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Trump’s former press secretary says she didn’t vote for him in 2020

By Kate Bennett and Kate Sullivan, CNN

President Donald Trump’s former press secretary admitted Tuesday that she didn’t vote for him in the 2020 election, when she was still working in the East Wing for former first lady Melania Trump.

Stephanie Grisham, who worked as East Wing communications director, White House press secretary and chief of staff to Melania Trump during the Trump administration, wrote in her recently published a book, “I’ll Take Your Questions Now,” that she found herself wishing there was a different Republican candidate to vote for in the 2020 election.

“You talk about how you wish there had been some sort third option for you to vote for. You didn’t support Biden and his policies but you had real misgivings about Donald Trump at that point, and you wished there had been another Republican you could vote for because you’re a conservative Republican,” said CNN’s Jake Tapper during an interview on “The Lead.” “Did you vote for Donald Trump in 2020?”

“I did not,” Grisham said, adding that she wrote in a different candidate. She declined to name that person.

The former Trump aide, who started working for the 45th President during his first presidential campaign and is now promoting her tell-all book from her years working for him and the former first lady, has been outspoken in recent weeks about her change of heart over the Trump presidency. Grisham — who infamously never held a briefing during her time as press secretary — now says she’s scared of what could happen if Trump returns to office should he run in 2024.

Grisham told Tapper she would testify before the House committee investigating the events of January 6 if asked to do so. Grisham resigned from her role in the East Wing on January 6 in the wake of the insurrection at the US Capitol.

“Yes. I would cooperate if they reached out. I have had a couple of very casual conversations about it. I haven’t been formally asked,” Grisham said. “But yes I would cooperate if needed, absolutely.”

She added that she believes Trump was trying to stage a coup, both by his actions inciting January 6, his disloyalty to former Vice President Mike Pence and his repeated attempts convince people the election was “stolen” from him, which it was not.

Grisham said earlier Tuesday that Trump’s “vanity got in the way” of his administration’s response to Covid-19.

“I think the way we handled Covid was tragic,” Grisham said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“I think the President’s vanity got in the way,” she said. “He was working for his base, he was not working for this country. He didn’t wear a mask quickly enough.”

She added, “I was part of that. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself with respect to Covid. I don’t think I can ever redeem myself.”

Grisham said if Trump runs and wins the White House in 2024, the country can expect “very draconian policies,” and noted he would not be inhibited by having to run for reelection.

“He’ll be able to do whatever he wants and we all know there’s going to be retribution, there’s going to be revenge,” Grisham said.

She speculated those who have been pushing the lie that the election was stolen from Trump and those involved in the deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6 would be the ones working for Trump if he were to win.

“I have a feeling the 1/6 crowd might be working in the White House in 2024. Or the Sidney Powells or the Rudy Giulianis,” Grisham said.

Grisham added, “The fact that he is pushing this election lie is scary to me. And the fact that he’s the front-runner right now … if he were to run for office is scary to me.”

Grisham also touched on other advisers around the former President, specifically focusing on his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

She said Kushner, who was a senior adviser at the White House, “got really heady with power.”

“Nobody ever challenged Jared. You couldn’t. This was the President’s son-in-law. So he would dive into these areas where I know he had absolutely no expertise and, you know, claimed to save the day and then he would leave,” Grisham said.

She said Kushner and Ivanka Trump “thought they were a shadow President and first lady,” adding that Ivanka Trump is “very controlling of her image. She’s very controlled in what she does. She is very calm, which is unlike her father.”

Grisham described a culture of abuse at the White House, and said Trump was “very mean” when he yelled at his staff.

“It took me a really long time to realize it was a culture of abuse in there. You just want to keep Donald Trump happy. You just don’t want him to yell at you … you learn that you have to give him the answer that he wants or he’ll just throw you out anyway,” Grisham said.

Grisham said Trump’s explosions would include him face-to-face yelling at her.

“It’s horrible when he yells at you. It’s horrible. He’s very New York, I guess. He’s very mean when he yells at you.” Grisham said.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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