First lady Melania Trump is tapping a key member of the White House communications staff for her East Wing team — deputy press secretary Stephanie Grisham will serve as the first lady’s communications director, the White House announced Monday.
Grisham was the director of traveling press during President Donald Trump’s campaign, responsible for securing and running the campaign’s press plane, which traveled independently in a separate plane from the candidate. She was one of the early members of the campaign’s press operation, working Trump events around the country during the beginning stages of the campaign before leaving her job in Arizona to join Trump’s team full-time. She was known fondly by reporters on the campaign trail for her no-nonsense approach to working with the press.
“Stephanie is a wonderful addition to the team,” the first lady said in a statement. “She brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the job, and will be an incredible asset to my office as we build out our agenda, preserve our country’s rich traditions and serve the American people.”
She was the former press secretary of the Arizona House of Representatives, and, per the White House, brings 10 years of experience in communications, media relations and press logistics, per the White House.
Grisham said she was “honored” by the new opportunity, noting that she will help promote Trump’s initiatives as first lady.
“Mrs. Trump’s life story is an inspiration to millions of mothers and female entrepreneurs, and to me personally. I deeply respect and admire her commitment to our country, her family and to the important role of the first lady. I look forward to helping her communicate her unifying message of kindness and empowerment,” she said in a statement.
Until now, there has been no formal contact for the East Wing press inquiries. The first lady has made no public remarks since her husband took office, with the exception of a brief speech at an inaugural ball. Grisham joins an East Wing team that has been slow to staff up but continues to come together in the months before Trump makes her official move to Washington at the conclusion of the school year.
The first lady appointed Lindsay Reynolds as her chief of staff and Anna Cristina Niceta Lloyd, known as Rickie, as social secretary in early February. Longtime friend and former Vogue events director Stephanie Winston Wolkoff is Trump’s acting senior adviser and chief strategist.
Trump herself acknowledged her staffing delay in a statement last month.
“I am putting together a professional and highly experienced team which will take time to do properly,” Trump said. “I am excited to be organizing and bringing together such a dynamic and forward-thinking group of individuals who will work together to make our country better for everyone.”