White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham has stirred the Obama brigade in sharing that some Obama administration aides left taunting notes for the incoming Trump administration.
Grisham was being interviewed by conservative radio show host John Fredericks on Tuesday when she spoke of what was left behind in some offices in January 2017.
“We came into the White House, I’ll tell you something, every office was filled with Obama books and we had notes left behind that said ‘you will fail,’ ‘you aren’t going to make it,’” Grisham said.
The assertion brings to mind the infamous photo of Obama administration staffers looking on with sullen faces as President Obama addressed the 2016 election results after Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.
We are all the White House staff watching Obama welcome Trump as next president. pic.twitter.com/cxB54V9x1S
— Emma Kennedy (@EmmaKEdDev) November 10, 2016
Members of the Obama administration strongly deny the assertion, and “slobbering” media allies quickly came to their defense.
Former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice was one of those people, as she declared to know the actions of every White House aide during the transition.
“This is another bald faced lie,” Rice tweeted.
This is another bald faced lie. https://t.co/E1U9KtdL77
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) November 19, 2019
ABC reporter Jonathan Karl also came to the defense of the Obama administration.
“I was in the West Wing on the evening of January 20, 2017, talking to several incoming Trump officials as they moved into their offices. I saw no offices ‘filled with Obama books’ and nobody mentioned ‘you will fail’ notes. Here are photos I took at the WH that night,” Karl tweeted.
I was in the West Wing on the evening of January 20, 2017, talking to several incoming Trump officials as they moved into their offices. I saw no offices “filled with Obama books” and nobody mentioned “you will fail” notes. Here are photos I took at the WH that night pic.twitter.com/TUZhbO6QbN
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) November 19, 2019
Grisham later clarified that the nasty notes were left only in one part of the White House that houses press operations.
“I was talking specifically (and honestly) about our experience in the lower press office — nowhere else,” Grisham said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t know why everyone is so sensitive. At the time we saw it as kind of a prank, and something that always happened. We were so busy trying to learn where the bathrooms were and how to turn on the lights, it wasn’t that big of a deal.”
Grisham also said she found a “lovely note” from her predecessor in the East Wing.
Joanna Rosholm, press secretary for then-first lady Michelle Obama, took to Twitter to share that note:
— Joanna/JoJo Rosholm (@jojorosholm) November 19, 2019
However, despite the protests, the Daily Mail reported that seven former West Wing aides said that they recalled hearing about it on day one.
“It was a mess that first week,” one aide recalled. “Yeah, there were mean notes left in odd places. One in a deputy press secretary’s office, one inside a desk drawer in upper press, another on a bathroom mirror. They were all about how we were doomed to failure.”
“Those notes definitely happened. They even left us Russian vodka in the cabinet,” a second person said.
“They were trolling us from the minute we got there. It was definitely just ridiculous,” they added. “We were trying to find the bathroom, and we get these notes saying ‘You will fail,’ and ‘You’re not going to make it.'”
When another aide was asked why no one saved photos of the notes, the person said they were frantically trying to adjust to their new offices and new roles, and “it didn’t make the top 20 list of things we were thinking about.”
The Daily Mail also noted a West Wing aide told the paper in 2017 about derogatory notes that Obama officials allegedly left behind in West Wing offices, but they could not confirm the story at the time.
And there was the infamous incident in 2001 when the Clinton administration turned over the White House to President George W. Bush and his administration, where the “W” key was removed from computer keyboards.
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