Donald Trump is assembling his personal staff as he prepares to become the 45th president of the United States.
Trump’s cabinet appointees have drawn a significant amount of media attention, but in addition to the cabinet, the president also gets to hire members of the White House staff. These individuals report directly to the president and do not need to be approved by the Senate.
Trump’s personal staff consists of quite a few people who worked on his campaign, in addition to some key GOP operatives and veterans of the George W. Bush administration. Here’s everyone Trump has named thus far.
Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus
The chief of staff is the highest-ranking employee in the White House. This person is the personal assistant to the president; the role was originally called “assistant to the president” until 1961, when it was renamed chief of staff.
There isn’t much of a legal precedent for what are the chief of staff’s duties. After all, the position isn’t in the Constitution, and it technically isn’t required that a president even has one. It’s at the personal discretion of the president how he wants the chief of staff to function, but this person typically manages the president’s day-to-day scheduling among other things. A president usually has at least two chiefs of staff during his administration. Barack Obama has had five: Rahm Emanuel, Pete Rouse, Bill Daley, Jack Lew and the current chief of staff, Denis McDonough.
Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff will be Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee. Priebus and Trump’s relationship during the presidential election was a bit rocky, with Priebus on more than one occasion distancing himself from some of Trump’s incendiary rhetoric. Still, when it became clear Donald Trump was set to secure the Republican nomination, Priebus encouraged Trump’s opponents to get out of the race and throw their full support behind the party’s nominee.
Deputy White House Chief of Staff: Katie Walsh
If the chief of staff is the assistant to the president, the deputy chief of staff is the assistant to the assistant to the president. Katie Walsh will serve as the chief of staff of Reince Priebus; she was a natural pick for the job, as she is the current chief of staff of the Republican National Committee, and Priebus’ second in command.
During the 2016 election, Walsh helped ensure that Republican candidates were being fully funded up and down the ticket. On the Friday before Election Day, she presented internal data to the RNC showing that Trump was going to lose on Tuesday, although she said that there was some chance he could still pull through.
“We have 10 states within 2 points, so I wouldn’t say that just because Florida is down 2.2 today, that we say yeah, he’s going to lose Florida,” Walsh said at the time. “We could be 2 percentage points off in our prediction in Florida, but we’ve also said that a big piece of this program and why we invested in it was so that we could do this over the course of the election, to get him within 2.2 points — this close.”
In a statement this week, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, said, “Katie Walsh is an all-star. She helped our party achieve sweeping victories across the country, and I’m thrilled to have another strong female leader on our Senior White House team.”
Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations: Joe Hagin
Some presidents choose to have multiple chiefs of staff who oversee different aspects of the president’s schedule, with Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all appointing a deputy chief of staff for operations.
Trump’s transition team said in a statement this week that their deputy chief of staff for operations will oversee Management & Administration, Advance, Security and the Military Office.
Joe Hagin will fill this role in the Donald Trump White House. Hagin is a veteran of the George W. Bush administration, serving as President Bush’s deputy chief of staff from 2001 until the summer of 2008.
Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative, Intergovernmental Affairs and Implementation: Rick Dearborn
The Trump administration will also have another chief of staff for legislative, intergovernmental affairs, and implementation. This is not a role that existed in previous presidential administrations.
The title of chief of staff for legislative, intergovernmental affairs, and implementation will go to Rick Dearborn.
Dearborn currently works as the chief of staff of Senator Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general. Previously, he was the assistant secretary of energy for congressional affairs in the George W. Bush administration. He has worked on Capitol Hill for 25 years, according to the Washington Examiner.
Senior Advisor to the President: Stephen Miller
The senior advisor is another high-ranking assistant to the president of the United States. The president usually has several senior advisors focusing on different aspects of government.
One of Trump’s senior advisors will be Stephen Miller, a Trump loyalist who was hired as a senior policy adviser for the campaign in January 2016. Miller often made appearances at Donald Trump rallies, where he revved up the crowd and introduced the Republican candidate.
