Donald Trump’s former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has said that her former boss treated classified information as his own personal object to show off to people.
Ms Grisham spoke to the Associated Press as Mr Trump faces increased scrutiny for keeping documents related to his presidency at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida. That tendency was what triggered the FBI to execute a search warrant at his home earlier this month.
The FBI said it collected 11 boxes of classified records, including some marked “sensitive compartmented information”.
Ms Grisham, who served as both Mr Trump’s press secretary and for his wife Melania, said Mr Trump was “careless” with classified information and “seemed never to bother with why that was bad”.
Specifically, she recalled an incident where Mr Trump wanted to feature Conan, a dog who played a major role in the killing of Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Ms Grisham, who resigned her role as Ms Trump’s chief of staff after the January 6 riot, said that staff were briefed that photographs could put Conan’s handlers in danger.
Nevertheless, when the dog arrived, Mr Trump wanted to show off the canine.
“Because he wanted the publicity, out went Conan,” she said. “It's an example of him not caring if he put lives in danger. ... It was like its his own shiny toy he’s showing off to his friends to impress them.”
Former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said that he repeatedly tried to explain the significance of exposing information.
“I don’t think any of it sank in. He didn’t seem to appreciate just how sensitive it was, how dangerous it was for some of our people and the risks that they could be exposed to,” he said. “I would say over and over again, ‘This is really sensitive, really sensitive.’ And he’d say, ‘I know’ and then go and do it anyway.”