The White House has set records with its rate of staff turnover, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders left another spot open when she announced on June 13 that she would leave her post as press secretary this summer. Her seat won’t be empty for long.
This week her replacement was announced. On Tuesday, Melania Trump shared that someone from her own team—Stephanie Grisham, her deputy chief of staff and communications director—would replace Sanders and handle press issues for the president and his administration.
In a rare move, Trump followed her husband’s example and announced the news on Twitter. “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 wrote.
President Trump also discussed the news with reporters and called Grisham a “fantastic” choice for the role. “Stephanie has been with me from the beginning,” he said. “A lot of people wanted the job; a lot of people wanted to do it. I’ve asked people, ‘Who do you like?’ and so many people said Stephanie. She’s here, she knows everyone, she actually gets along with the media very well.”
Grisham is one of the rare officials who have been with the Trumps since the 2016 campaign, and she’s had multiple roles within the administration. She previously worked as a deputy to former press secretary Sean Spicer, who resigned in 2017. She’ll be Trump’s sixth press secretary in three years.
During her tenure on the First Lady’s team, Grisham emerged as an outspoken and controversial force who often responded to criticism directly on Twitter, much like her new boss. She took issue with the media focusing on Melania Trump’s “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” jacket, and defended Trump amid criticism that her antibullying campaign was at odds with her husband’s inappropriate and misogynistic rhetoric.
“I think that, honestly, one thing really doesn’t have anything to do with the other, and she is focused on helping children,” Grisham said at the time. “She has said many times that her husband is an adult, he’s the president of the United States, he knows what he’s doing, and she’s focused on Be Best, she’s focused on children. Children are the ones who are impressionable right now, and so she’s going to go out there and do the best that she can to help them succeed.”