In the latter camp is STEPHANIE GRISHAM, the former Trump White House press secretary best known for never holding a press briefing.
Now Grisham is breaking her silence, and POLITICO’s Daniel Lippman emails us with a scoopy preview of her forthcoming tell-all:
At 1:25 p.m. on Jan. 6, soon after rioters had broken through barricades outside of the Capitol, MELANIA TRUMP received a text message from her then-chief of staff, STEPHANIE GRISHAM.
“Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness and violence?” Grisham asked the first lady.
A minute later, Melania replied with a one-word answer: “No.” At that moment, she was at the White House preparing for a photo shoot of a rug she had selected, according to exclusive excerpts of Grisham’s forthcoming book, “I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw in The Trump White House,” obtained by POLITICO.
Grisham, a years-long Trump loyalist who resigned within hours of that text exchange, also writes that she asked Melania a couple times whether she should reach out to JILL BIDEN during the transition to set up the traditional inauguration tea. But instead of setting up the meeting, Melania told her that they should “see what the West Wing does.” The reason, according to Grisham: Melania, like her husband, believed the election was illegitimate.
A statement provided by the office of Melania Trump said: “The intent behind this book is obvious. It is an attempt to redeem herself after a poor performance as press secretary, failed personal relationships, and unprofessional behavior in the White House. Through mistruth and betrayal, she seeks to gain relevance and money at the expense of Mrs. Trump.” (Her mention of “failed personal relationships” appears likely to be a reference to Grisham’s past relationship with former Trump aide MAX MILLER. Citing three people familiar with the incident, POLITICO Magazine reported in July that the relationship “ended when he pushed her against a wall and slapped her in the face in his Washington apartment after she accused him of cheating on her.” He denied the allegation.)
On Jan. 11, Melania did issue a statement saying she was “disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week.” But she added that she found it “shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me — from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda.” She seemed to be referring to her former close friend STEPHANIE WINSTON WOLKOFF, who penned an op-ed in the Daily Beast a few days earlier arguing that Melania “was complicit in the destruction of America.”
Grisham joined the Trump campaign in 2015 and, despite her misgivings, remained with the White House until close to the end. She writes that Melania’s response to her text on Jan. 6 “broke” her since she had long defended the first lady against accusations that she was a Marie Antoinette-type dilettante.
Now, Grisham writes, she sees Melania like “the doomed French queen. Dismissive. Defeated. Detached.”
Though it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that Melania stood by her husband on important questions like the election, Grisham writes in the book that she was “shocked” to learn that Melania seemed to share DONALD TRUMP’s view that the election was rigged.
Melania told Grisham that “something bad happened” and that the election results weren’t legitimate. She didn’t listen to Grisham when she tried to explain to her that there are small irregularities in all elections but there was no grand conspiracy to unfairly remove Trump from office, according to the book.
Grisham’s book is scheduled to be released on Oct. 5.
A publishing source said that “Stephanie knows she’s stirred up a hornet’s nest with this book.” It includes potentially unflattering nuggets about other officials with whom Grisham tangled during her time in the White House, according to the source. Among them are JARED KUSHNER and MARK MEADOWS, who removed her as White House press secretary, the person said.
“Stephanie has secrets about Trump that even the first lady doesn’t know,” the source said. “Secrets that he doesn’t want her to know. They will be in this book.”
Since news of the book broke late last week, numerous Trump-world figures have contacted Grisham to see how they are depicted in the book or to offer private messages of support, according to the source. Grisham, who is very familiar with how the Trumps operate, is also bracing for a potential smear campaign and legal fight if anyone sues to try to prevent publication. She knows, the source said, that there’s a hunt on to try to get a copy of the book to the Trumps; she’s received calls from people she barely knows asking for an early copy.
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