Nov 20, 2019

Obama aides dispute leaving Trump staff "you will fail" notes

Stephanie Grisham and President Trump. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former President Obama's aides denied a claim made by Trump administration press secretary Stephanie Grisham on Tuesday that they left disparaging notes in the White House for incoming staff.

Driving the news: Grisham said in a radio interview that upon arriving at the White House, "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.'" She has yet to present evidence to support her claim.

What they're saying:

  • Chris Lu, who served as Cabinet Secretary in the Obama administration, tweeted: "This is absolutely not true. Obama repeatedly and publicly praised Bush cooperation during 2009 transition, and pledged we would provide same cooperation to whoever followed us. And that’s what we did."
  • Peter Velz, a press aide in the Obama administration tweeted the note he left his successor, saying it was "dispiriting to hear" from Grisham, "a person with whom I spent a couple amicable hours with during the the 2016 transition where I wished her nothing but institutional knowledge, good luck and all our support."
  • Valerie Jarrett, a former senior advisor to Obama, wrote, "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."
  • Ben Rhodes, who served as Deputy National Security Adviser for strategic communications, tweeted: "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."

Go deeper: Obama cautions 2020 candidates against going too far left

Go deeper

2020 Democrats love Obama, but are ready to move on

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are chasing two contradictory impulses in their quest to defeat President Trump: Move past Barack Obama's policies, but tap into the party's affection for him.

Why it matters: It's hard to watch a Democratic debate without being reminded of Obama's legacy. "We have to rebuild the Obama coalition," Sen. Kamala Harris said at Wednesday's debate, a point that was echoed by other candidates. "I keep referring to that because that's the last time we won."

Go deeperArrowNov 22, 2019

Obama cautions 2020 candidates against going too far left

Former President Barack Obama. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama warned 2020 Democrats to avoid moving too far to the left and tearing down the system at a meeting for the Democracy Alliance on Friday, the Washington Post reports.

“This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement. They like seeing things improved. But the average American doesn’t think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. And I think it’s important for us not to lose sight of that.”
Go deeperArrowNov 16, 2019

White House releases memo on Trump medical center physical exam

President Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The White House tweeted a memorandum from President Trump's physician on Monday evening about his weekend checkup, denying reports that he had any chest pain or that he was treated for any "acute or urgent issues."

Driving the news: As speculation swirled about an undisclosed medical condition following his visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Trump tweeted that everything was "very good (great!)" following his "yearly physical," and White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said he's "healthy and energetic without complaints."

What they're saying: The New York Times reported that Trump's two-hour medical examination over the weekend was not on his schedule, unlike his February checkup. Dr. Sean Conley, a Navy officer who is the president’s physician, "released scant details" about the physical, unlike the doctor of former President Obama, the NYT noted.

  • CNN reported that Trump's visit to Walter Reed "did not follow the protocol of a routine presidential medical exam."
  • Andrew Vernon, a contributor to the Hill, tweeted, "Sources tell me from Walter Reed the President was being checked out for chest discomfort."
Keep ReadingArrowNov 19, 2019