US President Donald trump departs from the South Lawn of the White House on May 14, 2018, as he travels to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.For a former press secretary who held zero briefings during her nine-month tenure, Stephanie Grisham certainly has a lot to say about the culture of the Trump White House in her new book, namely that it was a pit of sexual harassment.
The longtime White House staffer describes a president who objectified a press aide, unsettled Grisham with his denials that he raped magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s, and once called Grisham to talk about how his penis wasn’t small or weird, according to excerpts from the book, “I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House.” Grisham, for example, wrote that Trump was allegedly so obsessed with a young female press aide that he once requested she be brought onto Air Force One so he could “look at her [behind],” according to the Washington Post and New York Times, which both obtained copies of the book ahead of its publication next week. Trump also told Grisham to promote the woman and “keep her happy.” On another occasion, after Stormy Daniels said in an interview that Trump’s penis looked like a “toadstool,” Grisham says Trump called her to assure her that his penis was, in fact, not shaped like a toadstool or small. “Uh, yes sir,” Grisham says she replied.
Grisham also wrote that she was a target of Trump’s harassment and said he once asked her if her boyfriend—another Trump aide—was good in bed. The ex-boyfriend, current congressional candidate Max Miller, was also given the moniker “The Music Man” and told to play show tunes from musicals including “Cats” to try to calm Trump down, Grisham wrote. And in another incident after Carroll sued Trump, alleging he raped her in a department store in the 1990s and then slandered her when she came forward, Grisham said Trump unsettled her with his response to the lawsuit, the Times reported. “You just deny it,” Trump told her, Grisham recalled. ‘That’s what you do in every situation. Right, Stephanie? You just deny it.”The Trump family has slammed Grisham and her book. Trump’s press secretary called Grisham a “disgruntled former employee” and former first lady Melania Trump’s office said her book was “an attempt to redeem herself after a poor performance as press secretary, failed personal relationships, and unprofessional behavior in the White House.”But among the collection of ladder-climbers that was the Trump White House, Grisham lasted an unusually long time. After joining the campaign in 2016, Grisham became Melania Trump’s press secretary in 2017, then the White House press secretary in 2019, a role in which she famously became the first to never conduct a briefing.After leaving that role, she returned to her role as the first lady’s press secretary and also became her chief of staff. Grisham resigned on Jan. 6, after Trump supporters rioted at the Capitol in an attempt to stop Joe Biden from being declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election after defeating Trump. She described the riot as the last straw that resulted in her resignation, the Times reported."It has been an honor to serve the country in the White House,” Grisham said at the time. “I am very proud to have been a part of Mrs. Trump's mission to help children everywhere and proud of the many accomplishments of this administration.”