The “younger staffer” whom former President Donald Trump allegedly took an interest in is denying claims that he sexually harassed her during her time at the White House.
On Tuesday, Trump was found liable for sexually abusing E. Jean Carroll in a Manhattan department store’s dressing room in the 1990s. In the wake of the verdict, several former Trump White House staffers spoke out about behavior they noticed in the White House, saying Trump took a “very keen interest” in one specific staffer.
Among them was former Trump White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who says she raised the matter with two different chiefs of staff.
Now, however, the staffer who was the subject of the allegation has told Newsweek the claims are “totally false.” Newsweek has granted the staffer anonymity because she did not want to be publicly identified.
“None of what is being insinuated or alleged is even remotely true,” she said over text messages.
Asked about the staffer’s denial, Grisham told Newsweek that the woman wasn’t in the room when Trump allegedly made comments about her.
“Everybody talked about how much he paid attention to her and he always called for her and wanted her on trips,” she said. “Everybody noticed it.”
Grisham added, “It’s kind of a well-known thing in D.C. circles.”
On Wednesday, former Trump White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin told CNN that she thought the way Trump “engaged with women was dangerous.” She also said that she reported certain instances to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and that there were “countless cases” of misconduct.
Grisham told CNN on Wednesday that the situation between Trump and the younger staffer made her “extremely uncomfortable.” She said she pulled the staffer aside to discuss it.
In her 2021 book, I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House, Grisham said she was not alleging that “anything happened” between Trump and the woman but said that the president repeatedly requested for the staffer to travel with him.
She wrote that he would ask for the staffer to be brought to his office cabin on his plane during trips—something “he’d rarely done with anyone else.” When Grisham couldn’t find an excuse to not send the staffer, she would accompany her and stay with the younger woman the entire time.
On one particular trip, Grisham “got a call afterward relaying that the president said, ‘let’s bring her up here and look at her a**.’” She wrote that after the incident she tried to keep the staffer off of trips.
Olivia Troye, who was an adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence and his lead staffer on the White House coronavirus task force, told Newsweek on Thursday that she also witnessed such behavior firsthand.
“He did it openly and made the comments openly even in meetings,” Troye said. She added that “this behavior was a known thing across many senior staff” in the White House.
In a statement, Trump spokesman Steven Cheung told Newsweek, “These unscrupulous individuals should be ashamed of themselves for peddling fake news. Instead of spending time concocting conspiracy theories at the Bombay Club, they should focus their energy elsewhere.”
Trump attorney Christina Bobb has defended the former president, saying that she has “never once” felt uncomfortable by his comments or behavior.
“I love working for him and working with him,” Bobb told Newsweek. “He’s a great man, funny and a pleasure to be around.”
More than a dozen of women have accused Trump of sexual harassment over the years. Those allegations have included unwanted touching, groping and forcible kissing—all of which Trump has vehemently denied.
Only one allegation—Carroll’s—has been affirmed by a jury. Trump has continued to deny any wrongdoing in that case and has said that he does not know Carroll.
“[Carroll] wasn’t raped, OK?” Trump said during Wednesday’s CNN town hall. “And I didn’t do anything else either, OK, because I don’t know who the hell she is.”
On Tuesday, jurors rejected Carroll’s claim that she was raped by Trump in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman but found Trump liable for sexual abuse and awarded Carroll $5 million.
Trump’s wife, former first lady Melania Trump, hasn’t spoken publicly about the allegations against her husband. Known for being a private person, she has encouraged people to use “good judgment” when deciding if stories based on anonymous sources are true.
Grisham, who previously served as the chief of staff for the former first lady, said she never told Melania about her husband’s alleged interest in the younger staffer. To the best of her knowledge, Grisham said, she doesn’t believe Melania knew about it.