Stephanie Grisham, Who Says Trump is a ‘Genius,’ Has Quite a Sordid Past
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham’s made commentators’ jaws drop by attacking a former Donald Trump official as “totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President.”
The comment was prompted by former Chief of Staff John Kelly saying in an interview he regretted leaving the administration and warned Trump about hiring “yes men.”
“He just wants to come back into the action like everybody else does,” Trump told a reporter, dismissing Kelly’s comments.
NEW: President Trump responds to the John Kelly comments: “John Kelly never said that, he never said anything like that. If he would have said that I would have thrown him out of the office. He just wants to come back into the action like everybody else does.” per @nikkicarvajal
— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) October 26, 2019
Then Grisham chimed in with a thought of her own about Kelly, saying “I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President.”
And @PressSec responds as well: “I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President.”
— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) October 26, 2019
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So who is Ms. Grisham?
Melania Trump announced via Twitter that Stephanie Grisham, who has served as the First Lady’s press secretary, would be replacing outgoing Sarah Huckabee Sanders as White House press secretary.
For the second time, the Trump administration is combining the Press Secretary role and Communications Director role as Grisham will be filling both Sanders’ and Bill Shine’s former position all at once.
Melania Trump tweeted:
I am pleased to announce @StephGrisham45 will be the next @PressSec & Comms Director! She has been with us since 2015 – @potus & I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country. Excited to have Stephanie working for both sides of the @WhiteHouse. #BeBest
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) June 25, 2019
The announcement of such a visible member of the Trump Administration’s communications team from the First Lady is a unique twist to this announcement, but given that the First Lady is giving up her own press secretary to her husband, perhaps this was a nod to Ms. Trump.
Grisham has a past in Republican Arizona politics, and per this article from the Washington Post, Grisham was stopped for driving under the influence in 2013 and 2015.
In 2013 and 2015, Grisham was stopped for driving under the influence, according to Arizona court records. She paid all associated fines and disclosed both incidents to the White House during the transition.
Outgoing press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that Grisham “will be an incredible asset to the President and the country.”
“Proud to have another mom and a great friend in this role,” Sanders added.
.@StephGrisham45 will be an incredible asset to the President and the country. I’m sad to leave the WH, but so happy our team will be in such great hands. Stephanie will do a phenomenal job. Proud to have another mom and a great friend in this role! https://t.co/OYvwL0E1JU
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) June 25, 2019
In serving as spokeswoman for the first lady, Grisham has been able to limit leaks in ways the West Wing has not. Her tenure has been marked by her fierce defenses of Melania Trump, which have included public criticisms of the president’s allies and the news media’s coverage.
It’s unclear if Grisham will preside over significant changes to the White House press operation. Sanders oversaw the demise of the daily briefing.
On Jan. 9, 2013, when she was working for Horne, Gilbert police arrested Grisham on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving faster than reasonable, records show.
She planned to go to trial and the matter dragged out for more than a year before she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor reckless driving in August 2014. She spent a night in jail and was placed on two years’ probation.
The case returned to court twice over Grisham’s failure to pay the $779 in fines and her not completing a session with Mothers Against Drunk Driving about the impact of impaired driving.
On Dec. 5, 2015, months after joining the Trump campaign, Grisham found trouble again.
Scottsdale police arrested her that night on suspicion of DUI and driving without her headlights on shortly after midnight.
She failed to show in court on Jan. 19, 2016, a day when Trump received the endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in Ames, Iowa. Her absence in court cost Grisham her driver’s license for a month.
Grisham pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI in July 2016, days before her attendance at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where Trump officially became the GOP nominee.
As part of that case, she had to pay nearly $1,600 in fines and fees, records show.
Two weeks after Trump’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, Grisham failed to appear in Scottsdale court again. That was the day Trump convened a meeting with national media figures at Trump Tower in New York to shred them for coverage of his campaign.
“I knew (the arrests) were there, but I didn’t think they inhibited the job. There are people that work with DUIs in newspaper reporting. It’s unfortunate, but that stuff will happen. Human frailty has to be dealt with.”
Grisham finished paying her debt in the case on Jan. 9, 2017, less than two weeks before Trump was sworn into office.