- White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham had a tumultuous rise to her prestigious role in US politics.
- Grisham faced allegations of ethical misconduct in previous jobs and was twice arrested for driving under the influence.
- One of the DUIs took place while Grisham worked as a press aide for Trump’s 2016 campaign.
- Grisham has taken an unconventional approach to her White House post, and hasn’t held a single on-camera briefing since she took over for Sarah Huckabee Sanders in early July.
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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham had a “turbulent ascent” to her current role, according to a New York Times report, which included two arrests for driving under the influence – one of which while working for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
She was arrested for driving under the influence, speeding, and driving with an invalid licence in 2013, according to the report, and the charges were later reduced to reckless driving. Grisham was also arrested for driving under the influence in December 2015, ultimately pleading guilty. She paid a fine and was ordered by the court into a treatment program.
Grisham told the Times she “complied with all sanctions and disclosed both episodes to the White House.”
Grisham entered the political world by way of Arizona, working as a spokesperson for the attorney general in the state as well as Republicans in the state legislature. She also worked as a press aide on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign for president.
Prior to that, she worked for the AAA auto club in Arizona as well as the ad agency Mindspace.
Grisham reportedly left AAA after facing allegations of filing false claims for travel and other expenses and lost the job at Mindspace for plagiarism.
A spokesperson for AAA declined to discuss personnel matters with the Times, and the founder of the ad agency confirmed Grisham was a former employee but would not elaborate on the circumstances of her departure.
Grisham did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
Here’s a brief summary of Grisham’s experience in the political world:
- Grisham worked as a spokesperson for the Arizona Charter Schools Association from 2008 to mid-2010.
- She was a spokesperson for Tom Horne, Arizona’s attorney general, in 2011.
- Grisham went on to work as a press aide for Mitt Romney in 2012, and in a 2017 interview said she was “devastated” for about a month after his loss in the presidential election.
- Grisham went back to Horne’s office after 2012.
- During her work for Horne, he was under investigation for alleged campaign finance violations. When reporters from a local paper asked questions about it, Grisham characterised their requests as “overreaching, an invasion of privacy and abusive use of your role in the media.”
- After Horne lost his bid for re-election (and was fined over the campaign finance case), Grisham went to work as a spokesperson for Arizona House’s Republican majority.
- At one point, Grisham briefly revoked the press credentials of the The Arizona Capitol Times after it published a story on allegations the GOP House Speaker David Gowan travelled on the taxpayers’ dime while campaigning for Congress.
- Grisham began working for Trump’s campaign in mid-2015 as a press aide.
- Starting in 2017, Grisham initially served as White House deputy press secretary, but eventually moved on to become communications director for First Lady Melania Trump.
- In June 2019, it was announced Grisham would replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders as White House press secretary.
Grisham is a fierce defender of the Trumps, but also represents a break from the traditional mould of her prestigious role in the White House.
Grisham hasn’t held an on-camera briefing since taking over in early July and does not appear particularly interested in engaging with members of the press.
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