Stephanie Grisham, a top aide to first lady Melania Trump, was named Tuesday to replace Sarah Sanders as White House press secretary after a brief but competitive search for the president’s next spokesperson.
Grisham, who developed a reputation as a fierce defender of the first lady during her tenure as spokeswoman, will also become the White House communications director, according to an announcement from the first lady’s office.
“I am pleased to announce @StephGrisham45 will be the next @PressSec & Comms Director!” the first lady tweeted. “She has been with us since 2015 – @potus & I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country. Excited to have Stephanie working for both sides of the @WhiteHouse.”
During a recent “Fox & Friends” interview, President Trump said “a lot of people” were angling for the job. Asked about the possibility of choosing Grisham, the president said, “Stephanie is terrific.”
Other potential candidates thought to be under consideration were Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley, former State Department spokesman Heather Nauert and Tony Sayegh, who recently left his job as Treasury Department spokesman.
Grisham joined the Trump campaign’s press operation in 2015. She previously worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign.
Sanders announced her plans to step down as White House press secretary earlier this month. On Tuesday, Sanders tweeted that Grisham “will be an incredible asset to the president and the country.”
“I’m sad to leave the WH, but so happy to leave our team in such great hands,” Sanders said. “Stephanie will do a phenomenal job. Proud to have another mom and a great friend in this role.”
The role of White House press secretary, while still prominent, has changed during the Trump administration.
Under Sanders, the traditional televised press briefings in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room have largely gone away. Earlier this year, the president said he told Sanders “not to bother” giving those regular briefings anymore, saying the press covers her “rudely and inaccurately.” It’s now become more common for White House spokespeople to take questions from reporters in informal gaggles outside the West Wing.
Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee, worked on her father’s presidential campaign during the 2016 Republican primary until he dropped out of the race. She then joined the Trump campaign and, subsequently, the Trump administration as a White House communications aide. She was promoted to White House press secretary in 2017, after the president’s first top spokesman, Sean Spicer, resigned from the position.
Fox News’ Matt Leach contributed to this report.