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Ex-Tucsonan Grisham named press secretary for President Trump

Stephanie Grisham, a former Tucsonan who has been spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump, was named President Donald Trump's press secretary and communications director on Monday.

Grisham takes the place of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and will also serve as the White House's overall communications director, filling a position vacant since former Fox News executive Bill Shine left in March to work on Trump's political campaign.

"She has been with us since 2015 - @potus & I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country," Melania Trump tweeted Monday morning.

Grisham, a former flack for Republicans in Arizona who worked on Trump's presidential campaign and then controversially was paid by taxpayers here while working on Trump's transition team, was appointed as the first lady's top spokeswoman in March 2017.

Last year, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel — an investigative agency unrelated to the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller — determined that Grisham violated the federal Hatch Act prohibition on government employees campaigning while using taxpayer resources. Grisham tweeted the Trump political slogan "#MAGA" ("Make America Great Again") using her official account, and a warning letter was issued.

Grisham worked as the spokeswoman for the Republicans in the Arizona Legislature after a stint of several years as the public information officer for state Attorney General Tom Horne.

Grishman was named "Best PR Person" at the state Capitol by the Arizona Capitol Times in 2015, when she demonstrated a sense of humor about her work with a video spoof.

The next year, she didn't endear herself to reporters when she enforced then-House Speaker David Gowan's attempt to block journalists from the floor of the Legislature if they didn't submit to background checks. Gowan was targeting Hank Stephenson of the Cap Times, who investigated Gowan's improper use of state vehicles as he campaigned for Congress. Gowan had to repay taxpayers $12,000 after Stephenson's report.

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Gowan's move, billed as a "security measure," was met with condemnation and mockery by the press, and he backed down several days later.

Grisham was involved in political scandals while working for Horne, who was accused of improperly coordinating with the head of the group Business Leaders of Arizona during his 2010 campaign. Those allegations were mooted when the Arizona Supreme Court found that his due process rights were violated by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk during the investigation.

During Horne's 2014 re-election campaign, Grisham worked in his government office and as a campaign staffer — including doing political work while on the clock for taxpayers. Horne was fined $10,000 by the Clean Elections Commission over the violations in his losing bid, but another state probe into the issue was dropped after three years of investigation.

Prior to her series of government jobs, she was the spokeswoman for AAA Arizona, beginning in 2007.

Grisham was divorced from former husband Dan Marries, the KOLD Channel 13 anchor, in 2004. She then married Todd Grisham, a KOLD sportscaster who later became an announcer for Fox Sports and ESPN. They divorced in 2006.

Grisham began working for the Trump campaign in May 2016, after the Legislature adjourned.

After Trump's election, Grisham first worked with the incoming president's transition team, and then as a deputy press secretary. She was named a "special assistant to the president" and communications director for the first lady on March 27, 2017..

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2 comments on this story

Jun 25, 2019, 3:53 pm
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Ms. Grisham certainly has peccable credentials.  She should fit in perfectly.

Jun 25, 2019, 12:46 pm
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Very interesting personal background ...

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Trump and Grisham in May 2016.