After less than a year on the job, White House press secretary and communications director Stephanie Grisham is stepping down, according to senior Trump administration officials.
Grisham is returning to the East Wing to start immediately as first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff and spokesperson, her office announced Tuesday. She previously served in the East Wing as communications director and deputy chief of staff.
Sources tell ABC News Kayleigh McEnany, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, will transition to the West Wing to fill the role of press secretary.
In February, McEnany said during an interview with Fox Business that, thanks to President Trump, "we will not see diseases like the coronavirus" come into the country. At the time, the United States had over a dozen cases, and since then, hundreds of thousands more Americans have been infected.
Alyssa Farah, a Pentagon spokesperson and longtime aide to Trump’s new chief of staff Mark Meadows, will be named as the White House's director of strategic communications, according to sources. Ben Williamson, a senior adviser to Meadows, is expected to become a senior communications adviser in the press office.
As Trump’s third press secretary, Grisham replaced Sarah Sanders in July 2020. As communications director, she succeeded former Fox News executive Bill Shine, assuming the role after it had been left vacant for a number of months. Her appointment was announced in a tweet by Melania Trump last June.
Grisham has been a long-serving member and loyal of the Trump administration, beginning as a campaign aide in 2015 and later serving as a deputy press secretary under Sean Spicer. Grisham developed a reputation for prioritizing the first family’s privacy while working for the first lady.
Through her tenure as press secretary, Grisham never gave a traditional briefing, saying they had become “a lot of theater.” She has publicly criticized the press a number of times, asserting that the media does not regularly cover the president’s successes.
Last month, Grisham spent two weeks in self-quarantine after coming into contact with a Brazilian official who tested positive for COVID-19. She tested negative for the virus.
Grisham fervently defended the president throughout his impeachment, appearing on a number of news programs, including ABC's “Good Morning America” last December. In that interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, Grisham adamantly insisted the president “did nothing wrong” in regard to withholding aid from Ukraine. She also attempted to justify derogatory comments Trump made about the deceased husband of a Michigan congresswoman who supported his impeachment, saying the president was a “counter-puncher.”
Grisham came under fire in November 2019 for claiming without evidence that Obama administration aides left behind taunting notes for incoming Trump officials as they vacated their White House offices in 2017. A number of Obama staffers flatly denied leaving any negative messages, and some even shared letters of encouragement that they said they left behind for their successors.
ABC News’sJordyn Phelps contributed to this report.