OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Stephanie Grisham, who served a brief stint as one of then-President Donald Trump’s press secretaries and has come out against Trump numerous times since then now that it’s politically convenient, claimed over the weekend during an interview with CNN’s Jim Acosta that she regretted having a “cozy” and “unethical” relationship with Fox News during her tenure.
On CNN Newsroom, Acosta discussed the potential Republican presidential candidates for the 2024 election with Grisham and Vanity Fair correspondent Molly Jong-Fast. As the segment was concluding, Acosta mentioned the lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News.
Acosta asked Grisham for her perspective on the close relationship between Fox News and the Trump administration during his time in office, pointing out that they often had similar “talking points” and Fox News hosts were frequent visitors to the White House, such as Laura Ingraham.
“It almost seemed as though there was a pretty cozy relationship between the White House and Fox, is that how you remember, and what do you recall from that experience?” Acosta asked, according to Mediaite.
Grisham acknowledged the close relationship between Fox News and the Trump administration, stating that it was “very cozy.” She further revealed that if she didn’t respond to calls from personalities like Jeanine Pirro or Sean Hannity, they would reach out directly to Trump.
“And then I would get a talking to for not speaking with them,” said Grisham. “I remember specifically working on a town hall that the president, the former president, did with Fox, and me having to talk directly with [Fox News CEO] Suzanne Scott about making sure that it was full in there.”
“We did work hand in hand with them,” Grisham said. “And that came at the president’s direction. If he didn’t like something, we were to immediately, you know, call Fox and have them fix it or try to make a new story out of it, etc.”
Stephanie Grisham Tells Acosta About Trump White House 'Cozy' Relationship With Fox News https://t.co/V2cxs50MrL
— This Is The Conversation Project (@th_conversation) March 12, 2023
Acosta then appeared to feign surprise.
“Incredible,” he said. “I mean, that’s, that is a lot of what we observed on the outside in the press. You know, you would see Hannity at a Trump rally and that kind of thing. But just just what you’re saying right now, Stephanie, I think, is some insights that we haven’t really heard before about this cozy relationship that was going on between Fox and the Trump White House.”
Before Acosta could wrap up the segment, Grisham interrupted to say one more thing — offer up a mea culpa.
“I was going to say, obviously 2020 is always, hindsight’s always 2020. Looking back, I — that was completely unethical, frankly, as a comms person. But, so I do apologize for that. But that is how it worked,” she said.
As for Acosta, his take on Grisham’s remarks appear somewhat manufactured, if not selective.
In 2014, then-former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson noted in a new book at the time that officials in the Obama administration would continually reach out to her bosses at the network to complain about her in-depth reporting on various scandals including what happened in Benghazi, Libya, and the “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation into Mexico by the Justice Department and ATF.
“When the White House didn’t like her reporting, it would make clear where the real power lay. A flack would send a blistering e-mail to her boss, David Rhodes, CBS News’ president — and Rhodes’s brother Ben, a top national security advisor to President Obama,” the New York Post reported at the time.
More recently, President Joe Biden’s first press secretary, Jen Psaki, left her position to take a job at MSNBC. And longtime ABC News morning show co-host, George Stephanopoulos, was a key adviser to then-President Bill Clinton.
Former Trump administration officials have also taken on new roles in the media, including former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who co-hosts the popular “Outnumbered” program on Fox News.
Grisham, meanwhile, also served as first lady Melania Trump’s press secretary. She resigned on Jan. 7, 2021, a day after the Capitol riot.
“It has been an honor to serve the country in the White House,” Grisham said in a statement at the time. “I am very proud to have been a part of Mrs. Trump’s mission to help children everywhere and proud of the many accomplishments of this Administration.”