White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham gave her first interview in her new role on Wednesday evening, slamming former aide Anthony Scaramucci for his attacks on Donald Trump and saying the president would decide when the daily media briefings return.
Grisham spoke with Eric Bolling of the conservative Sinclair network for her first on-camera interview as press secretary. The two had worked together in the past in coordinating first lady Melania Trump’s participation in opioid town halls led by Bolling.
Bolling, a former Fox News host, first talked with Scaramucci about his recent criticism of the president before bringing Grisham on his ‘America This Week’ show to counter that.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham gave her first interview in her new role to Sinclair’s Eric Bolling
Grisham slammed Anthony Scaramucci for criticizing the president in an effort to get more TV time
Grisham did not hold back in her attacks on the former White House communications director.
She accused Scaramucci of trash talking Trump because he wanted more TV and issued a subtle warning that the White House has more information on his 11-day tenure there that staff has not yet released.
‘Antony says he was ejected from the White House after 11 days and that’s because he did an interview that was profanity laced with a reporter and now he’s suddenly media darling. But there are some other things that were happening at the White House that we won’t talk about that he had to be removed. And the president removed him quickly,’ she noted.
Scaramucci was fired by then-White House chief of staff John Kelly in one of his first acts on the job. Scaramucci had given an expletive-filled interview to The New Yorker where he vowed to fire everyone on the White House communications staff if the reporter didn’t reveal a source to him.
He has claimed he was brought on the White House staff to find the source of leaks to the media about Trump.
Grisham fired back that she wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up working for CNN or MSNBC after his wave of TV appearances in which he has accused Trump of mental incompetence, compared him to a nuclear disaster and likened him to the Wicked Witch of the West in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’
Trump’s new spokesperson and chief defender echoed the president’s argument that Scaramucci just wanted to get on TV.
‘I have a theory. I think that he wasn’t getting enough TV time and this is now giving him more TV time,’ Grisham charged.
‘He’s had a ton of TV time. He was bragging about that. So it’s just about getting more TV time. And he’s going to jump to some other candidate and continue to promote them. And this is just what he does,’ she added.
Trump made the same accusation in a Monday tweet, writing: ‘He just wanted to be on TV!’
In his interview with Bolling, Scaramucci denied he was criticizing the president to get an air time or that he was job auditioning.
‘I don’t need a job at CNN or MSNBC,’ he said, adding: ‘I don’t need the money.’
President Trump and Scaramucci have been in a war of words
Stephanie Grisham formally started as White House press secretary in the beginning of August and has yet to hold a briefing in the press room
He also continued his streak of criticism against Trump. The two men have engaged in a war of words for the past week with neither side holding back when it comes to insulting the other.
‘He’s mentally declining,’ Scaramucci said of the president.
He also predicted Trump won’t run for reelection in 2020 – despite the fact the president already formally announced his reelection bid and has a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., on Thursday night.
And he claimed he didn’t turn on Trump for the money.
‘I would never switch my position due to money. I’m switching my position because the guy’s acting crazy,’ Scaramucci said.
Grisham denied his accusations against the president.
‘That’s ridiculous,’ she said when asked about his charges on Trump’s mental health.
She also warned the president would not hold back in defending himself.
‘The president is going to counter punch when someone body goes at him. That’s how he is. So he’s clearly not happy about it,’ she said.
Grisham started out with Trump as a press wrangler on his 2016 campaign. After starting in the West Wing press shop she moved over to run communications for the first lady in the East Wing.
Melania Trump announced on June 25 that Grisham would replace Sarah Sanders as press secretary after Sanders left the White House.
Grisham formally took over at the beginning of August and has yet to appear in the White House briefing room for an on-camera briefing.
Stephanie Grisham also serves as Melania Trump’s press secretary and is seen here with the first lady during her 2018 trip to Africa
Stephanie Grisham on Air Force One with President Trump
She said it would be up to the president when the daily press briefings returned. She also pointed out Trump often speaks to the media himself and noted two recent briefings from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli.
‘We’re going to talk about it,’ she said of the daily briefings making a return. ‘That will be ultimately up to the president. We have had two press briefings with Secretary Mnuchin and with Ken Cuccinelli. Those worked out well and the press was really happy about that.’
‘You will hear from me,’ she promised, adding: ‘You’re hearing from me right now.’
She also argued the president is accessible on his own.
‘But the president also – he’s so accessible. So right now I think that’s good enough,’ she said. ‘No question goes unanswered. He will take questions on a variety of subjects.’
She outlined the times the president has spoken to the media at the White House and during his travels. She also argued she was accessible to the media in a ‘different’ way.
‘In terms of beating me up for not doing enough or doing too much – the president is so accessible. In my three and half weeks on the job I’ve seen him gaggle for 45 minutes at Marine One, have them into the Cabinet room for over an hour, have them into the Oval Office, he gaggled under the wing at Bedminister. He is the most accessible president in modern history. I don’t what any of the press could complain about. I’m doing my best in this new role to be accessible to them as well in different ways. But we’re just a different White House,’ she said.
And Grisham pointed out she’s wearing three different hats in the Trump administration.
‘You have to remember too: I’ve got three roles right now – first lady’s office, director of communications in the West Wing and press secretary,’ she said.
‘So I’m getting to know my teams. I’m rebuilding some of the press teams a little bit. I’m get up to speed on policy. There’s a lot of work being done behind the scenes. It’s not all about a press briefing. And, honestly, the president is his best spokesperson,’ she added.
Stephanie Grisham also addressed a run-in with North Korean officials during Trump’s July visit
Grisham also talked about an incident in North Korea where she got into a brawl with officials who were trying to restrict the American media traveling with Trump. The July scuffle at the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-Un at the DMZ happened before she formally started her new job but had been announced in the role.
‘The North Koreans, I think, were a little taken aback by our press pool. The president wanted our press to be able to see the meeting so we tried to move them into the room and security just was not having it so I did the best I could to get them in there,’ she said.
North Korean guards tried to physically prevent members of the American press pool from entering the meeting space, pushing and shoving and causing the Secret Service to intervene.
Grisham got involved, shouting ‘go, go’ to journalists as she created a path for them.
‘I think it’s important that the press get access to something like that. So does the president,’ she told Bolling. ‘And I get very protective of the traveling press pool who come with us. They deserve to be in there. They traveled a long way.’