In August, Miller became head of the economic policy team, and he is currently national policy director for the Trump transition. He wrote Trump’s Republican National Convention speech, and according to Politico, Miller will be the writer of the president-elect’s inauguration speech.
Senior Counselor to the President & White House Chief Strategist: Steve Bannon
Steve Bannon will hold the dual titles of White House chief strategist and senior counselor to the president. This was announced just five days after the presidential election, and it’s one of the most controversial decisions Trump has made since becoming president-elect.
That’s because Bannon is the executive chair of Breitbart News, a website that Bannon himself has called the “platform for the alt-right.” Some of Breitbart’s inflammatory articles have included, “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy,” “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer,” “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews,” and “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.”
In his first interview since Trump won the election, Bannon told The Hollywood Reporter, “Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”
Stephen "Steve" Bannon has been accused of racism and white nationalism, in part because of his work for the site Breitbart. Donald Trump has named him a top adviser.Click here to read more
Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway
Counselor to the president serves as another high-ranking assistant. This position a relatively recent creation, only coming into existence during the Nixon administration, and some presidents choose not to fill the role; Barack Obama, for instance, does not currently have a counselor, although John Podesta held that title before leaving to work on the Hillary Clinton campaign.
If there is a single person responsible for Donald Trump’s victory on November 8th – other than Trump himself – it’s Kellyanne Conway. She served as Trump’s campaign manager during the final months of the election, and she helped reign in the Republican nominee and eventually craft his strategy for victory.
Conway is the first woman in U.S. history to run a winning presidential campaign.
White House Press Secretary: Sean Spicer
The White House press secretary serves as the president’s spokesperson, and he is responsible for holding daily press briefings and answering questions from the media. Trump has selected Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee, to fill this position.
It’s a bit of an open question how President Trump will communicate with the media. He continuously dodged the press during the final months of his campaign, refusing to hold press conferences and doing interviews mainly with people like Sean Hannity, a talk show host who endorsed Trump for president. Trump has also said that he uses Twitter so much because it’s a way of getting around the media.
Spicer says that there’s some chance Trump will get rid of the daily press briefing.
“Well, I think we have to look at everything. And so I don’t know that it needs to be daily. I don’t know that they all need to be on camera,” he said in December, according to Politico.
Director of Strategic Communications: Hope Hicks
Another Trump loyalist, Hope Hicks, will be the president’s director of strategic communications.
Hicks is one of the few people who worked for Donald Trump throughout the entire length of his presidential campaign. She served as Trump’s press secretary throughout the campaign and has been described as his right-hand woman.
Hicks has no experience in politics whatsoever. Instead, she has a background in public relations and worked for Ivanka Trump in 2012, eventually being hired to the Trump Organization. A year later, she became involved in Donald Trump’s long-shot presidential bid, and she will now be working in the White House.
“She used to be in my real estate company,” Trump said of Hicks at a recent rally. “I said, ‘What do you know about politics?’ She said, ‘Absolutely nothing.’ I said, ‘Congratulations, you’re into the world of politics.’ She knew nothing and she was there the first day, and she was fantastic.”
27-year-old Hope Hicks is the press secretary for Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and she ended up in that position very much by accident.Click here to read more
Assistant to the President and Director of Communications
Also on the communications team in the role of assistant to the president and director of communications is Jason Miller.
Miller worked on the 2008 presidential campaign of New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, serving as his national deputy communications director. Between 2008 and 2015, he did consulting work in Washington, and he became a senior communications advisor for the Ted Cruz presidential campaign in March 2015.
In June 2016, Miller was hired as senior communications advisor, and he frequently spoke on behalf of the candidate on cable news shows.
Assistant to the President and Director of Social Media: Dan Scavino
Dan Scavino will be the president’s director of social media, a key position for a president who gained his following in part thanks to his utilization of Twitter.
Scavino served as the social media director throughout the Trump presidential campaign. He met Donald Trump in the 1990s while working a high school job cleaning golf clubs, according to CNN.
