Grisham: “[Kelly] Was Totally Unequipped To Handle The Genius Of Our Great President.”

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly publicly stated this week that he warned President Donald Trump that, if he replaced him with a yes man, he could well end up impeached. I found Kelly’s discussion of the confidential conversation with Trump to be deeply troubling. I believe a president has a right to confidential communications. However, I was not concerned with the response of White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham who declared, “I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President.”  Since Kelly was warning about the danger of surrounding oneself with sycophants, the response was chillingly ironic. Indeed, I considered at first whether this was meant as an ironic joke. It is difficult to tell which is precisely the problem. The President has repeatedly referred to himself as “stable genius” so this is repeating his own self-appraisal.

In a Sea Island Summit political conference hosted by the Washington Examiner, Kelly told a crowd that, before his departure, he told Trump “whatever you do — and we were still in the process of trying to find someone to take my place — I said whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth — don’t do that. Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”

I have difficulty with former staff revealing such conversations with a sitting president. Trump immediately denied the statement was ever made: “John Kelly never said that, he never said anything like that. If he would have said that I would have thrown him out of the office. He just wants to come back into the action like everybody else does.” 

I do not blame Trump with being upset with former staffers sharing such stories. The media has legitimately noted that Trump has repeatedly claimed that accounts from former cabinet members and staff are lies. Such a dispute is unlikely to be resolved in a one-on-one meeting. However, Grisham seemed to go out of her way to undermine Trump and reinforce Kelly with her fawning declaration.

Once again, I fail to see any evidence of strategy in such controversies. The statement from Grisham could not have been worse at that moment. It reinforces the fear of Republicans, particularly in the Senate, that there is no coherent or consistent message coming out of the White House. Faced with a claim that Trump is surrounded by sycophants, Grisham rushed forward to give a Dear Leader profession of loyalty. It only magnified Kelly’s suggestion that no one remains in the White House to offer detached and independent views. If so, that is every bit as dangerous as Kelly suggested.

54 thoughts on “Grisham: “[Kelly] Was Totally Unequipped To Handle The Genius Of Our Great President.””



    Stephanie Grisham is the latest example of Mr. Trump’s tendency to value loyalty and an embrace of his unorthodox style ahead of other credentials when filling top jobs.
    Her career history contains red flags that most administrations might deem troubling. They include losing a private-sector job after being accused of cheating on expense reports, a later job loss over plagiarism charges and two arrests for driving under the influence, the second while working on Mr. Trump’s campaign.

    Colleagues say that on the campaign and in the White House, Ms. Grisham has been a coolheaded, encouraging presence. “When we were tired, she’d tell us, ‘Keep going,’” said Hannah Salem, a White House aide. “She was one of our biggest cheerleaders on the road.”

    After Mr. Trump took office, Ms. Grisham joined the White House press office, but soon fled its upheaval and infighting for a job as Mrs. Trump’s communications director, becoming a staunch protector of the first lady.

    Ms. Grisham, who repeatedly declined to respond to questions for this article, keeps a low public profile in Washington. Twice divorced, she is the mother of two sons, one in his early 20s and one in grade school.

    Ms. Grisham got her start in national politics as a press aide on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. But she had worked for some time before that in public relations, including a job with the AAA auto club in Arizona, which hired her in late 2006 to help with “public relations, traffic safety initiatives and legislative efforts,” according to an announcement in The Tucson Citizen.

    Ms. Grisham was gone within about a year. A former AAA employee with direct knowledge of the matter said Ms. Grisham left after accusations that she filed false claims for travel and other expenses. A spokeswoman for AAA Arizona declined to discuss personnel matters.

    Ms. Grisham lost a subsequent job after an accusation of plagiarism.

    She had gone to work for an advertising agency in Arizona whose clients included a start-up called GarageFly, an online service that helps car owners find auto repair shops. While making a presentation to the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, GarageFly’s founder showed off his website. In an interview, he said he was quickly informed by a furious attendee from AAA that the website included material lifted verbatim from AAA.

    GarageFly’s founder said he had not known because the website was created by GarageFly’s ad agency, Mindspace. And the Mindspace employee responsible for placing the AAA material on the GarageFly website turned out to be Ms. Grisham, according to two other people involved in the matter. Ms. Grisham lost her job. The agency’s owner, Brent Shetler, confirmed Ms. Grisham’s employment but declined to discuss the reasons for her departure.

