The White House named a top aide to US First Lady Melania Trump as its new press secretary.
Stephanie Grisham, communications director for Melania Trump and a longtime aide to President Donald Trump, will replace Sarah Sanders when she steps down on Friday, the first lady announced on Twitter on Tuesday.
“I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country,” she said.
Sanders resigned earlier this month to return to her home state of Arkansas and spend more time with her family.
The president told reporters that Grisham, 42, was “very talented” and “would do a great job”.
“Stephanie has been with me from the beginning,” he said. “Over the last couple of years she’s worked for the first lady, done fantastic job.”
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
Grisham, a fixture of the Republican Party in Arizona, has been part of the Trump team since 2015 when she was hired as a press aide for his presidential campaign.
In addition to the role of press secretary, she will become communications director – a post that has been vacant since former Fox News executive Bill Shine left in March.
Grisham, who has yet to comment publicly on her new appointment, will also continue to serve the first lady.
Grisham is one of the few Trump campaign officials still at the White House and is thought to be someone Trump trusts.
Prior to joining the Trump campaign, she worked in Republican politics in Arizona as a spokeswoman and communications adviser.
She will now be tasked with managing a president who regularly sidesteps his press team to communicate via Twitter, as well as navigating the rocky relationship between the Trump White House and the media.
Under Sanders, daily White House press briefings were cancelled, but Trump seemed to suggest on Tuesday that relations would be less contentious under Grisham.
“She actually gets along with the media,” he said, without specifying whether the briefings would resume.
Despite Trump’s comments, Grisham has a record of taking jabs at the media in defence of her employers.
While attempting to smother the controversy over Melania Trump’s choice of jacket for a trip to a migrant detention centre last year, Grisham hit out at the media for focusing on the first lady’s outfit over her activities.
“Today’s visit w the children in Texas impacted @flotus greatly. If the media would spend their time & energy on her actions & efforts to help kids – rather than speculate & focus on her wardrobe – we could get so much accomplished on behalf of children #SheCares #ItsJustAJacket,” Grisham wrote on Twitter at the time.
Today’s visit w the children in Texas impacted @flotus greatly. If media would spend their time & energy on her actions & efforts to help kids – rather than speculate & focus on her wardrobe – we could get so much accomplished on behalf of children. #SheCares #ItsJustAJacket
— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) June 21, 2018
In April, she accused the UK Daily Mail of “liberal media bias” over the publication of a story about the wind messing up the first lady’s hair as she arrived in North Carolina.
Grisham was also involved in her own scandal when Arizona’s then-attorney general Tom Horne and several of his staffers – including Grisham – were accused of running Horne’s 2014 re-election campaign out of his official office while being paid by taxpayers.
She was handling press for Horne at the time and aggressively defended him. The campaign agreed in 2014 to pay a $10,000 fine and in 2017 independent investigators found Grisham and other aides broke the law but recommended no criminal charges.