Former president Donald Trump called one of his press secretaries “weak” and “worthless”, according to a new book by ABC White House correspondent Jon Karl.
According to the book Front Row at the Trump Show, in 2020 Mr Trump demanded that Stephanie Grisham remove a CNN reporter from a press briefing. When Ms Grisham said she couldn’t do that, the president allegedly fired back, “That’s because you are weak! You are worthless!”
The book excerpt was first reported by Politico.
Ms Grisham was Mr Trump’s third press secretary, and made history by never holding a single White House press conference. That, apparently, was not hostile enough to the press for Mr Trump.
Politico remarked that the name-calling episode with Ms Grisham “is surprising given her seeming resentment of reporters”, something one might expect to endear her to the famously press-hating president.
According to Mr Karl’s book, the tantrum was set off by a Covid-19 briefing being held by Vice President Mike Pence. At that briefing, CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins asked the vice president a series of questions that apparently aroused Mr Trump’s ire. Incensed, the president allegedly marched up to Ms Grisham’s office to demand Ms Collins’ removal.
“Go down there and get her out of there,” Mr Trump reportedly commanded.
“Mr. President, I really cannot do that,” Ms Grisham answered.
That’s when Mr Trump exploded, according to Mr Karl.
Ms Collins appeared to confirm the story on Twitter, posting a photo of the excerpt along with the caption, “Thanks for the memories.” She addressed the tweet to Mr Karl and Politico.
Politico also reported one other anecdote from “Trump Show.” In March 2020, a Navy hospital ship was set to arrive in Seattle to help hospitals overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients – but Mr Trump intervened.
“Don’t you think we should send it to California? Gavin has been saying such nice things about me,” the president allegedly said, referring to California governor Gavin Newsom. In contrast, Mr Trump reportedly called Washington State governor Jay Inslee a “showboater” and “a real jerk”.
Mr Trump redirected the ship to Los Angeles.