Max Miller, Max Leonard Miller, Stephanie Grisham, Sam Miller, Ruth Ratner Miller, Barb Miller, White House, Anthony Gonzalez, Shaker Heights

Max Miller, Max Leonard Miller

‘He’s a Great Guy’: Trump’s Favored Aide Has Troubled Past

Sources say Max Miller has a history of aggressive behavior that includes slapping his ex-girlfriend, former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham

7/29/2021 3:19:00 AM

Sources say Max Miller has a history of aggressive behavior that includes slapping his ex-girlfriend, former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham

Sources say Max Miller has a history of aggressive behavior that includes slapping his ex-girlfriend, former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham .

. Brad Parscale, then still Trump’s campaign manager, cited Miller’s “wealth of experience and expertise.” Miller helped organize the Republican National Convention that summer. He helped negotiate on Trump’s behalf the terms of the debates in the fall. And he was one of the people in charge of putting together the rallies in the stretch run. “I always liked working with Max. I felt like … if he had worked to advance the trip, you knew it was going to be pretty, pretty tight,” Hogan Gidley, the deputy White House press secretary at the time, told me. “There’s always a mad scramble for good advance people, and he’s a very good, by all accounts, advance guy,” Sean Doocey, who was the personnel office director, told me. “He’s just a natural at it.”

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That mattered a lot to Trump—for whom rallies, of course, were a linchpin of his rise and rule—according to people close to Trump and Miller. “Advance work is crucially important to the image of the president,” a person Miller worked for told me. “You have a president that is used to made-for-TV events, and he has an expectation that everything has to be like a movie, made-for-TV, movie quality, blockbuster-quality production, and that’s a pretty tough thing to do day in, day out, and with certain people being the ones responsible for that and the president

knowingthat those people are responsible,” said a person who worked for Trump in operations. “Our job,” said an advance staffer, “was to make the president look great on TV.”Trump, in fact, had a favored moniker for Miller.He was, I heard from many, “The Music Man.” headtopics.com

“Because he could kind of hum a couple bars of a song, and Max would know what it was, or be able to find out in a very short period of time,” said a person who worked with them in the White House.“There were times when myself and Max and a couple of others would be in the president’s office on Air Force One on the way back from trips, listening to music, picking songs for his playlist at the rallies,” Gidley said. “We had a great time, and we’d debate what songs are supposed to be in there and what songs wouldn’t, shouldn’t be in there because of pacing and cadence.”

This was the case especially when staffers found Trump in a foul mood. “It’d be a good time to have Max come by,” said a person who worked for Trump and for whom Miller worked, “and check on the order of songs or something.”Miller carried himself with a confidence that could border on brash. It was a posture that appealed to the president. “He really did respect him,” said a person who worked with them. “They had … kind of a unique ‘bro’ relationship.”

An advance man has to be a mix of “a circus tout, a carnival organizer, an accomplished diplomat and a quarter-master general,”once wrote, and the traits that made Miller effective and valued in the realm of advance—and in particular in advance for Trump—often were the same traits that chafed others in other settings, I heard from both his friends and foes. “Everyone in advance in any administration or any campaign always rubs people the wrong way, because you’re kind of the designated a—hole,” said an advance staffer who worked under Miller. “Because your job is to f—ing make sure that, like, whoever your principal is, that’s all that you care about. You don’t care about anyone else. You don’t care about anything else.”

As a result, though, some people in the White House who worked with and around Miller ended up feeling the way some of Miller’s contemporaries from Shaker Heights felt. Miller, for instance, didn’t get promoted to deputy chief of staff for operations in late 2019—Secret Service deputy assistant director Anthony Ornato headtopics.com

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got the jobinstead—partly, according to people with knowledge of the selection process, because people had concerns about Miller’s temperament. He had “a petulant personality” and “a very quick temper,” said one White House staffer. “Max,” this person told me, “is the kind of guy who would just double down. … Because, you know, ‘F—, so-and-so, I’ll say it to their face, I’m not afraid’—like, just a lot of weird, macho, tough-guy energy.”

It was a manner that carried over at times in his year-and-a-half-longrelationship with Grisham—especially toward the end. The relationship was serious enough that Grisham, who’s 12 years older than Miller, kept her own downtown apartment but essentially moved in with him in his condo. It was serious enough that they bought a dog together—a French bulldog named Gus. People close to Grisham, though, grew increasingly concerned about Miller’s manner in late 2019 and early 2020. “He would go between getting upset with her and just being very, very cold,” one of them said. And then there were the physical flashes: Once, according to three people who heard about these incidents at the time, Miller threw at her a dog-toy tennis ball when she suggested she suspected he was cheating on her. On several other occasions, they told me, he grabbed her at the elevator as she tried to leave after arguments: Was it

please don’t go? Was he about to tackle her? She couldn’t quite tell. But there was nothing ambiguous, said the three people, about the physical altercation in late April of 2020 that happened amid another confrontation about Grisham’s charges of infidelity: Miller pushed her. He slapped her. She fled. The temperatures that evening dipped into the 40s, and Grisham left with no coat, only her purse.

“None of these alleged ‘three people’ could possibly have any first-hand knowledge of this false incident,” wrote Miller’s attorney, “because it never happened.”“It happened,” a person “very close” to Grisham with no ties to the White House told me. “It was violent,” this person said, “and it was hard for her.” headtopics.com

“We just talked and cried,” another person close to her who worked with her at the White House told me. “This was not a moment of gossip. This was not a moment of slander. This was a moment of pain and fear.”In his letter to POLITICO, Miller’s attorney shared screenshots of a series of emails from that March and April between Grisham and Miller, illuminating the emotional unraveling of their relationship. In response to the sharing of her private emails, Grisham declined to comment. Coursing through the communications, though, are Grisham’s accusations of infidelity—along with Miller’s adamant denials. Nowhere in the emails, including the ones from two days after the alleged incident, does Grisham write specifically about physical violence. It’s Miller’s attorney’s contention that the emails he provided therefore refute the allegation “by way of omission.”

Miller’s attorney pointed as well to an email in March in which Grisham referenced something she had told Miller a few months before—that she considered him “someone who wouldn’t hurt me” and “who I felt safe with.” In that email, however, Grisham also wrote to Miller: “When I’m hurting or scared or unsure, and you know it, you are never there.” Regardless, that email was sent more than a month before the alleged incident. And in the email Miller’s attorney shared that was written some 38 hours after the alleged incident, Grisham’s tone was different.

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“I am leveled,” Grisham wrote to Miller. “I can’t wrap my head around how much you hurt me—it just doesn’t seem possible. Or real. And it won’t go away. People are taking turns watching me. I still don’t understand how you could have done this. I guess it really doesn’t matter. I’m just so hurt. Betrayal is one of the worst kinds of pain. You were my best friend. Don’t write back. I just want you to know how much pain you’ve caused another person.”

“I love you,” Miller wrote back. “I seriously don’t know what I did here? I did not cheat on you. I have no idea what is going on and that is the absolute truth.”“I love you—more than anything—but I am beyond devastated,” Grisham responded late that night, “by who you’ve become and how you’ve treated me.”

“I truly believe that once this community and the district and everyone else gets to know who I am as an individual that they’re going to see that I’m an unapologetic, kind of unfiltered individual,” Miller told me in April.“That’s why the president supported me,” he said.

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