After he and fellow author Don Winslow each offered to donate $100,000 to a children’s charity if the White House held a press briefing, Stephen King found himself in the crosshairs of President Trump’s press secretary on Thursday.
Winslow, a crime and mystery novelist, on Wednesday morning sent out a tweet calling for Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham to hold a press conference — which would be her first in her nearly eight months on the job. The White House has not held a press conference since March 11, the longest period of time without a briefing in U.S history.
Winslow said he’d donate $75,000 to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital if the White House would hold a press conference.
It has been 301 days since The White House held a press briefing.
I will donate $75,000 to @StJude in your name if you will hold a one hour press conference *this week* with the full White House Press Corps.
What are you afraid of Stephanie?
— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) January 8, 2020
King then tweeted his support, offering to kick in his own $75,000. Both authors on Thursday morning then upped their contributions to $100,000 each, for a total of $200,000.
I’ll also make it $100,000. That’s 200 K for charity. And all you have to do is YOUR DAMN JOB! https://t.co/AiiiJMly1w
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 9, 2020
On Thursday, Grisham claimed that both authors were agreeing to donate to charity for the wrong reasons.
“If you have $200,000 to play with, why not just help children because it’s a good thing to do?” Grisham said during an interview on CNN. “Donations to charity should never come with strings attached.”
Winslow noted that both he and King regularly donate to charity. The Bangor-based Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation has for decades donated tens of millions of dollars to municipalities and organizations across Maine. In addition to high-profile ventures including major renovations to the Bangor Public Library and the construction of the sports and recreation complex at Hayford Park on 13th Street, the foundation has given grants to Maine fire and rescue departments, libraries, homeless shelters and groups that help at-risk youth, among many others.
King has a long history of tweeting about the Trump administration, and about other politicians he’s not a fan of, including Maine Sen. Susan Collins. In August 2017, his outspoken criticism of Trump resulted in both the president blocking King on Twitter, and King later saying he would block Trump from seeing either “IT” or his new TV series, “Mr. Mercedes.” In one of his tweets, he told Trump to “go float yourself.”
Donald Trump blocked me on Twitter. I am hereby blocking him from seeing IT or MR. MERCEDES. No clowns for you, Donald. Go float yourself.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) August 25, 2017