Melania, Ivanka Absence at Trial 'Absolutely' Bothers Donald Trump: Ex-Aide

melania, ivanka absence at trial 'absolutely' bothers donald trump: ex-aide

Former President Donald Trump speaks outside the White House next to Ivanka Trump (left) and Melania Trump (right) on August 27, 2020. Former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump is bothered by their absence from his hush money trial. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump is "absolutely" bothered by Melania and Ivanka Trump not attending his hush money trial in New York City, according to his former press secretary, Stephanie Grisham.

Jury deliberation began this week in the former president's trial, following weeks of testimony surrounding Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's accusations that he falsified business documents in connection to a hush money payment allegedly made to adult film actor Stormy Daniels. Bragg alleged the payment was made during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign to prevent Daniels from speaking publicly about her allegations of having an affair with Trump and affecting the campaign.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has denied having an affair with Daniels and pleaded not guilty to all charges. He maintains his innocence, accusing Bragg of targeting him for political purposes.

Amid the trial, many observers have noticed that Trump's wife, former First Lady Melania Trump, and daughter Ivanka Trump have not made appearances in the courtroom. Three of Trump's other children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump, have attended to show support to their father, but Melania and Ivanka's absences has sparked discussion.

Grisham said during an interview on CNN Wednesday that she believes Trump is bothered that they have not made an appearance.

"Absolutely, I know it bothers him. That kind of thing would bother him. If Mrs. Trump wasn't at some event and it was really noted, he would definitely bring it up with her," she said. "So I'm sure in this context, it's definitely really bothering him."

Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign for comment via email.

Grisham said she believes Ivanka may be reluctant to attend to keep the case further away from her children. She added that she is not surprised her that neither Ivanka nor Melania has attended the trial. She said she'd be "absolutely floored" if Melania showed up when the jury announes its verdict, she said.

"I think that Melania and Ivanka are both thinking of their own optics," she said. "They haven't been here the whole time. I'm just not sure that showing up now would do anything but cause even more speculation."

Jury deliberations officially began on Wednesday. Some legal analysts have said they may last longer than in a normal trial due to Trump's status as a former president. No former president has ever faced a criminal trial.

As the second day of deliberations began, the jury made several requests for more refined instructions and headphones from Judge Juan Merchan, who has overseen the trial. Parts of former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker's testimony were re-read to the jury. They resumed deliberations at about 11:19 a.m.

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