September 29, 2021

When Stephanie Grisham was the White House press secretary for President Donald Trump, she often had little to say. After all, during her nine-month tenure from July 2019 to April 2020, Grisham did not hold a single official White House press conference from the briefing room.

Now she is saying plenty. In her new book — “I’ll Take Your Questions Now,” out next week — Grisham doesn’t hold back in dishing dirt on her former boss. She claims Trump abused staff, bowed down to Russian President Vladimir Putin, encouraged staff to lie and made sexual comments about a young White House aide, among many other revelations.

In copies of the book obtained by The New York Times and The Washington Post, Grisham even explains why she never held a press conference: “I knew that sooner or later the president would want me to tell the public something that was not true or that would make me sound like a lunatic.”

In dealing with Putin, Grisham said that when the two met at the Group of 20 Summit in 2019, Trump told Putin, “OK, I’m going to act a little tougher with you for a few minutes. But it’s for the cameras, and after they leave we’ll talk. You understand.”

Grisham recounted how Trump was obsessed with an unnamed White House press aid and once asked that she be brought into his cabin on Air Force One so he could “look at her (behind).” Grisham also said he made inappropriate comments to Grisham, including asking her how her then-boyfriend (also a Trump aide) was in the bedroom.

She called Trump’s temper “terrifying” and wrote, “When I began to see how his temper wasn’t just for shock value or the cameras, I began to regret my decision to go to the West Wing.” About the culture of lying in the White House, Grisham wrote, “​​Casual dishonesty filtered through the White House as if it were in the air conditioning system.”

These are just a few examples. Check out stories by The Washington Post’s Jada Yuan and Josh Dawsey and The New York Times’ Katie Rogers for more details.

Grisham also served as press secretary for first lady Melania Trump and said Melania didn’t believe her husband’s denials about affairs with Stormy Daniels and others.

About her time in the White House, Grisham writes, “I should have spoken up more.”

Grisham’s book comes on the heels of “Peril,” the book written by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of The Washington Post which details many of the troubling events at the end of the Trump presidency. There’s no reason to doubt the reporting of Woodward and Costa, two highly respected journalists, as well as the accounts in several other Trump books.

But it will be interesting to see the reaction to Grisham’s book, considering it’s a close-up and firsthand account of someone who was very much inside the Trump White House and was, it was thought, a Trump devotee. She was working with Trump during the 2016 campaign before Trump even became president, and had always been one of his fiercest defenders. She stayed in the White House for all but the last two weeks of his presidency. She resigned as Melania Trump’s chief of staff and spokesperson on Jan. 6.

In a statement provided to CNN’s Kate Bennett, Donald Trump said, “Too bad that sleaze bag publishers continue to report this very boring garbage. We and the MAGA movement are totally used to it. And someday in the not too distant future we will have our voice back and be treated fairly by the press.”

In a response to the book, Melania Trump’s office told the Post, “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.”

Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington called Grisham a “disgruntled former employee” and told the Post, “This book is another pitiful attempt to cash in on the President’s strength and sell lies about the Trump family.”

Capital Gazette shooter sentenced

Summerleigh Winters Geimer, left, and her sister Montana Winters Geimer, daughters of Wendi Winters, a community beat reporter who died in the Capital Gazette newsroom shooting, react during a press conference following the sentencing verdict of Jarrod W. Ramos on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The man who shot and killed five employees of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, in 2018 is going to spend the rest of his life in jail. Jarrod Ramos was sentenced Tuesday to five life sentences without parole, plus one life sentence, plus 345 years. The sentences will run consecutively.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Michael Wachs said, “To say the defendant showed a callous and cruel disregard for the sanctity of human life is simply an understatement. What I impose is what the defendant deserves.”

Wachs added, “The defendant did not have the final say. The First Amendment and the community got the final say.”

It was June 2018 that Ramos entered the newspaper’s building and went on a shooting spree, killing five and injuring two others.

