She’s only been on the job a few days but already Stephanie Grisham has been in the thick of it as White House Press Secretary.
As President Donald Trump met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in the de-militarized zone between North and South Korea early Sunday, Grisham suffered bumps and bruises in an “all out brawl” with Kim Jong Un’s guards, according to Fox News.
Grisham was, reportedly, trying to help members of the media get into a position where they could get a better look at Trump’s historic pow-wow with Kim Jong Un when Kim Jong Un’s personal guards moved into place to separate reporters fromt he action. Grisham pushed back and a scuffle ensued.
At first it sounded like a simple back-and-forth but the Daily Mail reports that the incident escalated quickly.
“North Korean guards tried to physically prevent members of the US press pool from entering the space, pushing and shoving and causing the Secret Service to intervene,” according to the Daily Mail. “The press secretary was involved in an ‘all out brawl’…as she shouted ‘go, go’ to journalists as she created a path for them.”
Parts of the incident were captured on video by reporters on the scene, and show Grisham actively pushing back against North Korean officials while the Secret Service assists.
Grisham has been on the job as Press Secretary a little less than a week; the President’s trip to the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan was her first real assignment. She replaced Sarah Huckabee Sanders who resigned earlier this month in order to spend more time with her family and perhaps pursue elective office in her home state of Arkansas. Sanders’ last day at the White House was Friday.
Before joining the West Wing staff, Grisham was a leader in the East Wing — the communications director for First Lady Melania Trump.
Fortunately for Grisham it does not seem that she — or any member of the press — was hurt in the incident (and it does not appear that anyone was detained), but the scuffle does bring home exactly how charged the relationship between the United States and North Korea really is.
On Sunday morning, on his way home from Osaka, President Trump made a brief detour to the DMZ after inking a deal to meet with Kim Jong Un through Twitter. Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to enter North Korea when he took around 20 steps into the country to shake hands with Kim Jong Un before retiring, with the North Korean leader, to a neutral meeting place where the two men discussed restarting the anti-nuclear talks that broke down in late February.
But for all the welcoming behavior from its leader, North Korea still remains a major threat to American security — and remains one of the few countries in the world that operates as a dictatorship, closed off almost entirely from the outside world. Kim Jong Un’s security was intent on blocking American journalists from documenting any unapproved aspect of the meeting.
Sunday’s meeting did not end with any concrete results. North Korea has not yet agreed to stop conducting surface to air missile tests, which they restarted when anti-nuclear talks broke down in February, and the United States says they will not remove or roll back trade restrictions on the southeast Asian country.