'Rapunzel', Press, and 'The Jacket': Melania Trump Through the Eyes of Her Ex-Chief of Staff Grisham

© AP Photo / KEVIN LAMARQUEU.S. first lady Melania Trump walks up the White House West Wing colonnade as she arrives to deliver her live address to the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 25, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. first lady Melania Trump walks up the White House West Wing colonnade as she arrives to deliver her live address to the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 25, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.10.2021
Former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham has stolen the spotlight with her new tell-all book "I'll Take Your Questions Now", dedicated to the Trump-era White House. The book has conquered media headlines even though it is yet to hit stores.
Melania Trump, the notoriously private and reserved former US first lady, did not let a lot of people into her inner circle, aside from Stephanie Grisham - her ex-chief of staff who obtained this position after having served as one of Donald Trump's White House press secretaries.
In a new book, Grisham offers fresh details and sneak-peeks into Melania life, including the nicknames created for the ex-FLOTUS by the Secret Service, her relations with other members of the Trump family, her "obsession" with the press, and the hidden motives behind her sometimes scandalous choice of clothes for certain events.
The book has predictably prompted little fanfare from the Trumps: both Donald and Melania reportedly hate it, calling it in statements "another pitiful attempt to cash in on the president's strength" and an attempt to "redeem herself after a poor performance as press secretary".

The Press

Even though during Trump's time in office it seemed as if his wife couldn't have cared less about the media's opinion of her, it was not true, according to Grisham.
"Like her husband and all of his kids, Mrs Trump scrutinised her press clippings like an expert architect focusing on blueprints", she writes, as per CNN. "No detail was overlooked, nothing missed her eye. She had Google alerts set up for herself and saw everything".
Grisham also revealed that she would frequently receive messages from Melania who asked her to offer advice, as the spokeswoman, on how to respond - or, more likely, not respond - to media inquiries about the first lady's mysteriousness.

'Rapunzel' Nickname

Melania Trump was "working from home long before the country was", Grisham notes sarcastically in her book, comparing the COVID-caused self-isolation to how the former first lady would refrain from appearing in her office too frequently.
"When warranted, we would have in-person meetings, but those generally took place in the Map Room across from the elevators to the residence. There we would plan out schedules, respond to pressing queries, and discuss goals. Other than that, the first lady kept to her rooms in the residence".
This, in part, was what prompted the Secret Service to come up with the nickname "Rapunzel" for Melania, since she "remained in her tower, never descending".
According to Grisham, Melania would prefer to spend her time on self-care rather than doing anything else in the White House.
"She believed that relaxation was central to one's beauty regimen, as were, of course, spa treatments and facials", writes Grisham.
Aside from that, Melania is said to love collecting and keeping photographs, putting thousands of them into albums.

Melania and Ivanka

The Secret Service, however, was not alone in using nicknames, as Grisham said that Melania called Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, "the princess". Her former chief of staff had, in turn, told her the nickname many White House staffers had given Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner: "the interns".
Besides this, Melania would often insist that Ivanka and Jared be out of the spotlight. For example, Grisham wrote that Melania did not let them muscle in on Trump's visit to the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace. The two ended up being photographed watching the ceremony from the windows of the palace, while Melania laughed and interacted with the Queen and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Джастин Трюдо, Мулай Хасан, Мохаммед VI, Мелания Трамп, Дональд Трамп, Ангела Меркель, Эммануэль Макрон и его жена Брижит, Владимир Путин и Питер Косгроув на церемонии в Париже - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.10.2021
Trump's Top Bizarre Encounters With World Leaders (As Told by Former White House Press Sec Grisham)


Per the book, Melania was angry at her husband for his infidelity and multiple reports about his extramarital affairs, such as those with porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen MacDougal.
This is why Melania would distance herself from her husband and even order separate motorcades: according to Grisham, that was the ex-FLOTUS' way of making Donald feel embarrassed just like she was.
"I received a call from her to let me know that she wanted to drive to Air Force One ahead of her husband. She surprised me, saying 'I do not want to be like Hillary Clinton, do you understand what I mean? She walked to Marine One holding the hands with her husband after Monica news and it did not look good', referring to Monica Lewinsky. I didn't argue", writes Grisham.
Moreover, she would reportedly send Grisham and another staffer to "shop" for a "good-looking aide" in the White House military office so as to make Trump jealous, according to the book.
"Mrs Trump called to let me know that she wanted one of our military aides to escort her throughout the Capitol because 'the floors were so slippery'", writes Grisham, suggesting that the reason was rather to be seen with a young uniformed man. "I laughed to myself because I'd seen the woman navigate dirt roads in her heels".

The Jacket

The notorious jacket that Melania wore to her visit to and from an immigrant intake centre in Texas stole the show at the time, with the striking lines "I really don't care, do u?" written on the back. Grisham reveals in her book that she knew about the incident just as little as everyone else, but suggested that Melania did not grasp or care about the massive media criticism that her move caused.
When the two were flying back to Washington, DC, the first images of the jacket just hit the press. Trump and Grisham were discussing their response, and Melania, according to the book, had an idea to put a circle with a line through it over the "don't" part of the message on the jacket, which would turn it into "I really do care", and then claim that the press had read it wrong.
Grisham did not support the idea and talked the first lady out of it.
When they arrived at the White House, Donald Trump was angry, and his first words were reportedly "What the hell were you thinking?"
Melania's reaction impressed Grisham.
"To my surprise, Mrs Trump sat down in the chair next to him on the right (still wearing that damn jacket, by the way) and smiled", the book says.
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