Stephanie Grisham is leaving her position as White House Press Secretary and returning to the East Wing, the Trump administration announced on April 7. Grisham didn’t hold a single press briefing during her 10 months on the job.
Update, 4/7/20, 10:45am ET: Stephanie Grisham is out as White House Press Secretary after less than a year, the White House announced in a statement on April 7. Grisham, who did not hold a single press briefing during her time as press secretary, will return to her former position as First Lady Melania Trump‘s spokesperson. She is also Trump’s new chief of staff, replacing Lindsay Reynolds, who resigned on April 6 to spend more time with her family. “I am excited to welcome Stephanie back to the team in this new role,” Trump said. “She has been a mainstay and true leader in the Administration from even before day one, and she will excel as Chief of Staff. I appreciate all that Lindsay Reynolds did over the past three years, and wish her well in her future endeavors.”
“I continue to be honored to serve both the President and First Lady in the Administration,” Grisham said in a statement. “My replacements will be announced in the coming days and I will stay in the West Wing to help with a smooth transition for as long as needed.”
ORIGINAL: President Donald Trump has named Stephanie Grisham as his new press secretary, replacing Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who will step down from the role on June 28. Grisham, 42, has been First Lady Melania Trump‘s press representative since 2017, and she broke the news in a tweet on June 25. “I am pleased to announce @StephGrisham45 will be the next @PressSec & Comms Director! She has been with us since 2015 – @POTUS & I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country. Excited to have Stephanie working for both sides of the @WhiteHouse. #BeBest,” she tweeted. Now that Stephanie’s pulling double duty in the White House, it’s time to learn more about her:
1. She’s the longest-serving member of the Trump administration. Grisham joined the Trump presidential campaign in 2015 after taking an unpaid leave from the Arizona State House of Representatives. As a member of Trump’s Arizona team, she helped arrange his campaign stops in the state, and then throughout the United States. After Trump was elected president, Grisham became a special adviser for operations, and served on his transition team. Grisham became former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer‘s deputy in 2017 before being scooped up by the FLOTUS to become her spokesperson and press secretary.
2. She will remain Melania Trump’s spokesperson while White House Press Secretary. Rather than give her up to be the White House communications director, the first lady is keeping Grisham as her personal press representative.
3. She worked in communications and politics before joining the Trump campaign. Grisham was the spokeswoman for Arizona attorney general Tom Horne, for the Arizona House of Representatives Republican caucus, and Arizona House speaker David Gowan. She also worked on Mitt Romney‘s presidential campaign in 2012. When she joined the Trump campaign in 2015, Grisham was working as an independent contractor.
4. She was accused of violating the Hatch Act. The US Office of the Special Counsel stated that Grisham violated the Hatch Act after she tweeted President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” from her official account (@StephGrisham45) on July 11, 2018: “Three years ago today I listened to my gut & joined the Trump team in #PHX … & life has never been the same. So proud to work for both @POTUS @realDonaldTrump & @FLOTUS #MAGA.” Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) lodged the complaint. The agency issued Grisham a warning letter; violating the Hatch Act is not a crime, but a workplace violation. The act, established in 1939, prohibits federal employees who work for the executive branch from affecting elections or engaging in partisan politics. That includes not tweeting, retweeting, sharing, or liking a post that asks for political contributions. The only people protected by the Hatch Act are the president and vice president.
5. Huckabee Sanders reportedly didn’t want Grisham as her successor. Huckabee Sanders was reportedly talking up her deputy Press Secretary, Hogan Gidley, as her replacement, a source familiar with the situation told CNN. Interestingly, Grisham was also reportedly pushing Gidley for the job. But Grisham was President Trump’s pick from the beginning, as he apparently wanted someone from his inner role in the position. Grisham and Huckabee Sanders reportedly met at the White House, where they were faced with reporters gathered outside her office. Huckabee Sanders told Grisham she should “get used to it.”
However, she tweeted on June 25 that, Grisham “will be an incredible asset to the President and the country. I’m sad to leave the WH, but so happy to leave our team in such great hands. Stephanie will do a phenomenal job. Proud to have another mom and a great friend in this role.”
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