Stephanie Grisham used to avoid the media like her life depended on it. During her nine-month stint as Donald Trump’s press secretary – a job she juggled with her roles as communications director for both the White House and Melania Trump – she didn’t hold a single formal press briefing. At one point the writers Don Winslow and Stephen King even pledged $200,000 to a children’s hospital if Grisham just held a damn briefing; she didn’t take them up on it.
But while Grisham may not have been keen on telling the media what the president was up to when it was her taxpayer-funded job to do so, she’s happily dishing dirt now. Grisham is releasing a memoir next month called I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw in The Trump White House. I know nothing Trump-related should be shocking any more but I can’t get over the audacity of that title. It almost rivals OJ Simpson’s If I Did It. I’ll Take Your Questions Now? Well here’s a question for you, Steph! How does it feel to have zero morals whatsoever?
To be fair, Grisham never bothered to pretend that she cared about silly things like morality or accountability or public service. The 45-year-old’s journey to the White House started when she worked on Trump’s 2016 campagna; secondo a New York Times profile she once told a reporter that she was “riding it until the money runs out”. Adesso, sembra, the Trump money has run out and she’s busy collecting the tell-all cash.
She’s hardly the first Trumper to have switched allegiances as soon as it became expedient to do so. It’s hard to keep track of the exposés by former Trump White House staffers. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, ha written one. Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and deputy campaign manager David Bossie, have written one. Miles Taylor, a homeland security official who caused a ruckus when he published an anonymous New York Times op-ed claiming there was a “quiet resistance” in the Trump administration, has written one. Jared Kushner is said to be writing the “definitive” account of the Trump presidency, out next year.
Every time a memoir by a former Trump staffer is announced it is marketed with words such as “bombshell”, “tell-all” and “scandal”. Finora, tuttavia, none of these books have told us much we didn’t already know. Thanks to Lewandowski’s book we know Trump got his former aide Hope Hicks to steam his trousers … while he was wearing them. Cohen’s book told us – shocker! – that Trump said lots of very racist things. Taylor’s book “revealed” that everyone in the Trump administration complained about how badly run everything was. Nothing in any of these memoirs justifies their hypocritical authors getting a fat advance and a chance to whitewash their reputations.
Somehow I doubt Grisham’s opus will be any more illuminating. Anonymous sources have told Politico that the book contains secrets about Trump that not even Melania knows; but while that may sound juicy, all the content that has been fed to the press so far is embarrassingly banal. Grisham compares Melania to Marie Antoinette, apparently. That’s a very original and imaginative analogy; nobody has ever thought of that one before! Grisham also apparently reveals that Melania didn’t want to put out a statement condemning the 6 January riots; which is hardly news to anyone paying attention.
You know what secret I wish Grisham would reveal? How on earth she has managed to fail upwards so spectacularly throughout her career. Grisham, it has been reported, managed to lose a private-sector job after being accused of filing false expense claims, and then lost another job after being accused of plagiarism. She has also been arrested for driving under the influence. All those things would have been a career impediment to most people, but they didn’t stop her from landing one of the most prestigious gigs in politics. She did a terrible job at that, but has still managed to get a (presumably lucrative) book deal. Truly, it’s the sort of charmed and baffling career trajectory.