How many press secretaries did Donald Trump have?

Louise Hall
·3 min read
<p>Kayleigh McEnany was the fourth press secretary under the Trump administration </p> (Getty Images)

Kayleigh McEnany was the fourth press secretary under the Trump administration

(Getty Images)

Press Secretary Jen Psaki has officially taken up the position as the face of the White House’s press team following turbulent four years of communication in the White House under a president who branded the mainstream media the "enemy of the people".

The new press secretary, who committed herself to transparency in her first appearance, announced the White House will return to daily press briefings following their near dissolution under Donald Trump.

Her appointment marks the end of a chaotic and often controversial tenure of press secretaries under the former administration, during which four people held the position, but who were they?

Sean Spicer

Sean Spicer was named Donald Trump’s first press secretary and became the 30th person to take up the role, his time in which was plagued by multiple gaffes and combative language.

The 49-year-old fielded criticism for his handling of the firing of FBI director James Comey and fake photos from Mr Trump’s inauguration, steadily losing his credibility during his six-months tenure.

Mr Spicer resigned in July 2017 after much speculation following the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier, as the Trump administration’s new communications director.

Mr Scaramucci was later removed as White House communications director, less than two weeks after he was hired by Mr Trump.

Mr Spicer, who now hosts "Spicer & Co" on right-wing platform Newsmax, recently made headlines after he reportedly applied to join the White House press corps for the show.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

During her tenure as press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders became one of the most recognisable faces of the Trump administration.

Ms Huckabee Sanders was well known for her confrontations with White House reporters, a style that appealed to Mr Trump, and notoriously killed the daily briefing from the White House lectern, ending decades of tradition.

Before joining the White House, Ms Huckabee Sanders, daughter of former Arkansas governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee, had worked in a variety of roles in Republican politics.

She left the position as press secretary in July 2019 and press relations during her tenure deteriorated steadily despite her desire to be remembered as being “transparent and honest”.

Stephanie Grisham

Stephanie Grisham’s nine-month period as press security was underlined by the unusual fact that she left her post after never holding a traditional White House press briefing.

Ms Grisham entered the West Wing first as a deputy to Mr Spicer but later took up the vacant post alongside the role of communications director after the resignation of Ms Huckabee Sanders and firing of Bill Shine.

The 44-year-old, who joined the Trump campaign in 2016 after serving as a spokeswoman in Arizona Republican politics, was forced to undertake most functions of both positions.

Upon her resignation, Ms Grisham became Melania Trump’s White House chief of staff, a post from which she resigned in January following the violent insurrection at the US Capitol.

Kayleigh McEnany

Mr Trump’s final press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, held the position for 10 months, having been appointed in April 2020 following roles as the Republican National Committee spokesperson and a Trump campaign aide.

Ms McEnany’s term has largely been marred by obfuscation and disinformation as she helped the administration downplay the coronavirus pandemic.

The 32-year-old, born in Tampa, Florida, has been renowned for her swift and blunt appearances at the press conferences, often deflecting challenges from the press corps and abruptly walking out of briefings.

Many have speculated what Ms McEnany, who has long been a figure on cable news networks before she took up the role as press secretary, will do next following her departure from the White House.

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