In one bizarre exchange with Kushner, Grisham recalls how he would secretly brag to the staff about his ability to control President Donald Trump. He came to her office amid the first impeachment hearings and said that they needed a war room. Trump had vetoed the idea before, saying that it would make him look bad. Jared wanted the war room, however.
"In [Trump's] mind, if we made a big, visible effort to defend him, he would look guilty," wrote Grisham. "The real problem, of course, was that even if we assembled the finest communicators in the land and put together talking points that would make Rachel Maddow proclaim Trump's innocence, it wouldn't make a bit of difference; Trump would go out and tweet whatever he wanted, or he'd let Rudy Giuliani go say something bonkers."
Jared said he didn't care about any of that and gave a "wink" before saying, "let me take care of the president."
She said that Jared "loved to brag about how easily he could control his father-in-law, as though he were the ultimate Trump whisperer. I was like, whatever, dude. I don't have time to deal with these daddy issues."
She said that he then dictated to her who she had to hire, which ultimately made morale even worse. She tried to warn him that they could do the work if they only had access to the information. Given the White House was full of leaks, she told him that angering the coms team would just make things worse.
"The person Jared had chosen was known as a leaker to some of his colleagues and those on my staff, and I rightfully predicted that if my deputies caught wind of his coming on board, they would not be happy," she recalled.
"Steph, we're not here to worry about hurt feelings," Jared claimed. "We are here to work."
"I agree, but we can't work without information; I'm not sure how adding people corrects the actual problem," Grisham said, noting how condescending Kushner was being.
She said that he wasn't friendly and naive anymore. He'd become "all-powerful and entitled." When she expressed concerns to Trump, he warned that she probably didn't want to get on Kushner's bad side.
"I'm not sure the president necessarily thought that Jared was a genius," she explained. "Or that he thought that Jared was going to fix all of his problems with a wave of his hand—no one could. In my view, Trump gave Jared basically unlimited power for one reason only: Ivanka. He probably didn't want to tick off his baby girl. That was a reminder to me that no matter how close I might feel to the Trumps, I wasn't family. And family trumped all."
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