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Ex-White House press secretary's book likens Melania Trump to Marie Antoinette: report

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The former White House press secretary known for never holding a briefing during her stint with the Trump administration takes aim at Melania Trump in a new book.

Politico Playbook reported on Monday that Stephanie Grisham, who served as the former first lady's chief of staff near the end of her time in the White House, compares Melania Trump to Marie Antoinette.

Playbook obtained excerpts of the book, “I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw in The Trump White House,” which is due out in October.

Stephanie Grisham watches as President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet people during the annual Congressional Picnic on the South Lawn on June 21, 2019, in Washington D.C.
Stephanie Grisham watches as President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet people during the annual Congressional Picnic on the South Lawn on June 21, 2019, in Washington D.C.

Grisham writes that Melania Trump was “Dismissive. Defeated. Detached,” according to Playbook. While a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, Melania Trump was “preparing for a photo shoot of a rug she had selected” and declined to tweet Grisham’s suggestion that Americans have the right to peaceful protest but not “lawlessness and violence.”

The office of Melania Trump dismissed Grisham and her book in its statement to Playbook, saying “through mistruth and betrayal, she seeks to gain relevance and money at the expense of Mrs. Trump.”

Grisham also wrote that while she tried to persuade Melania Trump that the 2020 election was not stolen from her husband, the then-first lady told her “something bad happened” with the results.

Summer of Trump books and revelations

Grisham's work is the latest in a torrent of books about the Trump administration. Several journalists have penned books about the end of Trump's presidency.

While she's now writing her own tell-all, Grisham often found herself responding to similar work from others while she worked in the White House.

When Stephanie Winston Wolkoff wrote her "Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship With the First Lady" in August 2020, Grisham, acting as Melania Trump's chief of staff, derided the author and her book, calling it "an exercise in bizarre twisting of the truth and misguided blame for the sake of self-pity."

In November 2019, she called the anonymous author of a book about the Trump administration a "coward" and dismissed the book "A Warning" as a "work of fiction," according to The Washington Post.

Who is Stephanie Grisham?

Grisham was the third press secretary in President Donald Trump's White House. She succeeded Sarah Hucakbee Sanders after working in the East Wing as Melania Trump's communications director and deputy chief of staff.

The Arizona native had a reputation as a Trump loyalist. She worked on the 2016 campaign, and worked as White House staff for most of Trump's presidency. She started as an assistant to Trump's first press secretary, Sean Spicer.

Although she held the highly visible post of press secretary for less than a year, she was not a briefing room staple: Grisham did not hold a single briefing during her time as press secretary.

She returned to Melania Trump's staff in April 2020, when Kayleigh McEnany became White House press secretary.

Grisham lasted almost until the very end of the Trump presidency, but she was part of a wave of staffers to exit after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

“It has been an honor to serve the country in the White House," she said in a prepared statement 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.

Contributing: Maria Puente, Courtney Subramanian, Michael Collins

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Stephanie Grisham compares Melania Trump to Marie Antoinette in book

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