    Ms. Grisham declined to address questions about her departures from AAA and Mindspace.

    Ms. Grisham shifted toward politics, working from 2008 to mid-2010 as a spokeswoman for the Arizona Charter Schools Association and in 2011 as a spokeswoman for Tom Horne, Arizona’s attorney general.

    In 2012, Ms. Grisham took time off to work as a press aide on Mr. Romney’s presidential campaign. There, colleagues praised her organizational skills and sense of humor.

    After Mr. Romney’s loss, “I was devastated for about a month,” Ms. Grisham said in the 2017 television interview. She returned to the attorney general’s office, where in 2014, Ms. Grisham fielded national press inquiries about a botched execution by the state. She described the condemned prisoner, who did not die for nearly two hours after being given a lethal injection, as “snoring” and said of the scene, “It was quite peaceful.”

    Ms. Grisham next worked as a spokeswoman for the Arizona House’s Republican majority. In 2016 she revoked The Arizona Capitol Times’s press credentials four hours after the newspaper published an article, written by Hank Stephenson, detailing allegations that the House speaker, David Gowan, had traveled at state taxpayers’ expense while campaigning for Congress.

    The fight culminated in Mr. Gowan requiring that reporters covering the Legislature submit to a personal and criminal background check. Those with convictions for serious crimes — and oddly, misdemeanor trespass — would be barred from the House floor.

    Ms. Grisham billed the edict as a security measure. But Mr. Stephenson was the only Statehouse reporter with a trespassing charge on his record, related to a tavern fracas. Reporters refused to comply, and Mr. Gowan backed down.

    In mid-2015 Ms. Grisham began working for Mr. Trump’s campaign.

    In December 2015 in Arizona, Ms. Grisham was arrested for driving under the influence. She pleaded guilty and was fined, and in August 2016 the court ordered her into a treatment program. It was a second offense: In 2013 she was arrested for driving under the influence, speeding and driving with an invalid license.

    The 2013 charges were reduced in 2014 to reckless driving, according to court records. Ms. Grisham has told The New York Times that she complied with all sanctions and disclosed both episodes to the White House.

    Last year, while working in the East Wing, she helped launch “Be Best,” the first lady’s anti-cyberbullying, anti-opioid campaign. When news emerged that a Be Best guide called “Talking With Kids About Being Online” was actually created in 2009 by the Obama administration, Ms. Grisham began a fierce defense against the plagiarism charge.

    “I encourage members of the media to attempt to Be Best in their own professions,” she said.

    In the West Wing, friends and former co-workers say, Ms. Grisham intends to remain a behind-the-scenes player. But she has shown a willingness to publicly assail those who displease the president.

    “People who survive and thrive in Trump world are the people who come to grips with the reality that you’re just going to have to go where Trump wants to go, and echo what the president says,” said Cliff Sims, a former White House aide and friend of Ms. Grisham’s.

    Edited from: “Stephanie Grisham’s Turbulent Ascent To A Top White House Role”

    The New York Times, 10/29/19

    1. Horotio Gates – going after low-hanging fruit aren’t you? Why not Omar or that Rep with nudes running around out there? I know other newspapers are actually reporting on them.

      1. Paul, we’re not supposed to acknowledge that Stephanie Grisham is rather questionable? ..It’s not cool to note these thing even if she’s the subject of column..?

        1. Horatio Gates – we are supposed to accept that Hunter Biden has cleaned up his act after how many trips to rehab? Why are we not giving Stephanie Grisham the same courtesy?

          1. Paul, Hunter Biden is not the subject of Turley’s column above. You’re trying to impose ‘What About’ rules. The idea seems to be that we all have an obligation to accept ‘What Abouts’.

            1. Horatio Gates – if we give Hunter a break we have to give Stephanie a break.

    2. trump calls himself a ‘stable genius’ because he was smarter than the others living in the stable and could count himself as the only one who had mastered bipedalism

  2. This Passage Sums Up Trump’s Whole Presidency

    “The response of White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham who declared, “I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President.” Since Kelly was warning about the danger of surrounding oneself with sycophants, the response was chillingly ironic”.

