With 99 percent of the Trump presidency over, and after more than four years of vigorously defending the president and the first lady, Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s chief of staff and spokeswoman, has resigned. She was a long-lasting official in an administration known for extremely high turnover, joining the presidential campaign in 2015 as a press liaison and serving the first family in various roles since. She never held an on-camera press briefing in her nine months as the most combative in this administration’s series of combative press secretaries — a job she held while simultaneously serving as White House communications director and Melania Trump’s spokeswoman. She ended her tenure in the administration presiding over the office of one of the least active first ladies in modern history, one whose typically scant schedule of public-facing activity became almost nonexistent during the past 10 months of the pandemic.

Grisham quit on a day when a violent mob incited by President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, two weeks before her job was set to end. Four people died, including one woman who was shot by Capitol police in an altercation as the mob tried to break through a barricaded door. Trump later told his supporters to “go home,” though he spent the day continuously spreading falsehoods about the “stolen” and “fraudulent” presidential election that he lost and Joe Biden won.

Also handing in 11th-hour letters of resignation following the riot were Anna Cristina “Rickie” Niceta, the White House social secretary, and Sarah Matthews, deputy White House press secretary. Matthews said in a statement, “As someone who worked in the halls of Congress, I was deeply disturbed by what I saw today.” No specific reasons were cited for Grisham’s and Niceta’s resignations.

“It has been an honor to serve the country in the White House. I am very proud to have been a part of Mrs. Trump’s mission to help children everywhere, and proud of the many accomplishments of this Administration,” Grisham said in a statement.

Lauren A. Wright, a political scientist at Princeton University who studies first ladies and their communication strategies, said in an interview, “I actually thought the wording of Grisham’s statement was very telling.” While Grisham mentions “the country,” “the White House” and “Mrs. Trump,” she does not mention President Trump. “It’s meaningful that the president was nowhere in there when she had one of the most visible jobs in the White House as press secretary,” said Wright. “It’s impossible to separate the resignation from what happened today.”

Grisham became known for her pugnacious style in dealing with the press. She frequently did not respond to reporters’ questions or interview requests. In a September 2019 op-ed, she accused Washington Post reporters Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker of “push[ing] their own personal political narrative” rather than facts. On one of the many appearances she made on “Fox & Friends,” she said she’d done away with press briefings because she thought they’d become “theater,” explaining, “I think a lot of reporters were doing it to get famous.”

She also told The Post in 2019 that briefings were unnecessary given Trump’s fondness for the microphone himself. “This president is really his own spokesperson,” Grisham said. “That’s the reality of this White House. And I’m trying to work within the reality of this White House.”

Following the November election, when The Post asked Grisham to respond to speculation that Melania Trump might divorce the president once he’s no longer in office, Grisham responded: “This question is pathetic and exactly why people no longer trust the mainstream media. No legitimate journalist would ask this.”

Grisham did earn points with the press corps, though, on Trump’s brief visit across the demilitarized zone to North Korea in late June 2019, when she body-blocked North Korean security officials so American media could document the president’s historic meeting with Kim Jong Un. The Post’s Paul Farhi reported that Grisham sustained bruises for her efforts.

Grisham has long been a fierce protector of the first lady. In December 2019, Melania Trump was criticized for staying silent when President Trump said teen climate activist Greta Thunberg had “anger management problems” — just weeks after the first lady said that Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan “ought to be ashamed” for mentioning Barron Trump during her testimony at the impeachment hearings.

Grisham released a statement saying: “Barron is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy.”

In 2018, Rudolph W. Giuliani spoke for Melania Trump when asked about her husband’s alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels. “She believes her husband,” Giuliani said at a conference in Tel Aviv. “And she knows it’s untrue.”

The next day, Grisham issued this rebuke: “I don’t believe Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani.”

In April 2019, when Vogue editor Anna Wintour seemed to suggest that she would never put Melania Trump on the cover, Grisham clapped back in a statement: “Her role as first lady of the United States and all that she does is much more important than some superficial photo shoot and cover.” She added, “This just further demonstrates how biased the fashion magazine industry is, and shows how insecure and small-minded Anna Wintour really is.”

After Melania Trump’s solo trip to Africa in November 2018, Grisham released an unusual statement calling for the firing of Mira Ricardel, the deputy national security adviser, who had been on the trip. “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” the statement read. In “The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump,” The Post’s Mary Jordan documented the tensions between Ricardel and the East Wing — which included a spat over a seat on the first lady’s plane — and reported that the president said the statement made the White House “look bad.” Former national security adviser John Bolton wrote in his memoir “The Room Where It Happened” that the subsequent ousting of his No. 2 helped lead to his fractured relationship with Trump.

Before succeeding Sarah Sanders as White House press secretary and White House communications director, Grisham had been the first lady’s spokeswoman. She maintained that role even as she took on those two high-profile White House jobs. In April 2020, she was abruptly replaced as press secretary by Kayleigh McEnany, and moved back to Melania Trump’s office, continuing on as her main spokesperson while also taking the role of her chief of staff.

Grisham will join the National Board for Education Sciences, a position she received from President Trump in a slew of last-minute appointments in December to set up staffers with post-administration jobs.

Melania Trump has not commented on Grisham’s resignation; Grisham, who kept a tight grip on the first lady’s public communications, would have been the one to release a statement.

The last tweet on the @FLOTUS timeline is a Jan. 1 message: “May 2021 be filled with the blessings of joy, good health & peace throughout the year!”

“Honestly,” said Anita McBride, head of the First Ladies Initiative at American University, “I think that the good people of this nation are stunned by the dramatic and tragic events of today, and that the resignations and East Wing silence are not significant in the face of the stress our nation has faced.”

Josh Dawsey contributed reporting.

Correction: This story has been updated to remove a quote from an author saying she did not recall Melania Trump commenting on the president’s election loss and claims of fraud. In November she tweeted that “The American people deserve fair elections. Every legal - not illegal - vote should be counted.”

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