Aides would play show tunes from 'Cats' to calm Trump down, says former press secretary

·Senior Writer
·4-min read

A book from former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham says President Donald Trump’s temper could be frightening — and that aides sometimes needed to play show tunes to calm him down.

Grisham’s book, “I’ll Take Your Questions Now,” is set for release on Oct. 5.

But according to reporting from the New York Times and Washington Post, Grisham said the White House designated an aide to play Trump's favorite show tunes — including "Memory" from "Cats" — when he was particularly angry.

The Times identifies the aide as Max Miller, who is now running for a U.S. House seat in Ohio with Trump’s endorsement. The seat is currently held by GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, who announced his retirement after voting to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham (L) listens to U.S. President Donald Trump talk to reporters before he boards Marine One and departing the White House November 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham listens to President Donald Trump talk to reporters before boarding Marine One at the White House in 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In the book, Grisham claims Trump told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a 2019 summit in Japan that he would “act a little tougher” with him in front of the press, but that it was all for show.

“'It’s for the cameras, and after they leave, we’ll talk. You understand,'” Grisham quotes Trump as saying.

Grisham also writes that Trump was frequently inappropriate with her and other women working for the White House. She says he once described the size of his genitalia to rebut the account of adult film actress Stormy Daniels, and asked Miller, her then-boyfriend, if she was good in bed. She claims Trump was also obsessed with a young female press aide who he once brought to his cabin on Air Force One so he could “look at her [behind].”

And she strongly implies that Trump's surprise visit to Walter Reed medical center in 2019 — which set off speculation that he was ill — was simply for a routine colonoscopy (without naming the procedure). Trump, she writes, didn’t want it known that he would be having the procedure done, partly because he refused to transfer power to Vice President Mike Pence for even a short amount of time, and partly because he didn’t want to be made fun of by late night TV hosts.

Grisham also worked closely with first lady Melania Trump, serving as her spokesperson for much of the administration. In the book, Grisham details Melania’s ire toward her husband for his reported extramarital affairs and her growing withdrawal from life in the White House.

Grisham resigned from her role as the first lady’s chief of staff on Jan. 6, following the Capitol siege. In the book, the former aide claims she asked Melania if she wanted to send a tweet decrying the violence, an offer her boss declined.

According to reporting earlier this month from Politico, Grisham compared the first lady to Marie Antoinette, writing that she saw her like “the doomed French queen. Dismissive. Defeated. Detached.” Grisham said Melania agreed with her husband's conspiracy theories that "something bad happened" during the 2020 election and declined to invite incoming first lady Jill Biden for tea.

Pro-Trump supporters storm the US Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

After taking over as the president’s third press secretary in July 2019, Grisham never held a press conference, and she was replaced by Kayleigh McEnany the following April. In the book, Grisham writes that she held no press conferences because she “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.”

Before taking over as press secretary, Grisham had a history of lying to cover up for the Trumps. In one instance, she insisted that Donald Trump had visited Scotland prior to the Brexit vote in 2016 and predicted the result, even though the then candidate had arrived after the vote occurred. In another, she stated that the coat emblazoned with “I don’t care” that the first lady wore to a child detention center was “just a jacket,” a claim later refuted by Melania Trump herself.

Grisham has continued a trend of some former Trump staffers writing books that criticize the administration and family members. Others have leaned into their ties, including Grisham’s predecessor in the role, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has since launched a gubernatorial campaign in Arkansas.

“The intent behind this book is obvious,” Melania Trump’s office said in a statement after one passage was leaked.

“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.”

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