    When White House staffers feel the need to predicate references to the president with word’s such as ‘genius’ and ‘great’, one can be sure the president is not completely stable. One can also be sure the country is not completely normal.

  3. The single biggest known error during Trump’s presidency was hiring Iraq war architect and war monger in Chief John Bolton, one of the biggest pieces of human detritus to ever walk this earth.

    Anti-military excursion was the foundational platform of the last two POTUS. This flies in the face of hiring Bolton, who like the late anti-American Sen. John McStain (rot in hell forever and a day) never heard of an undeclared war he would not support.

  4. 1. The leaks must stop
    2. If the leaks continue, the President will only allow those closest to him access, which increases the possibility of too many yes men
    3. a President should have solid people upon whom he can rely and trust. They should have good judgement. If they disagree, the President should weigh their opinion. Their job is to prevent mistakes and offer contrasting opinions, at times.
    4. Too many sycophants allows preventable problems to occur. YES, that Tweet is a great idea! I see no problems whatsoever with it!

    The climate in the White House is a well-earned one of mistrust. There has been misuse of power to spy on and destabilize this president. Activists have even infested the intelligence community. I’m talking to you, Comey. There is a constant stream of leaks that interfere with not only the day to day business of running the country, but it’s weakened us geopolitically. I am also disappointed with John Kelly, whom I quite like otherwise, for chatting about private conversations. I don’t know the inside details on his removal, but was saddened by it. And then he goes on to chatter most inappropriately, reinforcing that attitude of mistrust and tightening of that inner circle. He is better than that.

    1. Yeah, another rat. Other WHs didn’t have leaks! A good thing because we want the most powerful man in the world to be able to operate without having to explain himself or have his foibles exposed.

  5. Steph Grisham is hot. Look at those piercing blue eyes! Nice

    I liked Obama’s girl Jen Psaki too, the redhead

  6. Sobriety, in reality, does not appear to be Stephanie Grisham’s strong suit.
    She has stepped through the looking glass to become DJT’s fawning lickspittle.

  7. Perhaps this response was crafted by the Dear Leader himself. Or John Barron

  8. Trump enablers have alternative definitions of reality, facts or truth. Or as George Costanza would say…It’s not a lie, if you believe it.

    1. You call them Trump “enablers.” The Obama sycophants were called “loyal.” Why? Because Trump is bad and wrong while Obama was good, pure, and right? Hahahahahaha. Look at the economy under Trump. Look at how well most people are doing under Trump admin policies as compared to Obama policies. Look at what happened to Obama’s pen and phone dictates. They all went away. Now that their daughter graduated high school, when will the Obama’s finally leave Washington DC?

      1. So, you do believe in what George said? Your writing shows that I’m right. Live with your blinders on if you wish.

        1. Sorry, but no, it does not.

          So you believe Obama was a truth teller who engaged only in ‘reality, facts, and truth’? You believe Obama “loyalists” were truth-tellers? You believe the “media” tells the so-called truth? Of course you do. As George Costanza said, “It’s only a lie if you believe it.”

          1. btw FishWings, that little change in the Costanza quote was intentional. Just for you, my friend.

    2. FishWings — here’s a quote for you: “We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.” ~Stewart Udall

      See FishWings, what you have done, is confuse power with greatness. Obama had power, which he used and abused. Obama had the power of the media sycophants propping up and covering for his corrupt administration. That’s not ‘greatness.’

      But President Trump, now he is ‘greatness.’ Trump is Making America Great Again. Through the power of his own genius.

      (Fishy head explosion. Clean up on aisle nine).

      1. Obama’s corruption? maybe you can list all of the indictments and convictions. Then compare with Putin’s puppet. You prove yet again you cannot go a day without being ignorant of reality and facts.

        1. Obama’s FBI, Obama’s IRS, Obama’s DOJ, Obama’s EPA, Obama’s Secretary of State, Obama’s VP and his son, Obama’s CIA, Obama’s DoD. The absence of indictments and convictions does not equate to the absence of malice, wrong doing, and corruption.

          We might even sum up the Obama era this way: Malice in Wonderland.

  9. Everyone who works for the president sounds like a Chinese Community party member or better yet North Korean. Our beloved and most wonderful leader! He’s so smart, he’s a genius, he’s beautiful, youthful, etc, etc, etc.

