Grisham leaves role as White House press secretary

Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamIvana Trump on Melania as first lady: 'She's very quiet, and she really doesn't go to too many places' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump uses White House as campaign backdrop Coronavirus tests not required for all Melania Trump speech attendees: report MORE is leaving her position as White House press secretary after less than a year on the job, according to two people familiar with the matter.

She is expected to return to her original post representing first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Ginsburg becomes the first woman to lie in state in the Capitol Rabbi memorializes Ginsburg: Her dissents were 'blueprints for the future' MORE.

Grisham, who replaced Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersSarah Sanders on Trump's reported war dead criticism: 'Those comments didn't happen' Sarah Sanders memoir reportedly says Trump joked she should hook up with Kim Jong Un McEnany stamps her brand on White House press operation MORE Sanders in June, will leave her position without ever having conducted a White House briefing. Her departure follows the arrival of President Trump’s new chief of staff, Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsWhite House chief of staff knocks FBI director over testimony on election fraud Anxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid Pelosi hopeful COVID-19 relief talks resume 'soon' MORE, who is said to be interviewing potential replacements. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Grisham worked on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and served as the first lady's communications director. She retained her role in the East Wing and was named White House communications director upon being elevated to the position of Trump’s press secretary.

She will return to the East Wing to serve as Melania Trump’s spokeswoman and chief of staff effective immediately, the first lady said in a statement issued later Tuesday morning. 

“I am excited to welcome Stephanie back to the team in this new role,” the first lady said. “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.” 

Lindsay Reynolds stepped down as Melania Trump’s chief of staff earlier this week to spend more time with her family, according to the statement. 

“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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Her West Wing exit, which was first reported by CNN, comes amid talk of a broader staff shake up under Meadows. Jessica Ditto, another communications aide, announced last month she would be leaving for the private sector. 

Meadows is said to be interested in having Alyssa Farah, a former House Freedom Caucus spokeswoman and the current press secretary for the Pentagon, serve as White House press secretary.

Grisham was Trump’s third press secretary, following Sanders and former Republican National Committee communications director Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerKellyanne Conway to leave White House at end of month Pro-Trump duo Diamond and Silk launch new program on Newsmax TV The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Supreme Court's unanimous decision on the Electoral College MORE

Grisham’s legacy as press secretary is largely defined by her lack of visibility. She did not hold a single press briefing, nor did she engage in gaggles with reporters on camera, something deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley, White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwaySpecial counsel investigating DeVos for potential Hatch Act violation: report George and Kellyanne Conway honor Ginsburg Trump carries on with rally, unaware of Ginsburg's death MORE and top economic adviser Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE do regularly.

The outgoing press secretary did appear frequently on Fox News programming, where she was occasionally asked about the lack of briefings. She attributed the decision to President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE’s accessibility and her belief that reporters used the briefings as “theatre” to boost their profile.

She stirred controversy on a few occasions when she granted or limited access to certain outlets. Grisham suspended a Playboy reporter’s hard pass last summer, citing a lack of decorum at a Rose Garden event attended by pro-Trump social media personalities. She caused an uproar again last week by inviting One America News Network to attend coronavirus press briefings as her guest, even though doing so violated social distancing policies put in place for public health reasons.

Olivia Beavers contributed.