Only the best people. That’s who Donald Trump said he would surround himself with upon taking up residence in the Oval Office, but to date, that promise seems an outright fraud.
Adding to the list of questionable hires by the president is his newest White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, who took over the role after Sarah Huckabee Sanders vacated her post.
Grisham has an arrest record, as well as a shady professional history, according to a recent New York Times report that detailed her ascent to the White House.
In 2015, while working for the Trump campaign, Grisham was arrested in Arizona for driving under the influence. After pleading guilty, she was fined and ordered into a treatment program, which The Times noted was due to the arrest being her second offense. Grisham was also arrested in 2013 for driving under the influence, speeding and driving with an invalid license.
Those charges were reduced to reckless driving in 2014.
But well before her run-ins with the law, Grisham had two noteworthy run-ins with employers.
Prior to entering the world of politics, Grisham worked in public relations, including a short stint with AAA in Arizona, where she was hired “in late 2006 to help with “public relations, traffic safety initiatives and legislative efforts,” The Times discovered.
Grisham would only last in that job for about a year, after “accusations that she filed false claims for travel and other expenses” ended her time there, according to a former AAA employee who spoke with The Times.
After leaving AAA, Grisham moved on to an advertising agency in Arizona, where she would face accusations of plagiarism.
One of the company’s clients was GarageFly, an online service that helped match car owners with repair shops. “While making a presentation to the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, GarageFly’s founder showed off his website,” The Times reported. “In an interview, he said he was quickly informed by a furious attendee from AAA that the website included material lifted verbatim from AAA.”
The owner of GarageFly claimed ignorance of the plagiarism, stating the website was created by Mindspace, the company’s ad agency. Grisham turned out to be the employee responsible for putting the AAA material onto GarageFly’s website, those involved told The Times.
She subsequently lost that job, too.
And then there is Grisham’s work for embattled Arizona Republicans.
After working on Mitt Romney’s failed presidential campaign in 2012, Grisham moved on to Arizona’s attorney general’s office, where she dealt with the press on a botched state execution.
“She described the condemned prisoner, who did not die for nearly two hours after being given a lethal injection, as ‘snoring’ and said of the scene, ‘It was quite peaceful,’” The Times wrote.
Grisham also worked for the Arizona House’s Republican majority, and in 2016, she revoked The Arizona Capitol Times’s press credentials four hours after it published a story about allegations the House speaker, David Gowan, had traveled at state taxpayers’ expense during his run for Congress.
Grisham was often described as loyal by those who spoke with The Times, which is likely in part what earned her a top spot in the Trump administration.
Despite her sketchy history, Grisham now serves as the spokesperson for both the president and the first lady, and so far, Trump appears to be pleased with her performance.