Here are 5 things we learned about Melania Trump from Stephanie Grisham's new tell-all book

Yes, there is a story behind that infamous jacket

By Meaghan Ellis
Published October 3, 2021 11:07AM (EDT)
Donald Trump and Melania Trump step out of Marine One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021.  (ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Melania Trump step out of Marine One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021. (ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

Stephanie Grisham's new book, "I'll Take Your Questions Now," offers a robust account of various occurrences she witnessed during her five years working for former President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump.

While many reports on the book this week have centered on Grisham's wild encounters working under the disgraced former president, her book also sheds light on what it was like to work for Melania.

Since Grisham worked as both a communications director and chief of staff for the former first lady, she witnessed what life was like behind closed doors for the Trump family. From Melania's seemingly halfhearted work ethic to her marriage to the president and her relationship with her adult stepchildren, Grisham has recounted a number of details about the Trumps.

Here are five takeaways from her experiences working with the former first lady, according to CNN.

1. Melania Trump gained the nickname "Rapunzel" because of how rare her in-person appearances were.

According to Grisham, Secret Service agents gave Melania the nickname "Rapunzel," "because she remained in her tower, never descending." Self-care was reportedly a priority for the former first lady and much of her time was spent focusing on that.

"She believed that relaxation was central to one's beauty regimen, as were, of course, spa treatments and facials," writes Grisham.


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As for her work life, Grisham revealed the first lady had been "working from home long before the country was" when the COVID-19 pandemic led to the United States shut down.

"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."

2. The former first lady was just as obsessive about her press as her husband.

To the public, Melania Trump may have seemed cool, calm, and collected as if she did not care about public opinion. However, according to Grisham, she had a tendency to obsess over the things being written about her. "Like her husband and all of his kids, Mrs. Trump scrutinized her press clippings like an expert architect focusing on blueprints," Grisham wrote. "No detail was overlooked, nothing missed her eye. She had Google alerts set up for herself and saw everything."

3. Melania Trump also has a nickname for Ivanka Trump.

While Melania and Ivanka did their best to maintain a united front for the public, behind closed doors there was noticeable tension between the two. In fact, Grisham notes in her book that Melania had a nickname for the president's oldest daughter: "the princess."

"Melania Trump's ire toward her stepdaughter would often flare during foreign trips, Grisham writes, mostly because the former first lady was a student of protocol and a stickler for abiding by traditions in each country that were reserved only for a president and a first spouse -- not a president's daughter and her husband," reports CNN.

4. She wasn't pleased about her husband's reported affairs making headlines in the news.

The White House never confirmed distance between the president and first lady amid reports about his scandal with adult film star Stormy Daniels but, according to Grisham, it is true that Melania was not pleased with that situation. In fact, Grisham revealed Melania did make an effort to distance herself from her husband.

"I felt that Mrs. Trump was embarrassed and that she wanted him to feel embarrassed, too. Whether he is capable of that or not, I don't know," Grisham wrote.

"I received a call from her to let me know that she wanted to drive to Air Force One ahead of her husband," she wrote. 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."

5. There's a story behind Melania's infamous jacket.

Melania Trump faced lots of blowback for wearing her infamous jacket that read, "I really don't care. Do u?" when she visited an immigrant center in Texas. While the book doesn't explain why she chose to wear that particular jacket for the occasion, she wasn't happy about the negative press it garnered.

Per CNN:

"Grisham says that once the images of the jacket hit the press, while the first lady was flying back to Washington from Texas, she and Melania Trump huddled in her private cabin on the plane, trying to find a way to divert the media attention. Grisham writes at one point in the conversation, Melania Trump suggests putting a circle with a line through it over the "don't" part of the message on the jacket -- ostensibly turning it into "I really do care" -- and then claiming the press had read it wrong."

In response to the reports about the book, Melania Trump's office issued a statement to The Washington Post criticizing Grisham for her writing.

"The intent behind this book is obvious," Melania Trump's office said. "It is an attempt to redeem herself after a poor performance as press secretary, failed personal relationships, and unprofessional behavior in the White House. Through mistruth and betrayal, she seeks to gain relevance and money at the expense of Mrs. Trump."

Grisham's book, "I'll Take Your Questions Now," is set to be released on Tuesday, October 5.


Meaghan Ellis

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