Donald Trump made it official Wednesday: The incoming senior White House staff will have a deep bench of aides steeped in politics, including staff members pulled from the Republican National Committee and Trump’s campaign.
In 16 days, the businessman-turned-president will rely on a mix of mostly young political operatives and communicators whose focus will be on the agenda, messaging and business style he favored last year and in the weeks since his November victory.
Trump also added former aides who served President George W. Bush to help manage the operations of the executive office of the president, as well as presidential travel, security and event planning. And he turned to a top aide with experience in New Jersey politics under Gov. Chris Christie, Bill Stepien, to become White House political director. Christie fired Stepien, who was his deputy chief of staff during the George Washington Bridge scandal, but he later became national field director for Trump’s presidential campaign.
Few on the new team granted the coveted “assistant to the president” title have federal executive experience. Legislative know-how comes to the West Wing via the staff of Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, an early Trump supporter and nominee to lead the Justice Department as attorney general, and aides to Vice President-elect Mike Pence and in the office of presidential personnel.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, the departing head of the RNC, described the president-elect’s evolving White House team as “instrumental over the last several months, and in some cases years, in helping the president-elect.”
Among those with previous executive branch experience is Rick Dearborn, who will be deputy chief of staff under Priebus, responsible for legislative, intergovernmental and Cabinet operations for Trump. Dearborn, chief of staff to Sessions, has 25 years of experience on Capitol Hill and served in the Energy Department under Bush 43. The assistant to the president and director for legislative affairs will be Marc Short, a Pence aide.
Joe Hagin, who served under President George H.W. Bush and was deputy chief of staff for operations under George W. Bush, will lead management and administration, White House advance, security, and the military office. Currently in the private sector, Hagin has been advising the transition.
In the top slots so far, Trump’s West Wing staff is predominantly male and white. Exceptions will be incoming White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway; new White…