- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 25, 2019

President Trump on Tuesday tapped Stephanie Grisham, press secretary for first lady Melania Trump and a Trump loyalist since the early days of the presidential campaign, as the new White House press secretary and communications director.

The announcement was made on Twitter by Mrs. Trump, who said she and the president “can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country.”

The president said Ms. Grisham “is going to do a fantastic job,” and that he offered her the job Tuesday morning.

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Stephanie has been with me from the beginning,” Mr. Trump said. “The first lady loves her. She knows everybody. She actually gets along with the media very well.”

He said many people wanted the job, adding that deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley, who could have received a promotion, instead recommended Ms. Grisham.

She replaces Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who announced her departure effective at the end of this month.

The White House communications director post has been vacant since Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive, resigned in March.

It’s not clear whether the new press secretary will return to the White House tradition of televised daily press briefings. Mrs. Sanders hadn’t held a briefing in more than three months, in a White House where the president prefers to speak to the media for himself.

Republican strategist Ron Bonjean, who has worked with the West Wing, said of Ms. Grisham: “Stephanie is a well-respected spokesperson who has the trust and backing of the Trump family, which is half the battle in doing the job. She knows the press corps and understands what it’s like being in the trenches since the campaign.”

Ms. Grisham featured prominently in one of the first lady’s most public power plays last year when Mira Ricardel, the president’s deputy national security adviser, was forced out of her post in a feud with the East Wing staff during the first lady’s first solo trip to Africa. Ms. Grisham released a statement calling for the firing of Ms. Ricardel.

“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” she tweeted.

Within days, Ms. Ricardel was out of the White House.

Before joining the Trump campaign in Arizona in 2015, Ms. Grisham worked as the spokeswoman for Republicans in the Arizona state House of Representatives. She also served as a spokeswoman for then-Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.

After Mr. Trump’s victory, she became a special adviser for operations and served on the Trump transition team. She worked briefly as a deputy to Mr. Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer, before moving over to the first lady’s office.

Mrs. Sanders, who took over as White House press secretary in July 2017 when Sean Spicer resigned, said Ms. 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,” she said on Twitter. “Stephanie will do a phenomenal job. Proud to have another mom and a great friend in this role.”

Ms. Grisham is a single mother with two children. Mrs. Sanders, with three children, was the first mother to serve as White House press secretary.

Mrs. Sanders and her family are returning to her native Arkansas, where she hasn’t ruled out a run for governor.

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