Christina Pushaw, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Press Secretary, departed her administrative role Friday to join the Republican Governor’s re-election campaign.
The Florida Standard, a conservative new media outlet, was the first to report Pushaw’s shuffle and published her resignation letter, which Pushaw sent to Chief of Staff James Uthmeier and Director of Administration Dawn Hanson on Friday. She will become the campaign’s Director of Rapid Response beginning Monday.
Deputy Press Secretary Bryan Griffin will step in as lead Press Secretary on Monday, where he will report directly to Communications Director Taryn Fenske.
“It has been a great honor to serve the people of Florida under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and his administration,” Pushaw began her letter.
“For the last 15 months, I have been blessed to work with the most dedicated and talented public servants in the country, inspired by the Governor’s courage, leadership and bold agenda.”
Pushaw thanked DeSantis, Uthmeier and Fenske for her time as Press Secretary.
“You gave me latitude to respond to media narratives in direct and often unconventional ways, allowing me to redefine this role for a leader whose actions speak for themselves,” she wrote.
Pushaw’s tenure in the administration has been characterized by her combative relationship with the legacy and mainstream media, including the Florida GOP shutting most media outlets out of its Sunshine Summit last month. Meanwhile, DeSantis and Pushaw have sat down with conservative outlets, like Florida’s Voice.
“Now, the gloves are off,” Pushaw tweeted Friday.
Griffin, who was hired in March, has taken a similar combative approach. Last week, he published his email response to The View after the morning talk show requested an interview with DeSantis. In the email, Bryan quoted The View hosts’ past statements about DeSantis and questioned whether The View was genuinely in “pursuit of the truth.”
“It has been an honor to work with and learn from (Christina Pushaw). I look forward to serving (Gov. Ron DeSantis) and the people of Florida in this new role. Like Christina did so well, I will ensure the Governor’s message is amplified and that false narratives are debunked,” Griffin tweeted Friday.
Griffin told Florida Politics he first met Pushaw at the Warsaw Security Forum in 2019, where they were both participants in the forum’s New Security Leaders program.
Griffin has received multiple undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Florida, including his law degree in 2013. He also received a masters in international affairs from Columbia University. Past work include his time as national field director for the pro-Israel Maccabee Task Force and as a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.
The move comes with less than three months to go until the Nov. 8 Midterms and a little more than a week until the General Election season begins.
Pushaw, the most prominent gubernatorial Press Secretary in the nation, has sparked controversy at times. She has been accused of writing antisemitic tweets and scrutinized for her past work in Eastern Europe. Pushaw also was suspended from Twitter for 12 hours for violating the platform’s user guidelines after dogging an Associated Press reporter for his story pointing out that a DeSantis donor was also an investor in a leading COVID-19 treatment the Governor was promoting.
In her letter, Pushaw noted some of the administration’s achievements during her tenure, all of which DeSantis is expected to campaign on when he faces his Democratic challenger, either U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist or Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. She noted the administration’s efforts to end mandates, focus on education, drive the economy, support families and parental rights, and protect law and order.
“As the Governor said earlier this year, ‘Together, we have made Florida the freest state in the United States,’” Pushaw wrote. “The chance to play even a small part in achieving this has truly been the opportunity of a lifetime.”