In Mark Meadows’ first major personnel move since assuming the role of White House chief of staff, former CNN commentator and campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany is replacing Stephanie Grisham as White House press secretary. Grisham will reportedly rejoin Melania Trump's team as her chief of staff.
McEnany will be the fourth person in this role during Trump's tenure in the White House. A vocal supporter of the president since his 2016 campaign, it is unclear whether the 31-year-old will revive the traditional role of press secretary and resume answering reporters’ questions in a daily briefing. During her nine months in the role, Grisham did not hold a single press briefing. It does appears, though, that McEnany will devote at least part of her time to defending the president on television — a role in which she has years of experience, according to The New York Times.
So, who is Kayleigh McEnany, other than a fierce advocate of the Trump administration? McEnany is a graduate of Harvard Law School with a long-documented history of supporting the Republican party, most recently Trump. She gained recognition for her frequent television appearances as a Trump surrogate and paid commentator during the 2016 election where she became known for promoting Trump’s platform. After he was elected, McEnany continued her fervent public support.
On August 5, 2017, McEnany left her job at CNN. The following day, she recapped all of Trump’s accomplishments from the previous week in a video former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul likened to the state TV propaganda seen in Russia.
McEnany’s support of Trump is not her first foray into campaigning for a Republican politician. In 2004, while still a high school student, she interned for a number of high-ranking politicians including former President George W. Bush, reports Business Insider. She also held the role of national spokesperson for the Republican National Committee in 2017 before authoring the book New American Revolution: The Making of a Populist Movement in 2018.
McEnany most recently made headlines on February 25, when she claimed that the coronavirus would not make it to the United States. “We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here...and isn’t it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama,” she told Fox despite the first confirmed case of coronavirus being reported in the U.S. a month earlier on January 21.
Meanwhile, Grisham will be rejoining the East Wing, according to a statement given by the White House on Tuesday. “I am excited to welcome Stephanie back to the team in this new role,” Melania Trump said. “She has been a mainstay and true leader in the Administration from even before day one.”