Speed Reads

'Dismissive. Defeated. Detached.'

Former aide compares Melania Trump to 'doomed French queen' Marie Antoinette

Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary who famously held no press briefings and chief of staff to first lady Melania Trump, resigned on Jan. 6, shortly after pro-Trump rioters besieged the U.S. Capitol. She fills in some details in her upcoming book, I'll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw in The Trump White House

According to details of the book published Monday morning by Politico, Grisham writes that she sent Melania Trump a text message at 1:25 p.m., asking if she wanted  "to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness and violence?" Trump sent a one-word replay a minute later: "No." The first lady was, at that moment, preparing for a photo shoot of a rug she had chosen for the White House, Grisham writes.  

Melania Trump's indifference to the Jan. 6 riot "broke" Grisham, she writes, especially since she had spent years defending her against charges she was a out-of-touch dilettante in the mold of Marie Antionette. Now, Grisham says, according to Politico, she sees Melania like "the doomed French queen. Dismissive. Defeated. Detached." Grisham also says she was "shocked" that the first lady appeared to agree with her husband's delusions that the election was illegitimate.

Politico's Kyle Cheney notes a new Jan. 6 timeline uncovered in Grisham's memoir, pointing out that if Melania Trump knew about the violence at the Capitol "an hour before Trump tweeted his 2:24 pm attack on [Vice President Mike] Pence," that "further undercuts the paper-thin claim that Trump wasn't aware Pence faced danger."

Melania Trump's office said in a statement that Grisham, a years-long loyalist who joined the Trump campaign in 2015, is making an "obvious" 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." She issued a similar statement after another longtime aide and former friend, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, wrote an op-ed arguing that Melania's Jan. 6 response made her "complicit in the destruction of America."