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Melania Trump spokeswoman to replace Sanders as US press secretary
[WASHINGTON] US President Donald Trump picked long-time aide Stephanie Grisham to serve as the next White House press secretary and communications director.
Since the early days of the administration, Ms Grisham has served as a fierce and loyal spokeswoman for the President's wife, Melania Trump, who announced the appointment Tuesday on Twitter.
Ms Grishman replaces Sarah Huckabee Sanders as press secretary and Bill Shine, who left the communications director job in March.
As the White House heads into re-election mode, Ms Grisham will inherit an office in flux, with a number of staffing vacancies that need to be filled. In taking over the dual role, she will become Mr Trump's sixth communications director and third press secretary.
Mr Trump told reporters that Melania "loves her" and "thinks she has been incredible".
Ms Grisham is one of the few remaining staffers who has been with Mr Trump since the early days of the campaign, when she was a traveling press aide. Since moving to the East Wing, she has developed a reputation internally as a trusted adviser and loyal defender of the first lady.
"I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country," Melania Trump wrote on Twitter.
Ms Sanders, who announced her resignation earlier this month, plans to return to her home state of Arkansas and spend time with her family. Her tenure was marked by attacks on the media, dissemination of false information and the near-disappearance of the daily press briefing. Ms Sanders's predecessor, Sean Spicer, had a similarly controversial time in the job.
Before working for the Trump campaign, Ms Grisham spent years as a spokeswoman for Arizona elected officials, including the Attorney-General and the state's House speaker. She also worked on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.
Ms Grisham has sharply defended Melania Trump, sometimes making news in the process. Ms Grisham publicly pushed for a former National Security Council adviser to be fired and last year objected to Mr Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, describing Melania Trump's thoughts about an alleged affair her husband had with an adult film star.
"I don't believe Mrs Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr Giuliani," Ms Grisham said in a statement.
During the campaign, Ms Grisham pushed back against US Vice-President Mike Pence's staff when they tried to take over a plane being used by the traveling press corp after Mr Pence's plane had been in an accident.