Ex-press secretary Stephanie Grisham: If Trump wins in 2024, 2nd term will be about 'revenge'

·Senior Writer
·3-min read

If former President Donald Trump runs and wins back the White House in 2024, his second term in office will be all about "revenge," his former press secretary said Monday.

In an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Stephanie Grisham said that the former president's administration often held back in pursuing retribution against his perceived political enemies because he was seeking reelection.

"I want to just warn people that once he takes office, if he were to win, he doesn't have to worry about reelection anymore," Grisham said. "He will be about revenge. He will probably have some pretty draconian policies."

Grisham, who served as Trump's fourth White House press secretary from July 2019 to April 2020, said, "There were conversations a lot of times where people would say, 'That will be the second term. That will be the second term.' Meaning, we won't have to worry about a reelection."

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as President Trump speaks to the media aboard Air Force One, Aug. 7, 2019. (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as President Donald Trump speaks to the media aboard Air Force One in 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump, who lost his reelection bid in 2020, is eyeing another run, but was reportedly talked out of formally announcing one this early in the campaign cycle.

According to the Washington Post, he wanted to announce his 2024 candidacy in August, when President Biden was overseeing the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. But he was reportedly urged to wait.

Grisham, who also served as former first lady Melania Trump's spokesperson, is embarking on a publicity tour for a new tell-all book, "I'll Take Your Questions Now," set for release Tuesday.

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In a statement released by Melania Trump's office Monday, the former first lady called Grisham a "deceitful and troubled individual who doesn't deserve anyone's trust" and who is "desperately trying to rehabilitate her tarnished reputation by manipulating and distorting the truth."

In her interview with Stephanopoulos, Grisham said she expected such blowback from the Trumps about her book. Other former Trump aides who have spoken out against his administration have faced similarly harsh criticism.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as President Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn, Nov. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Grisham listens as Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn in 2019. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

"If they don't like the message, they're going to destroy the messenger," Grisham said, adding: "I know — I was part of doing that sometimes."

Grisham said that, in retrospect, it was a mistake to work for President Trump.

"I do believe he gave voice to a lot of people who did feel forgotten," she said. "But I think that many of us, myself included, got into that White House, and got heady with power and became really — we didn't think about serving the country anymore. It was about surviving."

Grisham is not the only former Trump administration staffer speaking out about what went on in the West Wing.

On ABC's "The View" Monday, Alyssa Farah, former White House communications director, said that she resigned from her position in December 2020 after false election claims began circulating.

"I started to see a tick up in rhetoric around the election was stolen, seeing some of my colleagues go on TV say as much," Farah said. "And I fundamentally knew that wasn't true and it could have dangerous consequences."

Alyssa Farah, White House communications director, speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing, Oct. 4, 2020. (Erin Scott/Reuters)
Alyssa Farah, White House communications director, speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing, Oct. 4, 2020. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

"I thought I had a duty, first and foremost, to the country to tell the truth," she added. "I left because I was afraid of where these myths could take us.”

Farah, who served as former Vice President Mike Pence's spokeswoman, said she would not vote for Trump were he to run for a second term.

"We've got to move on from this era," she said.

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