Stephanie Grisham, the spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump, will replace Sarah Sanders as White House press secretary and will fill the vacant post of communications director.
The first lady announced the combined role for Grisham on Tuesday, writing on Twitter that "@potus & I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country."
A 2016 Trump campaign veteran who built a close relationship with the first lady, Grisham emerged as a heavy front-runner for the press secretary position last week, asreported bytheWashington Examiner.
Chief Political Correspondent Byron York on the expanded Washington Examiner magazine
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Grisham, 42, benefited from having many supporters close to Trump. Although not a frequent television surrogate, she's viewed as intensely loyal to the president and unafraid to take on adversaries.
"I don’t think Sarah was as sharp as her. Grisham won’t hesitate to slide that knife into someone's back, which is what you need. This is the White House," one supporter close to the White House said.
In November, Grisham commanded headlines with an unusual statement calling for the ouster of Mira Ricardel, a National Security Council official with whom the first lady clashed on a trip to Africa. Ricardel quickly lost her job.
Many former associates described her as pleasant to work with, despite her tough reputation.
“Stephanie is not the type who would go in and start firing people. That's not how she's wired,” said one former White House official, denyinga rumorthat she would terminate a senior White House communications official if given the opportunity.
Grisham served as communications director for the first lady for two years. She briefly served in the main White House press office after working on Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The first lady's tweet announcing Grisham's new positions suggested she would retain her current role as the first lady's communications director. The White House did not immediately clarify whether she will have two jobs, or three.
The White House communications director position has been empty since the March resignation of former Fox News executive Bill Shine. That job's necessity has been questioned recently, with the president generally crafting his own communications strategy, sometimes on the fly.
A single mother of two sons, Grisham followed Trump to Washington from Arizona, where she worked for state Republicans, including then-Attorney General Tom Horne. In 2012, she was part of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign.
While working as a traveling press secretary on the 2016 Trump campaign, she was so dedicated shedid not see her sonJake, who was then 8 years old, for 5 1/2 months. Her older son has now graduated from high school.
Sanders will depart this week as press secretary. It's not immediately clear when Grisham will move into her office, which comes with a fireplace and a view of the White House's northern driveway, a stretch of asphalt that has largely replaced the briefing room as the venue for on-camera interaction between spokesman and reporters. People close to the White House speculated that a Grisham selection would mean continued driveway gaggles in lieu of briefings.