Stephanie Grisham is stepping down as White House press secretary and returning to the East Wing to serve as first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff and spokesperson, the first lady’s office announced Tuesday.
“I am excited to welcome Stephanie back to the team in this new role,” the first lady said in a statement. “She has been a mainstay and true leader in the Administration from even before day one, and I know she will excel as Chief of Staff.”
Grisham’s new role, first reported by CNN, will begin immediately, according to the first lady’s office. Lindsay Reynolds, a former event planner, resigned as the first lady’s chief of staff “early this week to spend time with her family,” the office said.
“I continue to be honored to serve both the President and First Lady in the Administration,” Grisham said in a statement. “My replacements will be announced in the coming days and I will stay in the West Wing to help with a smooth transition for as long as needed.”
During her time as White House press secretary, Grisham never once held a traditional press briefing. She scoffed at a letter in January from past presidential aides that called for a return of the regular briefings.
“The press has unprecedented access to President Trump, yet they continue to complain because they can’t grandstand on TV,” Grisham told Axios at the time. “They’re not looking for information, they’re looking for a moment.”
Grisham replaced Sarah Huckabee Sanders as press secretary in June 2019. Since then, Grisham has also served as the White House’s communications director. Previously, she worked as the first lady’s communications director.
CNN reported that Grisham’s departure is part of a shake-up on the White House communications team set in motion by Trump’s new chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
Meadows previously served as a congressman from North Carolina. He resigned from the House on March 30, a day before becoming Trump’s chief of staff.
McEnany would be the Trump White House’s fourth press secretary. Sean Spicer was the first to fill that role. He resigned from the office after just six months on the job.
Trump suggested last month that he was unhappy with how the White House press team has handled communications related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve done a poor job on press relationships,” Trump said during a White House briefing. “I guess, I don’t know who to blame for that. Maybe I can blame ourselves for that.”
Like Trump, McEnany initially downplayed the threat of the virus.
“This president will always put America first,” she told Fox Business in February. “We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here.”
S.V. Date contributed reporting.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.