White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as US President Donald Trump speaks to the media.

New Book Details Trump’s Sexual Harassment of at Least Two Women While in Office

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This week, a number of details from a new book by former Trump adviser Stephanie Grisham came out, each more exhausting than the last.

In I’ll Take Your Questions Now, the former press secretary who never actually took a single question from the press detailed Donald Trump’s weird posturing with Vladimir Putin, his secrecy around undergoing a colonoscopy, and the fact that he reportedly cuts his own hair with a giant pair of scissors—the kind you’d see at a ribbon-cutting event.

There are a lot of anecdotes that make Trump look foolish, but there’s also some very entirely un-funny stuff in the book, like how Grisham describes the ways in which Trump sexually harassed multiple women while in office.

The Washington Post writes that “Grisham alleges that Trump became obsessed with a young, female press aide who isn’t named in the book. The president constantly asked where the aide was during press events, Grisham wrote, and allegedly once requested that she be brought to his cabin on Air Force One so he could ‘look at her [behind].'” It seems the word Trump actually used is “ass,” but a lot of the coverage of the book refuses to use expletives, which make up a lot of Grisham’s quotes from Trump, making for some weirdly censored lines.

In their coverage, The New York Times writes that Trump repeatedly invited this young aide up to his Air Force One cabin, and Grisham says he “instructed her to promote the woman and ‘keep her happy.’” Grisham says that, instead, she tried to keep the young woman away from Trump in order to protect her.

And perhaps she did, but we can also take Grisham’s presentation of herself with a huge lump of salt, especially in anecdotes that depict her as a compassionate hero-type. This is, after all, a person who clung to Trump from the early days of his campaign and stuck with him until nearly the very end of his time in office. She writes in the book, “I should have spoken up more,” but the fact is she didn’t, and she doesn’t get to be absolved of that now.

Elsewhere in the book, Grisham says that she, too, was subjected to Trump’s harassment. Trump reportedly asked her boyfriend at the time (the same aide who allegedly had to play show tunes to calm Trump down) to rate her sexual performance for him.

The book also brings up one of the moments I most wish we could scrub from our collective memory: that time Stormy Daniels detailed her alleged affair with Trump and described his genitals as resembling Toad from Mario Kart(I’m so sorry.) According to Grisham, Trump was predictably embarrassed and defensive after Daniels made that alleged revelation. She says he called her from Air Force One to let her know that “his penis was not small or toadstool-shaped,” writes the Post.

I don’t know why Trump felt the need to defend his genitals to Grisham, and there’s literally no reason that would make it acceptable. Grisham sounds like she was similarly perplexed, responding simply, “Uh, yes sir.”

It’s not at all surprising (which makes it all the more serious) to hear that Trump was allegedly engaging in such textbook workplace sexual harassment while in office.

(image: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.