In the book titled “I’ll take your questions now,” former White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham describes how former President Donald Trump viewed other world leaders. He got along well with Boris Johnson, one of the few European leaders he liked. Emmanuel Macron, on the other hand, had to pay for it.
Grisham was a spokeswoman between July 2019 and April 2020 but was never responsible for the daily press briefing. She later became chief of the cabinet of First Lady Melania Trump. Her book, which is already causing a lot of controversies, will be published next week, but some striking fragments have already leaked out, for example, about Trump’s terrifying tantrums. It also describes the often unusual interactions of the former president with other heads of state.
Grisham discloses some details about a meeting between Trump and Putin at the 2019 G20 summit in Osaka. According to the author, when no journalists were present, Trump said that he would “rant a little harder at the Russian president for a few minutes in front of the cameras, but they could talk once the cameras were gone.”
During a meeting with Turkish President Erdogan, the then-American leader asked seemingly out of the blue, “Have any of you ever seen ‘Midnight Express’?” The American film, released in 1978 and based on a book, portrays a young American in a Turkish prison where he is beaten and sexually abused. Director Oliver Stone apologized afterward for over-dramatizing the script. “That’s a dark movie for you,” Trump is reported to have said. “There was little response from the Turkish delegation,” Grisham writes, “perhaps a few polite smiles, before the conversation continued as if the president of the United States hadn’t just thrown that out there.”
Grisham also reports that Trump told Imran Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan, that “India reminded him of California, with all the homelessness.”
Trump, says Grisham, was generally not a big fan of European leaders. With French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump scoffed, “He’s a wimp.”
In turn, the former American leader would have praised the Swiss president for the cleanliness of his country. But, says Grisham, he found a real soulmate in Boris Johnson. Grisham disclosed that the British prime minister was “one of the few European leaders who seemed to tolerate Trump”.
“Johnson once told us over breakfast that Australia was ‘the deadliest country – with poisonous spiders, snakes, crocodiles, and kangaroos.’ Then they discussed how strong kangaroos were.”
Grisham adds that Johnson and Trump also spoke of “a political figure who had just had surgery, which they believed was for gallbladder removal.” “Can you get a new gallbladder?” Johnson asked, munching on scrambled eggs and sausage. “I don’t know what a gallbladder is for.” “It has something to do with alcohol,” Trump replied firmly.
“These were surprising conversations about the most diverse topics between chubby, white men with crazy haircuts,” Grisham reveals.