According to White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, President Obama’s aides taunted the incoming Trump administration in 2017 by leaving notes around the White House that said, “You will fail.” “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 told a Norfolk, VA, radio station during an interview.
Former Trump aides also confirmed Grisham’s claim. She stated that cabinets in the press office also were “filled” with books by Obama, who has written three tomes, and inside one of the drawers was another “You will fail” note. Seven former West Wing officials confirmed Grisham’s account. “It was a mess that first week,” an ex-aide said of the Trump transition. “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.”
From The New York Post:
“Another source said, “Those notes definitely happened. They even left us Russian vodka in the cabinet.
“They were trolling us from the minute we got there. It was definitely just ridiculous. We were trying to find the bathroom, and we get these notes saying ‘You will fail,’ and ‘You’re not going to make it.’ ”
“But Susan Rice, who was Obama’s US ambassador to the UN, tweeted that the claim “was another bald-faced lie” by the Trump administration.
“A former Obama senior director of the National Security Council, Jon Wolfsthal, also called the claim “an outright lie’‘ — and said Grisham should be fired over it.
This is another bald faced lie. https://t.co/E1U9KtdL77
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) November 19, 2019
“Ex-Obama aide Rudy Mehrbani tweeted that he did a final sweep of a floor in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as the old administration headed out the door and saw nary an issue.
“@PressSec is absolutely lying,” he tweeted. “My team occupied almost an entire hallway of offices in the EEOB. Before I turned off the lights on Jan. 19, I did a walk-thru of every one of them to make sure all federal records (or other notes) were appropriately archived.”
“Grisham responded to the ex-Obama aides’ pushback by insisting in an e-mailed statement to The Post and other outlets, “I’m not sure where their offices were and certainly wasn’t implying every office had that issue.
“In fact, I had a lovely note left for me in the East Wing, and I tracked the woman down and thanked her,” the press secretary wrote. “I was talking specifically (and honestly) about our experience in the lower press office — nowhere else. I don’t know why everyone is so sensitive!
“At the time we saw it as a 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.”
“The books were inside the cabinets of lower press [staffers], as was one of the notes, which was taped inside,” she said. “I believe others have come out saying this was true. Either way – this shouldn’t be a big deal, I was telling an anecdotal story in response to a question about when we first took office.”
— Joanna/JoJo Rosholm (@jojorosholm) November 19, 2019
“When the Clinton administration left the West Wing in 2001, junior staffers famously removed the “W” key from their computers before heading out. The incoming commander-in-chief was George W. Bush, who was differentiated from his ex-president dad, George H.W. Bush, by the “W.”
“When the younger Bush’s administration left the White House to make way for Obama’s people, the transition was hailed at the time as a model of propriety and cooperation.
“The Trump staffers’ claims about a bush-league transition by Obama officials also drew skepticism from some reporters on the beat at the time.
Grisham response to former Obama staffers pushing back on her comments that nasty notes were left behind during the transition: “I was talking specifically (and honestly) about our experience in the lower press office – nowhere else.” pic.twitter.com/gyq8TygTmR
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 19, 2019
“ABC News’ chief White House correspondent, Jonathan Karl, tweeted that he was present as Trump officials were moving into their White House offices on Jan. 20, 2017 — and that he saw no Obama books or any notes.
“No Trump officials complained that they had found any, either, wrote Karl — who added photos of some of the relatively bare offices at the time.
“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.”
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
I doubt with all the chaos as administrations changed that anyone would have thought to mention this. In fact, Grisham probably just mentioned it now off-hand. I have no doubt it occurred. That would be just like Obama’s minions no matter how much they claim it wasn’t done. They were petty and vicious and this would be right up their alley.
None of the Obama aides denying all this were stationed in the lower press offices, where Trump staffers say the notes were found. Grisham moved to the East Wing as the press secretary for Melania Trump and then to the upper press offices as press secretary for President Trump. Former White House press aide Michael Short also weighed in on Twitter to confirm that former Obama staffers left them “nasty grams.” Short was stationed in lower press offices before he left the White House in July 2017 under then communications director Anthony Scaramucci.
This is a lie. If this happened I also don’t think the entire Trump staff would wait 3 years to tell us. Sad to see the WH press secretary fall this far https://t.co/4JMlk5Ok2J
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) November 19, 2019
Tell me this doesn’t have the ring of truth to it. I see no reason Grisham would make it up with everything else going on. Just consider those that served under Obama and you will see that this would definitely be par for the course for that bunch.
It's appalling that she thinks our notes would have been that lame. https://t.co/EZWFZYBgDA
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) November 19, 2019
I actually left an iPhone charger if anybody’s seen it, but no, nobody left unimaginative notes written at a sixth-grade level. https://t.co/DeaTk5W6wk
— Cody Keenan (@codykeenan) November 19, 2019
WH Press Sec Stephanie Grisham claims Obama aides left 'you will fail" notes in offices for Trump aides: “We came into the WH, 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,’”
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) November 19, 2019
Stephanie is correct that there were nasty grams left in the press office. https://t.co/ipbVXvmKgc
— Michael C. Short (@michaelcshort) November 20, 2019