Melania Trumps top aide picked as press secretary

Stephanie Grisham, press secretary for First Lady Melania Trump, attends the Congressional Picnic on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, June 21, 2019Image copyright

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Stephanie Grisham, press secretary for First Lady Melania Trump

A top aide to Melania Trump will be the next White House press secretary and communications director, the first lady has announced on Twitter.

Stephanie Grisham, who serves as the first lady’s deputy chief of staff and communications director, will fill the vacancy left by Sarah Sanders.

“I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country,” Mrs Trump wrote on Twitter.

Mrs Sanders announced her resignation from the post earlier this month.

Calling her time at the White House “the honour of a lifetime”, Mrs Sanders said she would be returning to Arkansas at the end of June to spend more time with her family.

Ms Grisham, considered a leading candidate for Mrs Sanders’ replacement, has worked for the Trump family since 2015.

She will accompany US President Donald Trump in her new role on his trip to Japan and Korea this week, CNN reported.

Ms Grisham will serve both as press secretary and communications director, a post that has been empty since the departure of Bill Shine in March.

Who is the next press secretary?

Ms Grisham began working for the Trump family in 2015 and is one of the last remaining aides from the presidential campaign who still serves in the White House.

She previously worked as a spokeswoman and a communications operative in Republican politics, including Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign for president.

Throughout her tenure in the administration, Ms Grisham has been fiercely loyal to the first lady and the Trump family.

“She has developed a great amount of trust from both the president and the first lady, which is a pretty high commodity here,” said Mrs Sanders to the Washington Post last year. “There aren’t a lot of people who have a lot of regular interaction with both of them.”

In June 2017, when Mr Trump tweeted that MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski was “bleeding badly from a facelift”, Mrs Grisham rushed to defend his remarks.

“When her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” Ms Grisham said in a statement on behalf of Mrs Trump.

Last June when Mrs Trump was criticised for her choice of a jacket worn on a trip to a migrant child detention centre in Texas, Ms Grisham quickly lambasted US media for focusing on the first lady’s fashion choice.

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Media captionLauren Wright, politics and public affairs expert, on the significance of Melania Trump’s “I don’t care” jacket

Ms Grisham has also reportedly taken bold steps to protect the first lady within the White House.

Last fall, reports circulated that deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel clashed with members of the first lady’s staff as Mrs Trump prepared for her first solo trip abroad to Africa.

When Mr Trump’s team failed to take action, Ms Grisham put out a statement dismissing Mrs Ricardel, without any warning to the administration, according to the Washington Post.

“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House,” the statement said.

Days later, Mrs Ricardel left her post and transitioned to a new role within the administration.

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