trump happy. You just don’t want him to yell at you,” she added. “He’s very mean when he yells at you.” This is hardly a bombshell for the American public.

Grisham now freely explains why she never held a single press conference: “I knew I would possibly be put in a position to stand at that podium and not be honest,” she told CNN’s Jon Berman. Instead, Grisham granted interviews to the Trump administration’s ostensible state TV arm, Fox News, but honesty wasn’t her strong suit there, either. Asked by Berman if she was always truthful in those Fox interviews, Grisham replied: “I probably wasn’t and I regret that so much.”

Given her track record, why should anyone read or otherwise engage with Grisham now? Grisham not only likely lied to the country, but failed in her duty to communicate with people as communications director, and during a global pandemic. Neither she, nor any other Trump administration official, deserves a book deal for quietly drafting notes while the country unraveled; complicit in irreparable damage to so many underrepresented communities and to democracy itself. Grisham said she finally resigned from Melania’s staff on January 6, on the day of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But her resignation—like her willingness to take questions—is too little, too late.

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