- Stephanie Grisham wrote in her new memoir that Rep. Matt Gaetz “would do anything” for Donald Trump.
- Grisham said Gaetz would regularly be called on to give Trump a pep talk or defend him on TV.
- “Gaetz was our boy,” Grisham wrote in “I’ll Take Your Questions Now.”
Stephanie Grisham, the former White House press secretary, wrote in her new memoir that White House staffers believed Rep. Matt Gaetz “would do anything” for former President Donald Trump.
Grisham said Trump’s aides would get Gaetz, a Florida Republican, on the phone to give the president pep talks or run interference on news shows.
“We all knew that whenever Trump needed someone to defend him on TV on anything, Gaetz was our boy,” Grisham wrote in “I’ll Take Your Questions Now.”
She went on: “He would do anything for Trump and a TV hit — though not necessarily in that order. When the president needed someone to tell him how awesome he was, the staff would get Gaetz on the line and he’d sing for his supper.”
The Florida congressman, who is facing a federal sex-trafficking investigation on suspicion of paying a 17-year-old girl for sex, has long been closely allied with Trump. At one point during Trump’s presidency, Gaetz signed a letter nominating Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize. Two sources told The New York Times in an April report that shortly before Trump left office, Gaetz privately asked the White House for a preemptive pardon for any crimes he may have committed. Trump has said Gaetz never asked him for a pardon, and the congressman has denied the sex-trafficking allegations.
Gaetz told Insider that Trump “relied” on him more as a messenger than he did Grisham, who never held a press briefing while in the White House.
“It is true that President Trump relied on me to effectively convey the America First agenda to the people far more than he ever trusted her to do so,” Gaetz said.
Grisham wrote that the Trump-era White House chief of staff Mark Meadows would also turn to other so-called Trump whisperers, including the Fox News hosts Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity and GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. She said Trump would rely on these men and a few White House aides to keep him informed about “what the base believed.”
“On covid, Meadows and the whisperers nursed Trump’s worst instincts,” she wrote. “One of them told him that he could not wear a mask in public because it would show weakness and piss off the base, and everyone else blindly agreed.”
Grisham wrote that Trump’s aides employed an array of tactics to calm him down when he’d become angry with the state of affairs. The White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino would regularly inform the president of Rasmussen’s poll numbers, which consistently showed better approval ratings for the president than other major polls, Grisham wrote.
She also wrote that the White House aide Max Miller would play the president’s favorite show tunes to prevent him from throwing a tantrum. Trump was said to have dubbed Miller “the Music Man.”
Representatives for Trump and Meadows didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.