Updated Apr 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Kayleigh McEnany replaces Stephanie Grisham as White House press secretary

Photo: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany is replacing White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who will return to the East Wing as First Lady Melania Trump's chief of staff, according to two sources familiar with the situation. The news was first reported by CNN and the New York Times.

Why it matters: Grisham will leave after nine months without ever having held a formal press briefing.

  • As Axios reported last week, new White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had privately discussed replacing Grisham with McEnany or Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah — who will also be joining the White House press team.
  • Grisham told Axios last week: “Sounds like more palace intrigue to me, but I’ve also been in quarantine. If true, how ironic that the press secretary would hear about being replaced in the press.”
  • Melania Trump's previous chief of staff, Lindsey Reynolds, resigned earlier this week to spend more time with her family, according to the White House.

The big picture: Meadows is looking to overhaul a communications shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

  • McEnany, the new press secretary, is a Trump loyalist with experience defining the president on TV.
  • Farah will be the new director of strategic communications within Meadows’ office. She has firsthand knowledge of the White House after previously serving as Vice President Pence's press secretary, and is a longtime Meadows ally.
  • Ben Williamson, most recently Meadows' former chief of staff and communications director while he was still a congressman, will serve as a senior communications adviser. He’s worked with Meadows on Capitol Hill for several years and was a key defender of the president during impeachment.

Go deeper

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse even as curfews set in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) slammed the New York Police Department late Tuesday following reports of police kettling in protesters on Manhattan Bridge.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.