Donald Trump assured Russian President Vladimir Putin he was only acting “tougher” for the cameras when they spoke in 2019, according to former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham in her new memoir.
According to an advance copy of Grisham’s forthcoming tell-all “I’ll Take Your Questions Now” obtained by The Washington Post, Grisham says she witnessed Trump telling Putin in advance of a press meeting during the 2019 Group of 20 Summit, “Okay, 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.”
“I’ll Take Your Questions Now,” due out on Oct. 5, also discusses the former president’s trip to Walter Reed Medical Center in 2019, for which no explanation was ever provided at the time. According to the Post, Grisham strongly hints that Trump underwent a standard colonoscopy, but rather than advocate for the procedure for older Americans or use the chance to demystify it, he opted to stay silent — not least of all because he didn’t want to put then-vice president Mike Pence in charge.
“But as with covid, he was too wrapped up in his own ego and his own delusions about his invincibility,” she wrote.
Grisham is best known for never holding a press briefing during her time as White House press secretary. She was involved with the former president’s 2016 campaign and stuck with him all the way through the riots, but resigned the night of Jan. 6. She was the then-first lady’s chief of staff at the time, having been succeeded as press secretary by Kayleigh McEnany.
Earlier this month, former first lady Melania Trump released a scathing statement after Politco reported Grisham’s book details how she declined to call for peace during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The former first lady’s office attacked Grisham for being “unprofessional” during her time in the administration.
“It is an attempt to redeem herself after a poor performance as press secretary, failed personal relationships, and unprofessional behavior in the White House,” the statement said. “Through mistruth and betrayal, she seeks to gain relevance and money at the expense of Mrs. Trump.”