Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham on CNN’s „New Day”
Screenshot via CNN
Stephanie Grisham says a 2019 statement attacking Gen. John Kelly is one of her „biggest regrets.”
The statement called Kelly „totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President.”
Grisham told CNN that Trump dictated the statement for her „word for word.”
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Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham says a 2019 statement attacking Gen. John Kelly that former President Donald Trump dictated for her to issue under her own name is one of her „biggest regrets.”
In a Tuesday morning interview on CNN’s „New Day,” Grisham, who is out with a new tell-all memoir about her time in the White House, said she „selfishly” didn’t want to hold a press briefing because she didn’t want to be put in a position to lie. Grisham, who held the position of press secretary from July 2019 to April 2020, ended up never briefing the press.
She said she wasn’t always honest in the appearances she did make, but most regretted an October 2019 statement she released disparaging Gen. John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff from July 2017 to January 2019.
„I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President,” her statement said.
Grisham released the statement at Trump’s direction after Kelly said at a political conference that he warned Trump that he would end up getting impeached if he hired a „yes-man” to succeed him as chief of staff.
Grisham said Trump dictated the statement to her „word for word,” noting, „I don’t speak that way.”
She added that she tried to get Trump not to release the statement by playing to his desire to be the center of attention and arguing that it would only elevate Kelly and give him more airtime.
„I remember I sat down, I was on my bed, it was the weekend, and I called a couple of friends and said, ‘this sounds nuts, right?’ And they both said yes,” Grisham said. „But at the time, I felt I was his spokesperson, he told me to do it, and I knew he was probably watching TV waiting for it, and I put it out, and it’s one of my biggest regrets, and I apologized to General and Mrs. Kelly in the book about it.”
„So they were not your words?” CNN host John Berman asked.
„I don’t speak that way, no,” Grisham said.
„Not your belief?” Berman pressed.
„Not my belief,” Grisham said.
„So it’s a lie,” Berman said.
„So it’s a lie,” Grisham said.
-Alli Hedges Maser (@AllisonLHedges) October 5, 2021
In her book, „I’ll Take Your Questions Now,” Grisham details a toxic and dysfunctional environment in the West Wing and reveals new and unflattering anecdotes about Trump and those around him.
Spokespeople for Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump have denounced Grisham as a liar and disgruntled ex-employee seeking to cash in on her White House experience and sought to discredit the claims in her book.