A former Trump administration official is offering a belated apology for the previous White House’s “very cozy” and “completely unethical” relationship with Fox News, as the network tries to wade through a scandal involving some of its top hosts spreading Donald Trump’s 2020 election lies despite knowing they were false.
Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has been on an image rehabilitation tour since leaving her position as Melania Trump’s chief of staff after the Jan. 6 riot. She has offered occasional moments of seeming transparency about the inner workings of the White House, all while seeking to distance herself from Trump and company.
That was the case again Saturday, when Grisham appeared on CNN and offered a mea culpa for what she described as a “very cozy relationship” between the Trump White House and Fox News.
“I would have Judge Jeanine [Pirro] or Sean [Hannity] or Tucker [Carlson] calling me, and if I didn’t get back to them right away, they would then call the president, and then I would get a talking-to for not speaking with them,” she said.
Grisham said the White House and Fox News worked “hand in hand” — and it was at Trump’s direction.
“If he didn’t like something, we were to immediately call Fox and have them fix it or try to make a news story out of it, etc.,” she said.
The admission may have been newsworthy — but it wasn’t all that revelatory. Trump was known to watch Fox News obsessively as president, and he’d frequently tweet criticisms of the network when its coverage ran afoul of his wishes. And, of course, Trump also hired a former Fox News co-president, Bill Shine, to serve as White House communications director before Grisham took over the role in 2019.
“Hindsight’s always 20/20,” Grisham said of the relationship between Fox News and the Trump White House. “Looking back, that was completely unethical, frankly, as a comms person, so I do apologize for that. But that is how it worked.”
Thanks, Stephanie. Your extremely belated apology is minimally helpful as another data point in Fox News’ documented history of unethical, antidemocratic behavior.