I’LL TAKE YOUR QUESTIONS NOW

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As Trump’s press secretary for eight months, Grisham famously held no press briefings—not that there was any shortage of news. One reason, it seems, was that keeping the press away was a good way to stay out of trouble. Her predecessor, Sean Spicer, drew ridicule on Day 1 for a patent lie: “Forcing Sean to claim that the inauguration crowd was bigger than Obama’s, which I imagine Sean also knew was bullshit, was a test. Trump always wanted to see how far you would go to do his bidding; it was his way of measuring your loyalty.” Grisham offers little hard news, but she dishes well. Trump emerges, as in practically every other account, as an enraged, lecherous ogre with a preadolescent brain and a complete lack of any ability to censor himself. Melania Trump bears the Secret Service code name Rapunzel “because she remained in her tower, never descending.” When she did, it was usually to commit some faux pas, like the “I really don’t care, do u?” jacket while on the way to visit incarcerated children on the border. (“What a stupid thing to do.”) Regarding other family members, Ivanka has the depth of an inflatable pool and Jared Kushner, a scheming nature that far transcends the term Machiavellian, with the two showing up at John McCain’s funeral just to be seen. All the “mostly middle-aged white dudes” who made up the Cabinet were useless in the face of events such as “one of our first huge embarrassing, insulting, tone-deaf disasters,” namely Trump’s abysmal response to the White supremacist march in Charlottesville. And so forth, with few surprises, thanks to a narrative path already paved by dozens of other books, save for its moral: In the Trump White House, “instead of focusing on getting productive work done, you just want to survive.”

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