An explosive new book by former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who famously held no official news briefings during her nine months in the role, has described a vengeful and defensive side to Melania Trump.
Grisham’s I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House is described by publisher HarperCollins as the “most frank and intimate portrait” of Donald Trump’s presidency yet. It’s the latest in a stream of memoirs by former Trump staffers – from ex-press secretary Sean Spicer to former national security adviser John Bolton – that have been published over the last couple of years.
As one of the longest-standing members of the Trump inner circle, Grisham – who served as Melania’s communications director and chief of staff, as well as press secretary – had unrivalled access to the first family during Trump’s four years in power. As one source told CNN, Grisham “knows things no one else has been told”.
One of the most revealing claims in Grisham’s tell-all book is her account of Melania’s reaction when reports of her husband’s infidelities surfaced, prompted by adult film actress Stormy Daniels’ allegations in 2018.
Grisham’s book claims the then first lady told her that she didn’t believe her husband’s denials and sought retaliation by finding ways “to omit her husband from photos and tweets”. She even made a point of irritating her husband by showing up to events on the arm of a handsome military aide, reported The New York Times, which had access to an advanced copy of the memoir.
Another revelation is what happened after Melania wore her notorious “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” Zara jacket for a visit to a camp for detained immigrant children in a Texas border town. According to Grisham, Trump asked his wife “What the hell were you thinking?” before instructing an aide to imply that she was referring to the media.
Melania’s refusal to comment publicly on the Capitol riots on 6 January this year was what Politico described as the “last straw” for long-term Trump loyalist Grisham, who resigned later that day. The book claims that at the time of the riots, Melania was at the White House preparing for a photoshoot of a rug she had selected.
According to Grisham, Melania and her husband did see eye to eye on at least one matter: the election being illegitimate. The book reveals that instead of asking Grisham to set up a traditional inauguration White House meeting with the incoming first lady Jill Biden, Melania instead told her that they should “see what the West Wing does”, reported Politico, which also had an advance copy of the book.
Described as “part giddy travelogue, part belated apologia, part petty payback, all personal-therapy session” by The New York Times, Grisham’s highly anticipated memoir, which will be published on 5 October, has been pre-emptively slammed by Melania’s team.
A statement by her office released to Politico dismisses I’ll Take Your Questions Now as Grisham’s “attempt to redeem herself after a poor performance as press secretary, failed personal relationships, and unprofessional behaviour in the White House”.
The statement added: “Through mistruth and betrayal, [Grisham] seeks to gain relevance and money at the expense of Mrs Trump.”