    1. “Everyone who works for the president sounds like a Chinese Community party member or better yet North Korean.”
      Certainly, you’d have unparalleled insight into what they sound like. Birds of a feather, you know ….

    2. Justice Holmes, that reminds me of how the media sucked Obama’s you know what for eight long years. O’s the best. He’s so smart. He’s so smooth. He’s so cool. He hangs out with celebrities. He knows how to party. He’s running a scandal-free administration. His only scandal was wearing a tan suit. Every luxury vacation he took was “well deserved.” He don’t lie. He makes it all look easy. He’s just too good for our country. The Obama worship? Oh my freakin’ God.

    3. Justice Holmes — don’t forget to mention Trump’s “beautiful hairsprayed hair blowing in the wind.” I mean come on, how does it get any better than Trump? Answer? It doesn’t.

    4. i always liked that kind of stuff, and it’s great to have it from our POTUS now.


    5. here’s another thing holmes. little rocket man actually is a very cunning and smart dude. or it would have been his head on a spike instead of all his rivals that he did likewise.

      and make no mistake, a lot of Koreans love the guy, even if he lays it on pretty thick

      same thing whomever is head of the CCP

  10. Have you watched and heard the moron give statement after ISIS leader was taken out? Who talks like that let alone the president of the most powerful nation? The sooner this megalomaniac, narcissistic nutjob is thrown out the better!

    1. hutom:

      “Have you watched and heard the moron give statement after ISIS leader was taken out? Who talks like that let alone the president of the most powerful nation?”

      Since the only other choice was the POTUS who compelled their existence and failed to see their threat, we have no comparison. That said, we have had the chance to listen to you and given your invective, I can tell you unreservedly that projection is treatable.

            1. Hutom, Justice Holmes and Snot, since the 3 of you posted back to back as a throuple, tell us, what is it really like working for George Soros trolls-R-us?

    2. Are you referring to the ISIS Junior Varsity team that we shouldn’t be concerned about?

    3. Obama spoke for 9 minutes to announce the killing of OBL. Trump took 50 minutes and apparently made up much of what he said, as expected.

  11. Trump was going to be impeached if he replaced Kelly with Hillary. The fix was in. The fact that Kelly could not see the BIG writing on the wall speaks volumes about his competence.

    1. Not his ‘competence’ precisely, but his reading of the mood on Capitol Hill. Understanding such things is helpful for a chief of staff, but not a necessary part of his portfolio.

      We have two problems: our institutional set-up stinks, and (2) the culture of the Democratic Party is frankly repulsive all the way down, from the suites to the streets. Cannot imagine this will end well.

    2. impeached is such a boring as boring on the order of purportedly, reportedly, alleged etc.etc ad nauseum. ALMOST but not quite as boring as the work product of the Congress under Schumer and Pelosi. whoops. Correction. Pelosillyni and Schumuckly Putz

      call if anything objectively real ever happens like like the pending trials of the Clinton DNC dirty cops triad.

  12. I don’t know that Gen. Kelly recounting his own advice to the President represents revealing a privileged conversation. He didn’t indicate the President’s response. That Trump says he lied is unsurprising as anything anyone says bad about Trump he calls a lie. Anyone who testifies about him is a “traitor” or “never-Trump.”

    As to whether Trump has surrounded himself with sycophants, one need only listen to the opening of a Cabinet meeting when they go around the table individually praising the President for allowing them to be in his midst. While Kelly might be applauded for speaking his mind now, he was once the enabler in charge and did that job well.

        1. Tony – what a fool like you does not realize is that I have no betters. I have equals, but no betters. You are not an equal. just so we are clear about that.

          1. Come on, Paul. These nuts are better at “stupid” than you’ll will ever be. Let’s give credit where undeniable credit is due.

            1. mespo – I do confess to being ignorant from time to time, but that can be overcome. Stupid is forever.

                1. Alzheimer’s is like that and frontotemporal dementia as well (if I’m not mistaken). Other sorts I think those suffering know there is something amiss.

                  1. DSS – When I was in Vegas I saw the Body Works display where there slice the body into sections. I got to see a section of an Alzheimer’s brain and it was maybe 1/3 the size of a regular brain. Pretty scary.

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