Any hope that Americans may one day see Trump’s new press secretary taking questions from reporters in a formal White House press briefing went out the window on Monday morning when Stephanie Grisham sat down for her first appearance on Fox & Friends since taking over for Sarah Huckabee Sanders earlier this year.
Before Grisham even got a chance to explain why she has yet to brief the media, the Fox hosts were giving her cover. Steve Doocy suggested that President Trump “doesn’t really need anybody to do the talking for him” because he’s such a “great communicator.”
“He’s his own best spokesperson, it’s true,” Trump’s official spokesperson replied, pointing to Trump’s helicopter-side chats with the press as evidence that he’s the “most accessible” president in history.
“Is this the new press briefing?” Ainsley Earhardt asked. “Before, we saw all of his press secretaries in front of the podium.” Noting that Saturday Night Live “made fun of” Sean Spicer for his briefing behavior, she told Grisham, “You’ll never have that moment because no longer are we doing that, right?”
“Not right now,” Grisham said, adding, “to be honest the briefings had become a lot of theater and I think that a lot of reporters were doing it to…” Doocy finished her sentence for her with, “get famous!” Without naming names, Grisham seemed to criticize White House reporters like CNN’s Jim Acosta and ABC’s Jonathan Karl for writing books about their experiences.
When Brian Kilmeade asked Grisham if Trump “took it personal” when reporters demanded answers in briefings with Spicer or Sanders—in other words, doing their jobs by holding the administration accountable—she replied, “Absolutely.”
“I think it’s so important that the spokesperson for the president can adequately speak to his policies and get his message out there. And I think the president saw that that’s not what was happening,” she said. “It had become, again, theater, and they weren’t being good to his people. And he doesn’t like that. He’s very loyal to his people, and he put a stop to it.”