The revolving door at the front of the Trump administration is continuing to spin. CNN is now reporting that White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is leaving her job and returning to the East Wing to serve as First Lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff after previously serving as Melania’s communications director. Grisham took the White House press secretary role after Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s departure — and she never held a single on-camera press briefing in her entire time in the role. Instead, Grisham mostly opted for an endless stream of appearances on Fox News.
Grisham was already sidelined prior to the CNN report of her departure. She reportedly had no real role in developing or even broadcasting the recent Oval Office address that President Donald Trump delivered to the U.S. amidst the Coronavirus crisis. Every day, the White House Coronavirus task force has been holding their own press briefings, which she has not been a part of, and she even “topped regularly attending senior staff meetings” in recent weeks, according to CNN.
New White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is reportedly considering possible replacements for Grisham including Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany and Defense Department spokeswoman Alyssa Farah. Meadows himself is new to his current position; he’s the fourth chief of staff that the president has had in the less than four years that he’s been in office. Meadows officially resigned from his seat in Congress recently, in preparation for assuming the White House role after proving himself as an ardent Trump ally in Congress.
Trump actually recently complained about his administration’s communications operation. At a Coronavirus task force press conference, he commented:
‘We’ve done a poor job on press relationships, and I guess, I don’t know who to blame for that. Maybe I can blame ourselves for that. I will blame ourselves. But I think we’ve done a great job. I think we’ve done a poor job in terms of press relationship.’
He doesn’t know who to blame for that? Seriously? Donald Trump himself has consistently torpedoed his administration’s relationships with the press via his endless stream of insults and angry rants about the media and their basic operations.
Trump, CNN notes, “often serves as his own spokesman,” leading to a “diminished” importance for formal roles like White House press secretary and communications director. He also frequently relies on a steady circle of his closest shills — like Hope Hicks, the infamous campaign aide who recently returned to work in the White House to work with the president’s son-in-law and outlandishly inexperienced adviser Jared Kushner. He and his wife and fellow presidential adviser Ivanka Trump were actually in the Oval Office during the president’s recent live broadcast from there.
Whoever comes on next as a press secretary will have to grapple with mounting outrage over the president’s fumbled Coronavirus response. He spent weeks and months on end dismissing the virus threat, wasting time that could have been used to more adequately prepare to save lives. Trump frequently appears at least as concerned about his television ratings.