Trump Aide Book

FILE- In this Oct. 3, 2019 file photo, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as President Donald Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Grisham, the former White House press secretary and chief of staff to former first lady Melania Trump, is out with a new book next week that paints a deeply unflattering picture of the former president. She describes him as a man with a “terrifying” temper who ogled a young aide and tried to impress dictators.

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Remember the clever taglines on the movie posters for “Jaws 2”? They said, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.”

After the latest Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans was published, I wonder if our former president had something similar in his mind; something along the lines of, “Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse.” Not seeing his name on a list of people that God Himself has smiled upon, one that has been emblazoned on hundreds of buildings, airplanes, subpoenas, magazines and at least one defunct university was a little like not seeing Dopey’s name on a list of the seven most prominent dwarfs!

This devastating bit of news comes on the heels of two earlier body blows to that impervious ego. First was the rather embarrassing results in Arizona where an examination of possible voter fraud blatantly biased in favor of the big lie concluded that Joe Biden had actually won Mariposa County by more votes than had originally been recorded. Then Wells Fargo put the ex-president’s flagship tower in New York on its watch list because of increasing vacancies.

I don’t think, however, that the impact of the omission from the fabled Forbes list can be overstated on a man who has used the vast wealth he inherited in much the same way that Kim Kardashian has used her panoramic rear end to get noticed. I mean they both depend on people recognizing them for sheer bigness.

According to an article in a March 2016 issue of “Rolling Stone” magazine, our previous president is very sensitive about the size of his riches, continually lobbying editors at Forbes to increase the size. He is just as sensitive about any efforts to determine the extent of his wealth that do not emanate from his own mouth. He sued the author of a 2005 book that put the figure at around $150 million (it was thrown out of court) and made one of his juvenile personal insults about New York Times columnist Gail Collins when she called him a “thousandaire.”

Of course the entire issue could easily be resolved with the disclosure of the tax returns, but they are still embroiled in The Longest Tax Audit In Recorded History. Given what we know of the man, however, it is probably safe to say that, if he was worth anywhere near what he claims to be, it would be posted in neon on a billboard in Times Square.

A new book by another deserter from our ex-president’s coterie of enablers and excusers made its appearance recently, causing some consternation from his usually aloof wife. You must remember Melania, who was to the noble tradition of First Ladies what a dead calm is to a sailing regatta. You got the feeling that when she was required to make a public appearance, she was terrified that someone in the rabble would brush up against the designer clothes she worked so hard to acquire and ruin her entire day.

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Before she joined the ranks of the White House press secretaries, who came and went like trains from Union Station during the previous administration, Stephanie Grisham was Melania’s chief of staff. I’m not going to name her book and I certainly never intend to read it because there is something even more disgusting about a person who, evidently realizing she had hitched her ambitions to the wrong star, decides to cash in on all the she was complicit in by passing off Hollywood style gossip mongering as being historically significant. Who the hell cares what a cardboard first lady did to while away the hours?

Grisham finally resigned after the Jan. 6 insurrection, evidently not recognizing that the mob of fanatics who attacked the Capitol building were doing pretty much the same thing she had been doing for five years. They were just noisier about it. I would wager that very few of them decided to play the cash-in card after the coup failed (unless, of course, they got caught and decided on the “misled” card), as richly deserved as it might be.

The chief duty of the White House press secretary is to keep the media informed as to the decisions being made by the president and his advisors. The media is then responsible to inform the public of policies that may have a profound effect upon their lives. Ms. Grisham must hold some kind of ignominious record for never holding a single press briefing in the entire 10 months of her tenure, and if ever the public needed to know what the reprobate in the White House was up to, it was then. She is busy making the rounds of the talk shows now, seemingly full of chatter when her bank account is at stake.

I have stated this before, but it is worth repeating. Our previous president remained what he always was, a third string celebrity wannabe, despite having the world’s spotlight trained on him for four very long years. It was the people around him — people like Grisham — who, knowing what he was like and what he was capable of doing, who put the United States in peril by placing their own personal ambitions above any duty they felt towards the nation.

In a classic case of too little too late, Grisham is now overflowing with contrition. “I think this will follow me forever. I believe that I was part of something unusually evil, and I hope that it was a one-time lesson for our country, and that I can be a part of making sure that at least that evil doesn’t come back now,” she said.

I couldn’t help but think that part of her idea of “making sure that the evil doesn’t come back” has to do with buying her book as a kind of cautionary tale, but the years during which she was such an avid participant in the horrors has made hardened cynics out of a lot of us.

I’ll take Connie Francis’ version of “Who’s Sorry Now” any day.

Alden Graves has a weekly column in the Vermont News and Media that is scheduled to run on Thursdays.


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