Meadows’s moves — especially Grisham’s replacement, which she and her staff learned was under consideration in a report last week by Axios — have suddenly dialed up tension in a building that has long been riven by infighting, according to multiple people familiar with the situation.
Meadows told Grisham over the weekend he wanted her to give up the press secretary position and serve only as the White House communications director. She declined, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Grisham has a powerful advocate in the White House: first lady Melania Trump, who promptly brought the ousted press secretary back to the East Wing as her personal chief of staff. The only formal announcement about the staff changes on Tuesday came from the first lady’s office, which some of the people suggested was a sign of her displeasure…
Top aides still have confidence in Meadows and are trying to work with him. But there is concern that he hasn’t spent time getting to know how the West Wing works before making aggressive changes, the people said.