Q: Stephanie Grisham’s first week as both press secretary and communications director has just come to an end. How do you think she’s doing?
A: She’s very good at this job. She’s talented and she’s a team player. I’ve known her for a long time and I have a lot of respect for her, and I’m not a politician or a spinmeister. I don’t have to say nice stuff about Stephanie. I don’t work in Washington and I don’t care about Washington, so it’s not as if I’d tell you she’s great if I thought she wasn’t. I think she’s very, very good. An excellent choice. And she’s great for Trump. She’s perfect for him.
Q: In reference to you not working in Washington, during the hunt for press secretary, the President seemed to suggest that you might have a future back at the White House.
A: Yeah. He said, “He should stay where he is right now.” I mean, look. He was just being polite. At the end of the day he’s never inviting me back. I’m a realist, and he sees me as too much of a wild card. You follow what I’m saying?
A: He and I get along. I like him. I’m supporting him in his bid for reelection. But I also understand why he would never invite me back. I’m smart enough to know that. Would I go back? Yes. I love my country, I support the president, and if I were invited I’d go back.
Q: Do you see anything changing as far as the relationship between the White House and the press? When you were brought in as communications director, you sought to introduce a new era between the two. Do you see anything like that happening?
A: That’s gonna be up to the president. I don’t see it as a winning strategy for him to refer to the press as “the enemy of the people” but he does. He sees it as taking care of his base and thinks that everyone else will fall in line, and he’s very concerned that the base should turn out at the same rate of participation or even better than it did in 2016, so he does a lot of things that are base-focused. But calling the press “the enemy of the people” doesn’t really help him. Of course, he can call them out when they say things that are inaccurate.
The flip side is that if he woke up tomorrow and wanted to be all lovey-dovey with the press they wouldn’t let him do that either.
Michael Cohen thought he was going to go to Congress and speak negatively about the president and everyone was going to carry him out on their shoulders. Did anyone carry him out of there on his shoulders? No. The point is that if you were around Trump, if you were part of Trump, there will always be a hardcore group of people who hate you. Period. The end.
Q: The last time someone worked as both communications director and press secretary it was your predecessor, Sean Spicer, and we all know how that turned out. Is the White House making a mistake by giving both jobs to the same person?
A: The president views himself as his own best communications director and his own best press secretary. Stephanie is a great pick because she understands both Melania and President Trump, and she knows that she has to let him do what he wants to do. This is what [Chief of Staff] Mulvaney has already figured out.
At the end of the day it’s Trump’s show, and he’s a one-man band. He’s the Lone Ranger without Tonto, so someone in that position is going to be much more successful by saying, “Okay, what does the president want to do?” and then reflect that.