The New York Times’ Christine Hauser wrote, “Mr. Ramos’s lawyers had described him as a loner who was fueled by delusions and who believed that The Capital Gazette and the Maryland court system were conspiring against him. Prosecutors said Mr. Ramos had carried out the shooting as an attempt at revenge after The Capital Gazette published an article in 2011 about his guilty plea in a previous harassment case.”

Selene San Felice, a former Gazette reporter who was in the newsroom during the shooting, told reporters after Tuesday’s sentencing, “His part of the story is over now. It is an immense amount of closure to be able to see them take him away forever.”

Alex Mann and Lilly Price have the story in the Capital Gazette.

‘The View’s’ guest co-host

Caitlyn Jenner was a special co-host on Tuesday’s “The View” and said she wants to stay involved in politics, including perhaps running for office again.

“Would I run again? Yes, I want to stay involved,” Jenner said. “It really opened my eyes to political life. It opened my eyes, but there are other things I’d like to do. One is to try to get the Republican Party to be more inclusive.”

Jenner was critical of the party, saying “old school” Republicans were hurting the party. She said, “There’s got to be a next generation to come in, and I think they’re out there. And I’m hopeful that they’re out there, but we have to change, we have to do a better job.”

Roberts interviews Obama

Former President Barack Obama, left, and former first lady Michelle Obama toss shovels of dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Obama Presidential Center on Tuesday in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Robin Roberts interviewed former President Barack Obama on Tuesday’s “Good Morning America.” They talked about President Joe Biden’s multitrillion-dollar domestic agenda, gun violence in Chicago, immigration and his new presidential center, which broke ground on Tuesday.

Obama told Roberts that the country needs the programs in Biden’s agenda and that he supports Biden’s plan to tax the rich to help pay for them.

He told Roberts, “You’re talking about us stepping up and spending money on providing child care tax credits — making those permanent to help families, who for a long time, have needed help. You’re looking at making our infrastructure function more efficiently … you’re talking about rebuilding a lot of buildings, roads, bridges, ports so that they are fortified against climate change. And also, that we start investing in the kinds of energy efficiency that’s going to be required to battle climate change.”

About the new presidential center — which will include a library, museum, gardens, and a children’s playground — on Chicago’s South Side, Obama said, “The young person who’s growing up across the street or down the block or a few miles away, now suddenly have a place where concerts and speeches and debates and forums are taking place that they can access. If they want to bring about change in their neighborhoods, they’ve got resources and people who can teach them how to do that effectively. And they’re going to be able to see themselves as part of that change in a way that, so often, they don’t feel right now.”

The Mannings’ big hit

The “Monday Night Football” alternate broadcast on ESPN2 with Peyton and Eli Manning continues to impress. As a lifelong football fan and avid watcher of “Monday Night Football,” I can’t get enough of the Mannings’ broadcast. It’s light, informative, funny and it really does feel like you’re hanging out with your buddies.

Now, if you’re a diehard fan of one of the teams playing in the game, you likely would prefer the traditional “MNF” broadcast. You’re too invested in the game, so you want the straight stuff.

But if your team is not playing in the game then the Mannings’ broadcast is the way to go. And not only do you get the Mannings, but you get guests. Monday’s guests included basketball great LeBron James and the best college football coach ever — Nick Saban of Alabama.

The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman tweeted, “it’s wild that the ManningCast is both better at teaching you about football AND more entertaining than the average NFL broadcast. Normally sports broadcasts try to do one or the other”

The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis retweeted Sherman and wrote, “This is what’s genuinely mind-blowing. And they’re talking to guests *and* doing bits *and* not missing plays.”

I’m now not looking forward to the next three weeks. The Mannings aren’t doing every Monday night game, and aren’t scheduled to do it again until Oct. 25 when the New Orleans Saints travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks.

Oh, there was one, uh, incident during Monday’s broadcast. Eli was telling a story about how a 9-year-old kid once gave him the double middle finger and Eli actually demonstrated it. Eli, not quite understanding how live TV works, apparently thought ESPN could blur it out. He later apologized, saying, “I guess that’s frowned upon.”

New York Post sports columnist Andrew Marchand wrote about Eli and his work on the “MNF” broadcast.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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