You Can't Even Bribe White House Press Sec. Stephanie Grisham To Do Her Job Now
Donald Trump was impeached last month. Now, he's trying on wars for size to save his own skin... so it's a good time for the White House press secretary to finally meet the press after more than 300 days. Stephanie Grisham's had this job for six months and has yet to hold a single briefing for reporters. She makes $183,000 a year to go on Fox News every once in a while and complain that people keep expecting her to do shit.
Grisham started to feel the heat this week. Anderson Cooper explored the many ways Grisham is useless during a full segment of his CNN show. Author Don Winslow offered to donate $100,000 to charity if Grisham did her job for just one hour. Stephen King matched the $100,000. It was suddenly a telethon! Their indecent proposal offended Grisham, who responded in an email to Jake Tapper.
GRISHAM: If you have $200,000 to play with, why not just help children because it's a good thing to do? Donations to charity should never come with strings attached.
Back in 2012, Trump offered Barack Obama a $5 million donation to the charity of his choice if our last legitimate president handed over his college records and passport applications. This was a little different from Winslow and King's offer because they aren't racists who refuse to believe Grisham is who she says she is. They'd also actually come through with the money.
The brief glimpses we see of Grisham at work indicate that she sucks at whatever it is she does. She appeared on "America This Week" and commiserated with host Eric Bolling over how much the media hates Trump. Grisham believed the reporters she's never personally met failed to praise Trump's killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani with sufficient "rah-rah" jingoism.
GRISHAM: I do think [the media] are biased. Just in this instance, Soleimani got coverage not about all of the horrible acts he'd done, not about the people who'd been killed under his regime... People on the networks, and CNN, they were talking about how sad everybody was. It was almost as if they were mourning his death.
Grisham was asked again when she planned to do her job, and her answer was the same: The public needs to hear from the subject matter experts, not Stephanie Grisham, who lacks expertise on any number of subject matters. Bolling suggested that people are "intrigued" by Grisham, which is true in the sense that I'm "intrigued" when the pizza I ordered never shows up. I don't find the missing pizza fascinating and mysterious like Greta Garbo. I just want the damn pizza I paid for. Grisham claimed she has three different roles at the White House and doesn't have time to do any of them,
GRISHAM: I think people aren't sure of me because I'm not out at the podium.
It's not a podium, lady.
GRISHAM: I'm not fighting with them. It's not public. I'm not giving them their ratings.
Someone with such a cynical view of her job shouldn't do this job. It's not that complicated. Friday, 13 former White House press secretaries, foreign service and military officials wrote an open letter for CNN that called for the return of regular White House briefings.
The process of preparing for regular briefings makes the government run better. The sharing of information, known as official guidance, among government officials and agencies helps ensure that an administration speaks with one voice, telling one story, however compelling it might be.
Regular briefings also force a certain discipline on government decision making. Knowing there are briefings scheduled is a powerful incentive for administration officials to complete a policy process on time. Put another way, no presidents want their briefers to say, day after day, we haven't figured that one out yet.
In times of military conflict and international crisis, these briefings take on even more importance. Americans want to know the latest developments and seek the truth. On social media, wild rumors can fly, and our adversaries can manipulate disinformation to their advantage. This is now well documented.
The press secretaries for Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama all signed the letter. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley dismissed the former White House officials from both political parties as "D.C. establishment swamp creatures." That's been the Trump administration's go-to insult for every experienced government official who criticizes the president. It's shameful, just like Grisham's continued game of hide-and-seek with the public.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.