As she tries to please Mr. Trump, whose press coverage was relentlessly negative, she describes his anger toward her and others as “terrifying”: “When I began to see how his temper wasn’t just for shock value or the cameras,” she writes, “I began to regret my decision to go to the West Wing.”
She says one frequent target of Mr. Trump’s ire was Pat Cipollone, who served as White House counsel: “He didn’t like them telling him that things he wanted to do were unethical or illegal. So he’d scream at them. But then he’d usually listen. And then yell at them again later.”
(There were other indignities: Ms. Grisham writes that Mr. Trump called her while aboard Air Force One to defend the size of his penis after Ms. Daniels insulted it in an interview. “Uh, yes sir,” Ms. Grisham replied.)
At one point, she writes, Mr. Trump’s handlers designated an unnamed White House official known as the “Music Man” to play him his favorite show tunes, including “Memory” from “Cats,” to pull him from the brink of rage. (The aide, it is revealed later, is Ms. Grisham’s ex-boyfriend. She does not identify him, but it is Max Miller, a former White House official now running for Congress with Mr. Trump’s support.)
She was a close-up observer of Mr. Trump’s obsession with control, and details a scene in which the president undergoes a colonoscopy without anesthesia — though she doesn’t name the procedure — because, she reasons, even temporarily assigning power to the vice president would have been “showing weakness.”
In the end, Ms. Grisham stood by as three chiefs of staff, two press secretaries, and countless other aides resigned. She notes that Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, seemed to grow more powerful.
Ms. Trump, she said, made it a point to insert herself into meetings where she did not belong, including when she demanded that her father address the nation from the Oval Office during the early days of the pandemic. But Ms. Grisham reserves special ire for Mr. Kushner, whom she calls “Rasputin in a slim-fitting suit.” (At one point, Mr. Trump warns her not to get on Mr. Kushner’s bad side.)