White House staffers ‘irritated’ they didn’t get Hope Hicks’ $2m gig and Trump’s attention, says Grisham

‘We all would have loved to take a cushy job somewhere else for two years so that we would be begged to come back to the White House to ‘save’ the administration’, former press secretary says

Justin Vallejo
New York
Friday 01 October 2021 21:29
Who is Hope Hicks?

The White House was seemingly filled with gossip and jealousy after Donald Trump’s favourite adviser Hope Hicks was begged to leave a cushy, $2m corporate gig to “save” the administration amid the Covid pandemic.

In a new excerpt from Stephanie Grisham’s forthcoming book, I’ll Take Your Questions Now, the former press secretary writes she was “irritated” that Ms Hicks returned to the White House after “taking the easy way out” two years earlier.

Something of a Trump-whisperer, Ms Hicks was considered one of the former president’s most trusted advisers when she left his administration for a job with Fox Corporation.

Ms Hicks returned to the White House in February 2020 just as the Covid pandemic began to drive the news cycle.

“She had left for a sabbatical at Fox, where she had a great title and reportedly made close to $2 million. I can’t pretend that her presence didn’t irritate me,” Ms Grisham wrote in an excerpt published by Politico.

Preview copies of the new book have been delivered to media outlets, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, ahead of its release on 5 October.

“In my eyes and the eyes of others who had stayed to deal with all of the craziness, Hope had taken the easy way out,” Ms Grisham wrote.

“We all would have loved to take a cushy job somewhere else for two years so that we would be begged to come back to the White House to ‘save’ the administration.”

Ms Hicks was Mr Trump’s communications director before leaving the White House in 2018, and on her return reported to Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Ms Hicks and Mr Kushner, along with Ivanka Trump, were of particular irritation to Ms Grisham during her time at the White House.

After Ms Hicks returned, Kayleigh McEnany was brought in to replace Ms Grisham, who hadn’t once briefed the media in her nine months as the president’s spokeswoman.

She returned to the East Wing to serve as the chief of staff and spokeswoman for Melania Trump.

“When I worked for the first lady in the East Wing, we had all come to call Jared and Ivanka ‘the interns’ because they represented in our minds obnoxious, entitled know-it-alls,” Ms Grisham wrote.

Ms Grisham blames the trio for Mr Trump’s last-minute Oval Office address to the nation about the Covid-19 pandemic on 11 March, 2020

“One of my other biggest personal regrets is that I didn’t have the courage to speak out against Jared, Ivanka and Hope about the potential dangers of addressing the nation without any Covid response strategy in place,” she wrote.

In multiple statements, Mr Trump said Ms Grisham’s “untrue” claims were the result of a disgruntled employee who didn’t “have what it takes” after a break-up, in an apparent reference to her split with another White House official, Max Miller.

“She became very angry and bitter after her break up and as time went on she was seldom relied upon, or even thought about. She had big problems and we felt that she should work out those problems for herself,” Mr Trump said.

“Now, like everyone else, she gets paid by a radical left-leaning publisher to say bad and untrue things.”

His spokeswoman, Liz Harrington, added that “recently published photos raise serious questions about her conduct and judgement”.

“Publishers should be ashamed of themselves for preying on desperate people who see the short term gain in writing a book full of falsehoods,” Ms Harrington said.

“The little substance of her book has – if you can make it through the juvenile gossip – flies in the face of reality and deserves no serious recognition.”

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