Carmine Sabia| Opinion| It was a little over an hour ago that it was announced that Stephanie Grisham would no longer be serving as President Donald Trump’s press secretary.
And within that hour the president named her replacement as former CNN personality Kayleigh McEnany who was acting as a spokesperson for the president’s 2020 campaign, The New York Times reported.
Her hiring is the first major personnel move by the incoming White House chief of staff, former Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina. It was first reported by CNN.
Ms. Grisham, who never held a press briefing in her nine-month tenure as the president’s spokeswoman, will become Mrs. Trump’s chief of staff, replacing Lindsay Reynolds, who resigned, according a statement from the first lady’s office.
Also joining the White House press staff will be Alyssa Farah, a top spokeswoman at the Defense Department who once worked for Vice President Mike Pence, according to people briefed on the moves. Ms. Farah is close with Mr. Meadows, whose longtime congressional aide, Ben Williamson, will also join the communications team as an adviser.
It is unclear whether Ms. McEnany will revive the traditional role of a White House press secretary — answering questions from reporters in a daily briefing. Mr. Meadows wants her to focus on defending the president on television, according to people familiar with the move.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham is done with her role and is going back to working for first lady Melania Trump.
The news came on Tuesday as CNN broke the story on television and on its website.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is leaving the job without ever having briefed the press. CNN has learned she is returning to the East Wing as first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff as President Donald Trump’s new chief of staff Mark Meadows shakes up the communications team in the West Wing.
Meadows is currently considering several candidates for the press secretary job, including Trump campaign spokesman Kayleigh McEnany. The new chief of staff is also considering hiring Alyssa Farah, the current spokeswoman for the Defense Department, for a communications role, among others, two sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.
Farah has held several roles in the Trump administration. After leaving her job as the spokeswoman for the House Freedom Caucus to become Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, she moved to the Pentagon last August. But this would be her first position in the West Wing. Farah has remained close with Meadows since her days at the Freedom Caucus.
Grisham, who still speaks with first lady Melania Trump on a daily basis, is returning to where she has spent the majority of her time in the administration, the East Wing.
Grisham did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.
It became clear to aides that a shakeup in the communications team could be coming after the deputy communications director, Jessica Ditto, abruptly announced she was leaving her job last week. She had recently moved to a new desk, and the move surprised her colleagues.
In recent weeks, Grisham stopped regularly attending senior staff meetings and has not played a major role as the administration has dealt with the coronavirus outbreak. After Vice President Mike Pence was tasked to lead the task force, his communications team took over as well.
Though Grisham initially told people she planned to revive the daily press briefing that previous press secretary Sarah Sanders abandoned by the end of her tenure, she never did, which she often said was at the President’s direction. She rarely strayed from interviews with Fox News Channel, which she did from the channel’s Washington bureau, denying reporters the chance to question her during walk-and-talk gaggles on the White House driveway.
“Stephanie Grisham is out as press secretary. She never briefed reporters during her tenure. She’s going back to the East Wing. And a communications shakeup is underway,” CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins said.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 7, 2020
News: Stephanie Grisham is returning to the East Wing to serve as the First Lady’s Chief of Staff. Mark Meadows is shaking up the White House comms team.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 7, 2020
>> @KaitlanCollins and @KateBennett_DC's scoop: "White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is leaving the job without ever having briefed the press. CNN has learned she is returning to the East Wing as first lady Melania Trump's chief of staff…" https://t.co/J8YOgjuytV
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 7, 2020
— Chanel Rion OAN (@ChanelRion) April 4, 2020
Breaking: Stephanie Grisham is out as WH press secretary.
She is leaving the job without ever having briefed the press.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) April 7, 2020