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Stephanie Grisham claimed Obama staff left mean notes for Trump aides

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  • White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham claimed without evidence that former President Barack Obama’s White House staffers left discouraging notes for their successors in the Trump administration. 
  • “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’ and ‘you aren’t going to make it,'” Grisham told reporters.
  • A host of former Obama aides denied Grisham’s claim, calling it “an outrageous lie” and, in some cases, arguing they instead left encouraging notes for President Donald Trump‘s aides.
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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham claimed without evidence on Tuesday that former President Barack Obama’s White House staffers left discouraging notes for their successors in the Trump administration with messages like “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’ and ‘you aren’t going to make it,'” Grisham told reporters. 

A host of former Obama aides denied Grisham’s claim, accused her of lying, and in some cases, argued they instead left encouraging notes for President Donald Trump‘s aides.

“This is an outrageous lie,” tweeted Jon Wolfsthal, a senior director on the National Security Council under Obama. “I know. I handed over the nuclear office at the NSC. Shameless and disgusting. @PressSec should be fired.”

Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, called Grisham’s comment “another bald faced lie.” CNN reporter Abby Philip pointed out that Rice wrote in her book, “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For,” that she left a note offering her help to Trump’s first national security adviser. 

Rice wrote of the note, “On a White House stationary card, I reiterate my best wishes for his success in a job so crucial to the nation’s security. I offer to help him, if ever I could.”

“She’s right about one point. I left a note — tucked away in my desk — for my successor,” Ned Price, a former CIA intelligence officer, tweeted about Grisham’s statement. “I wished him success and encouraged him not to grow jaded despite the pace and obstacles. I also left my personal email in case he wished to seek candid advice. I never heard from him.”

Several White House reporters, including Phillip, also voiced skepticism about Grisham’s comment, noting Grisham offered no evidence to support her claim. 

“Over the past 2.5 years I’ve heard no end of complaints from Trump officials about their Obama predecessors but never has this remarkable detail been mentioned,” Axois reporter Jonathan Swan tweeted. “Would love to see a copy of these ‘you will fail’ notes.”

Grisham later clarified in a statement to NBC News that the alleged nasty notes were left in the White House press office. 

“I’m not sure where her office was, and I certainly wasn’t implying every office had that issue,” Grisham said in response to Rice’s rebuke. “In fact, I had a lovely note left for me in the East Wing, and I tracked the woman down and thanked her. I was talking specifically about our experience in the lower press office — nowhere else. I don’t know why everyone is so sensitive!”

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