White House correspondents were getting over their shock the new press secretary is the first lady’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham on Wednesday afternoon.
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Betting had been strong among those who cover the president the successor to outgoing press secretary Sarah Sanders would be her deputy Hogan Gidley.
Grisham, whose appointment was announced via Twitter by first lady Melania Trump, reportedly favors restoring the daily televised briefings by the press secretary that Trump ended earlier this year.
Sources say she believes the briefings can be helpful to the administration with the right person fielding questions from the podium.
Grisham will certainly have the “clout” to make it happen, as she will serve as both the new press secretary as well as White House director of communications — an unprecedented move that gives Grisham oversight of media strategy for the White House as well as being its chief spokeswoman.
(With the exception of a few weeks early in the Trump administration in which press secretary Sean Spicer held the communications slot while it was waiting to be filled, no one has held both positions simultaneously since the job of communications director was created by Richard Nixon in 1969).
Grisham — 42 and a single mother of two — has spent most of her adult life as a professional spokeswoman for Republican politicians in her homestate of Arizona.
As spokeswoman for then-House Speaker Dave Gowan in 2016, Grisham oversaw a highly controversial policy of revoking reporters’ credentials at the State Capitol until they took background checks.
The Arizona Capitol Times believed this was retaliation for their pursuit of a story about Gowan’s use of state vehicles for campaigns.
“When I called Grisham to get an explanation, she made no bones about the fact the [Capitol Times’] access had been pulled because of the story,” recalled Jim Small, editor of the Arizona News Service. “She accused the paper of working for Chandler attorney Tom Ryan, who was quoted in the original story saying he intended to file a complaint against Gowan and the others for misusing the state vehicles.”
“‘This can be worked out with attorneys. I’m not going to go any further,’ she said before hanging up the phone in the middle of my follow-up question.”
Grisham also worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012 and coordinated press for the visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. in 2015. That same year, she joined Trump’s campaign and helped build his organization in Arizona.
Impressed by Grisham’s drive and loyalty, Trump brought her on board the national campaign and later the transition team and White House.
Stephanie Grisham’s fierce loyalty and dedication to the Trumps is unquestioned. Whether that is enough for her to bring back the popular daily briefings is a big question at this point.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.