Trump-Backed Candidate Loses Bid to Silence Tell-All Book Author
(Bloomberg) -- A Trump-endorsed candidate for Congress in Ohio is battling accusations he was physically abusive to a fellow White House staffer, as details from her tell-all book on the inner turmoil of the Trump White House threatens to spill over into the fight for Congress in 2022.
A county judge in Ohio on Wednesday denied Max Miller’s request to ban Stephanie Grisham from talking about their relationship during her tour to promote her book, “I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House.” Grisham served as White House press secretary, communications director and chief of staff to the first lady. Miller served in the Office of Presidential Personnel.
Miller was the first congressional challenger to get former President Donald Trump’s coveted endorsement after the current congressman in Ohio’s 16th district, Tony Gonzalez, voted with Democrats and nine other Republicans to impeach the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Gonzalez has since announced he won’t run again.
Grisham says Trump showed an “ongoing interest” in the details of their relationship -- until she told the president aboard Air Force One that her boyfriend had “anger issues and a violent streak.”
“The president and first lady seemed totally unfazed about whether there was an abuser — another abuser — in their workplace,” Grisham said in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Tuesday. “It didn’t even seem to register on the president’s radar screen as a concern.”
Grisham didn’t immediately returned messages left for comment. Trump’s office also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a statement a lawyer for Miller, Larry Zukerman, called Grisham “unemployed and unbelievable” and “a professional liar.” He said Grisham professed her love for Miller in emails after they broke up, and that she was retaliating against Miller for “breaking her heart” to get engaged to Emily Moreno -- the daughter of Cleveland car dealer and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bernie Moreno.
Grisham did not identify Miller in the op-ed — saying only he was a Trump-endorsed candidate for Congress — but later confirmed his identity in interviews.
Less than five hours later, Miller filed suit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, saying Grisham’s article was “replete with libelous and defamatory false statements.” Judge Emily Hagan denied Miller’s request for a restraining order but set a hearing for next week.
Trump repeated his endorsement of Miller during his first rally as ex-president in June, in a neighboring Ohio district. “You know Max? Great guy. He loves our country. He loves the people of Ohio. And Max was a trusted aide of mine in the White House,” Trump said. “We had great people working for me. We had some real losers, too, by the way.”
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