Kayleigh McEnany to take over as White House press secretary
Kayleigh McEnany is leaving President Trump’s reelection campaign to serve as the new White House press secretary, two sources confirmed on Tuesday.
The former Republican National Committee spokeswoman and the current spokeswoman for the Trump campaign will take over for outgoing press secretary Stephanie Grisham.
McEnany, 31, has long been a fierce defender of the president in television interviews and through the campaign. She was a frequent presence on the campaign trail, appearing at Trump rallies and participating in events for the group Women for Trump.
A formal announcement is expected later Tuesday.
The New York Times first reported the news.
The addition of McEnany is part of a broader overhaul of the White House press shop under new chief of staff Mark Meadows. The changes come at a critical moment for the administration as it works to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Her arrival also underscores the increasing focus on the president’s reelection as one of his top campaign surrogates becomes the face of the White House press shop.
Alyssa Farah is expected to join the West Wing as director of strategic communications, according to one of the two sources who confirmed the shakeup. Farah is currently the Pentagon press secretary and previously served as spokeswoman for Vice President Pence and the House Freedom Caucus.
Ben Williamson, who served as Meadows’s chief of staff on Capitol Hill, will become a senior communications adviser in the White House.
McEnany will be the fourth press secretary of the Trump administration. She follows Grisham, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sean Spicer. Both Grisham and Spicer lasted less than a year in the job.
The role of press secretary has been difficult for McEnany’s predecessors, as Trump has long been viewed as his own spokesman. He has commandeered the daily coronavirus task force briefings in recent weeks, often taking questions from and sparring with reporters for up to two hours each evening.
The White House announced earlier Tuesday that Grisham would depart as press secretary to return to the East Wing as the first lady’s chief of staff and spokeswoman.
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 Conway and top economic adviser Larry Kudlow do regularly.
The outgoing press secretary did appear frequently on Fox News programs, where she was occasionally asked about the lack of briefings. She attributed the decision to Trump’s accessibility and her belief that reporters used the briefings as “theatre” to boost their profiles.
Olivia Beavers contributed to this report, which was updated at 12:38 p.m.