Nearly three years after President Trump entered office, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has made a new and odd claim about former Obama administration aides.
On Tuesday morning, CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip tweeted that Grisham claimed that “every office was filled with Obama books” and that former Obama aides left notes saying “you will fail” for incoming Trump aides in 2017. Grisham made the remarks during a radio interview at the White House’s USMCA event earlier Tuesday.
WH Press Sec Stephanie Grisham claims Obama aides left 'you will fail" notes in offices for Trump aides: “We came into the WH, I’ll tell you something. Every office was filled with Obama books and we had notes left behind that said ‘you will fail,’ ‘you aren’t going to make it,’”
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) November 19, 2019
Grisham’s outlandish claim quickly garnered the ire of former Obama administration officials and aides, such as former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
This is another bald faced lie. https://t.co/E1U9KtdL77
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) November 19, 2019
Produce the notes that back this up. I cannot imagine a single one of my former colleagues who would do this. From @BarackObama on down, we all tried to help facilitate a smooth and orderly transition just as President Bush and his team had done for us. https://t.co/tjY3zGdRX8
— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) November 19, 2019
— Jon B. Wolfsthal – aka a Globalist (@JBWolfsthal) November 19, 2019
It's appalling that she thinks our notes would have been that lame. https://t.co/EZWFZYBgDA
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) November 19, 2019
This is false. I left my successor a note that said “if you want advice you can talk to my fist” and then i punched a series holes in the wall that spelled out “JCPOA 4 LYFE BITCH” but then again i quit in 2013 https://t.co/1snZQV2Pby
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) November 19, 2019
A few hours later, Grisham responded to her earlier claim by saying that she was “talking specifically (and honestly) about our experience in the lower press office — nowhere else,” according to a statement obtained by CNN’s Jim Acosta. Grisham added that she doesn’t know “why everyone is so sensitive” about the claim she made.
Grisham response to former Obama staffers pushing back on her comments that nasty notes were left behind during the transition: “I was talking specifically (and honestly) about our experience in the lower press office – nowhere else.” pic.twitter.com/gyq8TygTmR
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 19, 2019
Just minutes after Grisham’s response to the backlash, former first lady Michelle Obama’s press secretary Jojo Rosholm appeared to respond to the controversy by tweeting a note that she says she left Grisham when she took over as the press secretary to first lady Melania Trump in 2017.
— Joanna/JoJo Rosholm (@jojorosholm) November 19, 2019
And it wasn’t just former Obama aides who took issue with Grisham’s claim. Echoing Phillips’ sentiment of wondering “why no one has ever mentioned it before,” journalists such as the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and ABC News’ Jonathan Karl expressed their skepticism over why it took almost three years since Trump entered office for Grisham to make the surprising claim:
How is this first it’s been told of? https://t.co/zsmidROEU0
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 19, 2019
Interesting. Over the past 2.5 years I’ve heard no end of complaints from Trump officials about their Obama predecessors but never has this remarkable detail been mentioned. Would love to see a copy of these “you will fail” notes. https://t.co/BdvIHXaYaq
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) November 19, 2019
I was in the West Wing on the evening of January 20, 2017, talking to several incoming Trump officials as they moved into their offices. I saw no offices "filled with Obama books" and nobody mentioned "you will fail" notes. Here are photos I took at the WH that night pic.twitter.com/TUZhbO6QbN
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) November 19, 2019