After a contentious press conference Thursday in which Mick Mulvaney attempted to defend the Trump administration’s interactions with Ukraine, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham was asked Friday why the acting White House chief of staff spoke to reporters instead of her.
“If the president ever wants me to go out and take that podium, I will happily do it,” Grisham told “Fox & Friends.”
“As evidenced by yesterday with Mick, it was, again, more theater. It is about people wanting to be on TV and making names for themselves,” Grisham said, adding that Mulvaney “did a great job.”
Mulvaney seemed to contradict President Trump’s claim that there was no “quid pro quo” during his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky by telling reporters at the White House press conference that the release of military aid to Ukraine was tied to the administration’s demands that Kiev investigate purported corruption by the Democrats during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
When questioned by reporters about the administration’s decision to withhold $400 million in aid from Ukraine, Mulvaney said that Trump told him at the time: “This is a corrupt place. Everyone knows this is a corrupt place … Plus, I’m not sure that the other European countries are helping them out either.”
Mulvaney added: “Did [Trump] also mention to me, in the past, the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that’s it. And that’s why we held up the money … The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate.”
Grisham said the media got themselves “in a tizzy” so Mulvaney later clarified and said “there was absolutely no quid pro quo.”
“He was over there for more than 30 minutes. He took probably 40 questions. People were talking over one another. He did a great job. He mentioned the same message over and over and over,” Grisham said.
She said Trump holds many briefings with reporters and “there’s no better spokesman,” lessening the need for the daily sessions held by her predecessors Sarah Sanders and Sean Spicer.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.