WASHINGTON – Stephanie Grisham is stepping down as White House press secretary and returning to the East Wing as chief of staff to First Lady Melania Trump, according to a White House statement Tuesday.
Grisham spent less than a year in the post, and without ever holding a press briefing, a practice that is customary of the role but was ended by former press secretary Sarah Sanders.
She is expected to begin her role immediately, according to a statement from first lady Melania Trump that announced the change. Grisham’s replacement will be announced in the coming days. Grisham added she would remain in the West Wing “to help with a smooth transition for as long as needed.”
The East Wing statement added that the first lady’s current chief of staff, Lindsay Reynolds, resigned earlier this week to spend time with her family.
Grisham has been noticeably absent from the administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, but had recently self-quarantined after coming into contact with members of a Brazilian delegation who tested postive for COVID-19 at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
The announcement comes amid a staff shake-up at the White House, which includes President Donald Trump’s new chief of staff Mark Meadows and last week’s departure of deputy communications director Jessica Ditto.
Grisham initially dismissed media reports last week that Meadows was considering replacing her with Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany or Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah.
“Sounds like more palace intrigue to me, but I’ve also been in quarantine,” she told Axios. “If true, how ironic that the press secretary would hear about being replaced in the press.”
Trump named Grisham as his third press secretary last June, replacing Sanders, who returned to her home state of Arkansas.
Grisham, an Arizona native, has a long history with the Trump family and is known for her loyalty to them, particularly the first lady. She’s one of the few remaining White House staffers who worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016
After Trump was elected, she went to the White House to work as a deputy to Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer.
On the campaign trail, Grisham helped arrange political stops for Trump around Arizona and the southwest, a role that quickly expanded to include Trump rallies around the country. Grisham also worked on Mitt Romney’s campaign for president in 2012.