President Donald Trump is not a complicated guy. He likes people who like him. He hates people who don’t like him. And he trusts a very small group of people — mostly members of his own family and a very few aides who have been with him from the start.
Which is why it makes total and complete sense that Trump picked Stephanie Grisham to be the new White House press secretary and communications director on Tuesday. Grisham has been a member of Trumpworld since the summer of 2015, when she signed on as traveling press secretary. She went on to become a close confidante of not just the President but, just as importantly, first lady Melania Trump — for whom she has served as communications director. (Grisham is keeping that role even as she takes on a broader West Wing portfolio as well.)
Trump always favors those who have displayed the most loyalty to him but perhaps even more so at this moment — when he is increasingly unhappy with the advice he has been getting from his various presidential advisers — including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
A story by CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins on Monday not only captured this latest Trump mindset but also all but predicted the Grisham pick. Here’s the key bit from it:
“President Donald Trump left the White House Saturday for a last-minute trip to Camp David — escaping Washington at a moment when sources say he appears increasingly disenchanted by advice from his inner circle and out of sorts with some of the mainstays in his Cabinet. …
“But instead of bringing along the first family, the vice president or any of his senior policy aides — as he has previously when traveling to Camp David — Trump climbed aboard Marine One with only a slew of junior staffers in tow. The most senior among them was Dan Scavino, the President’s social media director who acts more as a friend than policy voice.”
Know who else was reportedly on that Camp David trip? Stephanie Grisham!
As Trump turns his attention to what will be — despite his insistence to the contrary — a very difficult reelection race, he is increasingly putting a dwindling number of longtime aides in positions of power.
The Point: This is a man — and a President — who trusts almost no one. And his time in the White House — a time defined, at least in part, by a series of damaging leaks — has only reaffirmed his distrust, and convinced him that he can only really trust the people who were with him from the beginning. Which is why Grisham was the only pick who made any sense to follow in the footsteps of Sarah Sanders.