I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House, by Stephanie Grisham

Eight stars

While I have read a number of books about life in the Trump Administration, from both reporters and historians, it is nice to get an insider’s point of view to balance the storytelling. Stephanie Grisham’s various roles with both the President and First Lady allow her to offer some first-hand accounts of events, adding validity to the narrative. While some call it a cash grab, Grisham effectively shows that pulling back the curtain to offer the truth is the best way to go about dispelling myths. A tell-all of sorts that offers justifications on both sides of the fence, which is likely to impress and anger people in equal measure.

Grisham explores her long-time work with the Trump Team, dating back to an awkward meeting in a women’s washroom with The Donald during an early 2016 presidential primary. That oddity set the tone for the next number of years, in which Grisham would be one of the closest members of the group, seeing a great deal more than many others. She speaks frankly about the aura around Trump, while injecting her sentiment that it would be a long shot for him to win the ultimate goal, control of the White House. However, as many readers will know, America entered some sort of vortex and reality took a break for four years.

Grisham took on an interior role within the White House as soon as the inauguration ended, working with the Communications Team before being poached by the First Lady. Grisham recounts many intriguing stories about Melania Trump and working so closely to her. Pulling on a number of the stories that popped up in the headlines, Grisham seeks to dispel some of the media spin about the First Lady and her perceived rough exterior, turning it into an exploration of how the third Mrs. Trump was misunderstood and sought to keep things in some form of higher level of decorum.

Another key theme throughout the book was the dislike Grisham had for the First Children, citing their spoiled nature and constant need for the spotlight. While all of the elder Trump children vied for publicity, it would appear that Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, went above and beyond to turn the White House and Trump presidency into their own game, in which they would be in control of massive power simply by dropping POTUS’s name. Ivanka’s moniker of Princess was shared by many and it appears to ring true, at least based on the stories that emerge throughout this piece.

There was a strong sense of sycophancy throughout the book, justifying the actions of Trump and Melania on many occasions, though the barbed comments help offset the irritating justifications. Readers must surely understand that working with a man whose ego is as delicate as a piece of china. Pushing too hard could, and likely would, lead to a dismissal by Twitter pronouncement. Grisham explains that this was quite common and the lack of decency around it was not lost on many within the West Wing.

While I do not need a tell-all book to sway me into believing that Donald Trump ran a tight and chaotic ship, it is interesting to get yet another insider’s look into how things played out to justify some of the sentiments I have felt for a long while. Grisham pulls no punches, though shields the First Family throughout the piece as well, perhaps not feeling the need to air dirty laundry or risk libel. Still, it was eye opening to see some of the backstories surrounding media events and insider news that may not have made it into the press on a daily basis. With her well-developed chapters and ease with which she can transmit it, Grisham does a formidable job at conveying the truth as she knows it. Readers will likely be impressed to see behind the curtain, even if there is a haze of aggrandisement at times as well.

Kudos, Madam Grisham, for a balanced look at life in the Trump White House and the circus that became America’s Olympus of political power.