White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham on Tuesday claimed that Obama administration aides left behind mean-spirited notes for incoming Trump officials during the transition period in 2017, though she did not provide evidence for the claim and a number of Obama-era officials denounced it as false.
In an interview, Grisham told conservative radio show host John Fredericks, “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.’ ”
In a statement to CNN, Grisham later downplayed her comments and said it was only a problem in some offices.
Still, the comments prompted several former White House officials to reject the claim and led some to tweet copies of the notes they left for their incoming Trump-appointed counterparts. In a tweet, former national security adviser Susan Rice called the accusations “another bald faced lie.”
Her sentiments were echoed by another senior Obama official, Valerie Jarrett.
Produce the notes that back this up. I cannot imagine a single one of my former colleagues who would do this. From @BarackObama on down, we all tried to help facilitate a smooth and orderly transition just as President Bush and his team had done for us. https://t.co/tjY3zGdRX8— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) November 19, 2019
A photo obtained by NBC News showed that former Obama press secretary Josh Earnest left a complimentary note for incoming press secretary Sean Spicer.
In the note, Earnest said it was not hard to “set aside my political views, and genuinely root for you to succeed in this role.”
Another official, the former press secretary for Michelle Obama, posted a copy of the note she left for Grisham, who was her successor in the East Wing before becoming White House press secretary after the departure of Sarah Sanders.
Another Obama staffer shared the note he left his successor, offering advice on where to find the copier paper.
This is the note I left my successor. Really dispiriting to hear this from @PressSec, a person with whom I spent a couple amicable hours with during the the 2016 transition where I wished her nothing but institutional knowledge, good luck and all our support. https://t.co/kGb0pa59fp pic.twitter.com/Jtis9TEZK1— Peter Velz (@petervelz) November 19, 2019
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.