WASHINGTON – Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump's loyal and sometimes combative communications director, will replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders as White House press secretary, the first lady announced Tuesday.
She will also take on the added role of communications director, a job that has been vacant since the departure of Bill Shine in March.
Grisham joined the Trump campaign in 2015 and is one of the last remaining aides from President Donald Trump's campaign still serving in the White House. She became a trusted aide after the Trumps moved into the White House, known for defending Melania Trump and the Trump family, and for her ability to keep the East Wing relatively free of leaks.
Grisham will be Donald Trump's third press secretary in less than three years.
His first press secretary, Sean Spicer, a former spokesman and strategist for the Republican National Committee, set the tone of the White House press operation in the opening days of the administration, when he stood behind the podium and declared that Trump's inauguration drew "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe." Spicer, who also filled both roles for a time, had hoped to last one year in the job, but quit after six months and one day.
Sanders took a different approach to the job, slowly phasing out the daily press briefing that Trump never liked, and functioning more as an inner circle adviser to the president.
With Sanders' departure, White House officials have been debating internally whether to revive the daily news briefing as Trump heads into the thick of election season.
On the day Sanders announced her resignation, it had been 94 days since she held a briefing with the press, and some officials have argued it would be a powerful tool that would help elevate Trump above his Democratic opponent in the 2020 race.
Grisham, who has earned the president's trust, is expected to institute real changes to an office that has been in flux for 2½ years. In the White House, she has emerged as a ferocious defender of Melania Trump, writing op-eds criticizing the media for the way it covers her.