The choice has been made on who will take over as White House Press Secretary and that choice was made by Melania Trump. There is no clearer signal being sent that the First Lady is playing a larger role in the administration than the announcement of this decision. Stephanie Grisham, Director of Communications for First Lady Melania Trump is the pick.
Melania Trump made the announcement herself, in a tweet.
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
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) June 25, 2019
The outgoing White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, responded.
@StephGrisham45 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. https://t.co/OYvwL0E1JU
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) June 25, 2019
It is a smart move that the next press secretary will, like Sarah Sanders, be a working mom. Like Sanders, Grisham is known to not take any crap from the press. It’s like how moms handle their children when they act out and do dumb things to get attention. You know, like the White House press corps has a habit of doing for the television cameras. Grisham, like Sanders, doesn’t appear to particularly care if the members of the press corps like her or not. She just does her job, which has been to speak up for Melania Trump.
I’ll be curious to see if Stephanie Grisham is both White House Press Secretary and Communication Director because those are usually two separate positions. In the Trump White House, the position of Communication Director has been held by five people. Sean Spicer held both positions simultaneously but that didn’t work out so well. Mike Dubke, Anthony Scaramucci, Hope Hicks, and Bill Shine all held the White House communications shop’s top job.
Grisham has worked for the Trumps since 2015. She first came onboard during the Trump campaign as a press aide and was part of the presidential transistion team after the election. She was Deputy Press Secretary for Sean Spicer before moving to Melania’s office. She is said to be well-respected by those in both the West Wing and East Wing of the White House.
Will she start the formal White House press briefings again? It’s been 106 days since the last one so that will be of interest to political junkies. Maybe she will just continue on with the informal routine that Sanders established to counter the confrontational daily press briefings. Either way, regular Americans don’t care. They just want President Trump’s staff to serve him competently and Grisham will do that.
Under Sanders, the traditional televised press briefings in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room have largely gone away. Earlier this year, the president said he told Sanders “not to bother” giving those regular briefings anymore, saying the press covers her “rudely and inaccurately.” It’s now become more common for White House spokespeople to take questions from reporters in informal gaggles outside the West Wing.
It would be good if Grisham could work on the abundance of leaks coming out of the West Wing. The First Lady’s office doesn’t seem to have that problem. Meanwhile, Melania Trump’s quiet, behind-the-scenes influence grows. That’s probably a good thing.