Former Obama administration officials assembled quickly Tuesday to debunk a statement from White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham accusing them of leaving behind not-so-friendly notes during the presidential transition in 2017.
Grisham said Obama aides left notes taunting their successor that read "you will fail" and "you aren't going to make it." But several Obama aides scoffed at the notion, pointing out that there's very little chance the Trump administration would have waited almost three years to complain about something like that.
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 https://t.co/4JMlk5Ok2J
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) November 19, 2019
ABC News' chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl even posted some pictures of offices on the day of transition, which don't appear to depict anything of the sort.
I was in the West Wing on the evening of January 20, 2017, talking to several incoming Trump officials as they moved into their offices. I saw no offices "filled with Obama books" and nobody mentioned "you will fail" notes. Here are photos I took at the WH that night pic.twitter.com/TUZhbO6QbN
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) November 19, 2019
Some Obama officials, meanwhile, acknowledged that Grisham wasn't completely making things up — they did indeed leave some things behind, they said, but for a very different purpose.
I was there. This is a complete and utter lie. Quite the opposite -- we left them briefing books to try to help with the transition as much as possible. https://t.co/WxMNIiwBuV
— Daniel Jacobson (@Dan_F_Jacobson) November 19, 2019
After the Obama officials criticized Grisham's claim, she backtracked a little bit, admitting she wasn't "sure where their offices were, and certainly wasn't implying every office had that issue."