News & Politics

The Latest Trump Administration Exposé Is One of the Dishiest Yet. Here Are 22 Choice Anecdotes.

Former press secretary Stephanie Grisham’s memoir comes out next week, but plenty of stories have leaked.

Photograph courtesy of the White House.

Excerpts have been rolling out from I’ll Take Your Questions Now, the forthcoming book from former Trump administration press secretary Stephanie Grisham. Another Trump exposé you might be yawning? But the memoir from Grisham—who also served as Melania Trump’s chief of staff— is looking to be especially juicy (slash trashy). The book comes out on Tuesday, but here are some of the dishiest anecdotes that have been reported so far.

  • Grisham alleges she never gave a press briefing because she was afraid Trump would eventually make her say something to the press that would make her “sound like a lunatic.”
  • Trump acted tougher on Russian president Vladimir Putin in front of the cameras—and then told Putin that it was just an act.
  • Trump would use sexist language towards women, and once requested that a female press aide be brought to his Air Force One cabin so he could “look at her [behind].”
  • Melania Trump was furious when the Stormy Daniels story broke alongside other accusations of Donald Trump’s infidelity. She went out of her way to scorn her husband, and even had Grisham hand-select a handsome military aide to escort her into Trump’s first State of the Union address. She cropped the president out of photos and omitted him from tweets. Grisham says Melania scoffed at Trump’s and Michael Cohen’s denials of the allegations, telling her: “I don’t believe any of that [expletive].”
  • Melania Trump would reportedly change into a robe and slippers when she boarded Air Force One.
  • President Trump instructed Grisham to research ways the press could be permanently evicted from the White House briefing room.
  • After Stormy Daniels denigrated Trump’s penis size in an interview, he called Grisham from Air Force One to defend his appendage as neither small nor toadstool shaped.
  • Trump aide Max Miller was designated as the administration’s “Music Man.” He was responsible for playing Trump’s favorite showtunes (among them, “Memory” from Cats) to calm him during moments of rage.
  • Trump underwent what Grisham implies to be a colonoscopy without anesthesia because, according to Grisham, temporarily assigning power to Mike Pence would have felt like “showing weakness.” He failed to disclose what that 2019 visit to Walter Reed was for because he didn’t want to be the “butt of the joke” on late night programs.
  • The Secret Service nicknamed Melania “Rapunzel,” because she rarely left the White House. Her excursions were so infrequent that Secret Service agents would request to be on her detail because it meant they could spend more time with their families.
  • Grisham alleges that Trump cuts his own hair with a massive pair of scissors more appropriate for a ribbon cutting ceremony.
  • Grisham calls South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham “Senator Freeloader” for his gluttonous behavior around appetizers at Trump’s New Jersey compound Bedminster.
  • After a meeting between Trump and Putin, Grisham says Fiona Hill — then the White House’s top Russia advisor — told her Putin hired an especially attractive interpreter to distract Trump, and kept clearing his throat during the meeting in a seeming attempt to trigger Trump’s germaphobia.
  • When White House staff permitted the Bush family to use Air Force One for H.W. Bush’s funeral, staffers withheld the details (namely that the plane would be carrying H.W.’s casket) from Trump, as they “knew he wouldn’t be okay with that, even for a brief trip…Dead bodies, death, sickness — those things really seemed to creep him out.”
  • Trump once asked Grisham’s then-boyfriend, White House aide/music man Max Miller, if Grisham was good in bed.
  • Melania Trump was so obsessed with photos that she once recreated a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the White House tennis pavilion so she could have new shots taken.  
  • Melania Trump and White House staff referred to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, as “the princess,” perhaps due to how often she brought up the phrase “my father” in meetings. Grisham called Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner, who also worked in the White House, the “slim reaper,” for his alleged habit of butting into—and ruining—other people’s projects.
  • Grisham and Melania privately agreed that if the Trump team lost the 2020 election it would be because of Kushner, who by the end of Trump’s time in office was effectively serving as his chief of staff.
  • Grisham reveals that Melania Trump shared her husband’s view that the election was rigged: “Something bad happened,” the first lady told her.
  • On January 6, 2021, Melania was working on a photo shoot of a rug during the Capitol riot. When Grisham asked her if she’d like to make a statement about the insurrection, she simply said, “no.”
  • Melania spent lots of time working on her photo albums, which Grisham described as “one of her two children.”
  • Melania was strongly against the White House’s 2020 election night party, as she had concerns it could spark another coronavirus outbreak. She was so checked-out by the end of Trump’s term that she slept through the entire event.


Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.