Stephanie Grisham, a former White House press secretary under Donald Trump, urged 2024 Republican presidential candidates to stop sucking up to the former president and show some backbone.
“I know very few Republicans want to upset Donald Trump in any way right now, but I’m asking, why are there no Republicans and most specifically, the people running against him for the Republican nomination, calling on him to put something out to say there should be no violence?” Grisham asked during an interview on CNN Thursday.
People working on all four criminal prosecutions of Trump, including judges, grand jurors and prosecutors, have received threats from his supporters amid an onslaught of inflammatory rhetoric from the former president.
Officials in Georgia are investigating threats against grand jurors who worked on the Fulton County racketeering indictment of Trump and 18 allies over an alleged conspiracy to change the state’s 2020 election results.
“All of them should be calling on Trump to say something,” Grisham said of Trump’s rivals. “Because I think that will also show voters who he really is, that he won’t keep quiet or he won’t say anything. He’ll stay quiet and allow people to continue to be threatened.”
Grisham, who was Trump’s press secretary for nine months in 2019 and 2020, shared some additional advice for his competitors: “They need to stop kissing up to Donald Trump. That is clearly not working for them.”
“They need to change, they need to pivot, they need to just not only talk about their policies. They need to call him out and show that they have the backbone,” she added.
Trump is polling nearly 40 points ahead of his closest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to RealClearPolitics.
Few of Trump’s GOP competitors have criticized him over his criminal charges, and many defend him. Following Trump’s fourth indictment, DeSantis called it “an example of this criminalization of politics.”
Trump faces 91 felonies across the two federal and two state-level indictments, which concern his handling of classified documents, his coup attempt and a hush money payment to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.
Watch the interview below.