Grisham was one of the longest-serving Trump administration officials, having begun her tenure working for then-candidate Donald Trump in 2015 as a press wrangler on the campaign trail. Grisham entered the White House as deputy press secretary under Sean Spicer, but in March 2017, Melania Trump hired her for her East Wing staff. As East Wing communications director, Grisham quickly became the first lady’s most prominent staffer, acting as defender, enforcer and, often, protector.
Grisham declined a CNN request for comment. The first lady’s office did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Grisham eventually clashed with Trump’s newly appointed chief of staff Mark Meadows, disagreeing on multiple issues, from communications strategies for the President to staffing decisions, and creating a fissure between the press office and Meadows, according to the official.
In April last year, Grisham was replaced with Kayleigh McEnany as press secretary and returned to the first lady’s office in an amplified role, becoming her chief of staff, a position she held until her Wednesday departure. Grisham’s decision to resign two weeks before the Trumps make their exit from the White House was precipitated by several months of consternation and struggle, said another senior White House official familiar with her thinking.
The official described Grisham as having a “very close” relationship with the first lady, though Wednesday’s resignation was not the first time Grisham had considered leaving her post. The official said Grisham faced a barrage of challenges and what the source described as a “whisper campaign” and “roadblocks” launched by adversaries in the West Wing. Grisham had also in recent months expressed a desire to live closer to family in the Midwest.