Stephanie Grisham, who also serves as the first lady’s deputy chief of staff, will become President Trump’s third press secretary in three years.
Incoming White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham received bruises when she got caught in the middle of a tussle between U.S. reporters and North Korean security officials during President Donald Trump’s trip to the Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea.
The incident occurred after Trump on Sunday became the first U.S. president to cross the DMZ and step onto North Korean soil. Chaos ensued as reporters and photographers jostled to get the best positions to witness the historic moment and security officials tried to rein them in. At one point, Kim appeared to chuckle at the ruckus as people shouted at each other to get out of the way.
After shaking hands on the border, Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in a room in the Freedom House on the southern side of Panmunjom.
North Korean guards pushed and shoved members of the U.S. press pool as they tried to block the reporters from entering the room, The Associated Press reported. Grisham was injured and left with bruises in the exchange, which ended when Secret Service agents intervened.
“To add to madcap day at DMZ, the North Korean security was a little overzealous, at times trying to block US reporters’ view,” tweeted Jennifer Jacobs, senior White House correspondent for Bloomberg. “New WH press secretary Stephanie Grisham threw herself into it to make sure the US TV camera got into House of Freedom, and it came to body blows.”
ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl reported that Grisham “was not having it” when the North Korean security officials tried to block the U.S. reporters, “physically clearing the way for the WH press pool by elbowing and pushing aside a security guard.”
A video appearing to show at least part of the incident, which a source described to CNN as a “brawl,” was shared on social media.
Trump announced last week that Grisham had accepted his offer to replace Sarah Sanders as his White House press secretary. She will be the third person to hold the job since Trump took office. Grisham will also take over as White House communications director, a position that had been vacant since former Fox News executive Bill Shine resigned in March.
Grisham had been serving as first lady Melania Trump’s communications director. She has a long relationship with the Trump family and worked as aide on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“Stepping across that line was a great honor,” Trump told Kim after entering North Korean territory. He was said it was a “legendary” moment that could lead to progress on negotiations aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
But the Trump administration’s efforts to get Kim to scrap his nuclear arsenal have not yet met with success. And many experts said the recent meeting at the DMZ was largely symbolic and unlikely to achieve any more results than Trump’s two denuclearization summits with Kim.
Contributing: David Jackson and Michael Collins, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
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