Stephanie Grisham opens up about Donald Trump’s infamous COVID-19 speech in “I’ll Take Your Questions Now.” Grisham claims that the speech was ushered forward not by Donald himself, but by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. In an exclusive preview of the book, provided to Vanity Fair, Grisham writes that, on March 11, 2020, members of the Coronavirus Task Force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx, and CDC director Robert Redfield, spoke with Trump in the Oval Office. Added to this group were Ivanka and Kushner.
“In the middle of all the discussion, Ivanka kept chiming in, ‘But I think there should probably be an address to the nation tonight,'” Grisham wrote. Ivanka pressed this while the others felt they were not prepared for a speech. “At one point I called Ivanka out on her plan with what seemed an obvious question. ‘What is it we’d be saying?’ Grisham asked. “Because if she had a message she wanted her father to deliver, it was still a mystery to me.”
Ivanka wanted her father to be on TV and she got Kushner to write the speech. The turnaround was so rapid, Grisham noted, that the team didn’t have a chance for fact-checking or vetting the message. Grisham explained that Trump’s speech was full of misinformation and led to huge repercussions for the White House team. “[A] line of reporters formed outside my office. Of course, it was our problem, not Jared’s or Ivanka’s…” Grisham said that Trump and his relatives took no responsibility for the problems that arose in the speech’s aftermath.