In a statement, Trump praised Dan Scavino, in addition to Hope Hicks, Sean Spicer and Jason Miller.
“Sean, Hope, Jason and Dan have been key members of my team during the campaign and transition,” Trump said. “I am excited they will be leading the team that will communicate my agenda that will Make America Great Again.”
Assistant to the President and Director of Legislative Affairs: Marc Short
Working as the assistant to the president and director of legislative affairs will be Marc Short, an advisor to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
This is a key position, as Short will be in charge of helping Trump get his agenda passed through Congress. Short previously worked for billionaire Republican donors Charles and David Koch.
Short was also an advisor to Marco Rubio, Trump’s Republican rival, during his 2016 campaign.
Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Personnel: John DeStefano
Taking on the role of assistant to the president and director of presidential personnel will be John DeStefano.
DeStefano will be a key player in helping Trump fill up to 4,000 federal positions throughout his time in office. DeStefano was previously an aide to former House Speaker John Boehner, according to Real Clear Politics.
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security And Counterterrorism: Thomas Bossert
Trump’s assistant dealing with Homeland security and counterterrorism will be Thomas Bossert.
Bossert is known for his work in the George W. Bush administration, as he was the deputy Homeland Security advisor for the 43rd president.
“Tom brings enormous depth and breadth of knowledge and experience to protecting the homeland to our senior White House team,” President-elect Trump said in a statement. “He has a handle on the complexity of homeland security, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity challenges. He will be an invaluable asset to our Administration.”
Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison: Omarosa Manigault
Omarosa Manigault has been given the position of assistant to the president and director of communications for the office of public liaison.
The Office of Public Liaison, usually referred to as the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, is described by The White House as the “embodiment of the President’s goal of making government inclusive, transparent, accountable and responsible.”
Manigault will be the second reality TV star in the Trump administration after Donald Trump himself. She is known for appearing on the first season of Trump’s show The Apprentice; she returned in subsequent seasons and since then has appeared on numerous other game and talk shows. She served as the Trump campaign’s director of African-American outreach.
In September 2016, Manigault said that all of Trump’s critics would have to bow down to him when he becomes president.
“Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump,” she said on Frontline. “It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”
In another interview, she said that Trump has a list of enemies that he would be dealing with after the election. She told the Independent Journal Review, “it’s so great our enemies are making themselves clear so that when we get in to the White House, we know where we stand.”
Manigault was a Democrat until very recently; she briefly worked for Vice President Al Gore in the 1990s and tweeted in support of Hillary Clinton in November 2014. She also supported Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012.
Assistant to President and Chief of Staff to the Vice President: Josh Pitcock
Josh Pitcock will serve both as an assistant to the president and as the chief of staff of the vice president, Mike Pence.
Pitcock is a longtime Pence aide who worked with Pence while he was in the House of Representatives. Most recently, when Pence became the governor of Indiana, Pitcock was Indiana’s lobbyist in Washington, D.C.
Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Pitcock also served as a senior policy adviser to Mike Pence, according to Politico.
Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Vice President: Jen Pavlik
Also working on the staff of both the president and the vice president will be Jen Pavlik.
Like Pitcock, Pavlik has previously worked with Vice President-elect Mike Pence; she was Pence’s director of operations during his time as the governor of Indiana, according to Politico.
Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Oval Office Operations: Keith Schiller
Joining the White House in the role of Oval Office operations will be Keith Schiller, Trump’s private security director.
Schiller has worked with Donald Trump since 1999, when he was hired as a personal bodyguard. He later led Trump’s security force.
Schiller made headlines in 2015 when he slapped a demonstrator holding a “Trump: Make America Racist Again” sign outside of Trump Tower, according to The New York Daily News. Schiller and other members of Trump’s security are currently being sued over this incident, Politico reports.
Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Advance: George Gigicos
George Gigicos has been hired to the position of deputy assistant to the president and director of advance.
Gigicos is another Donald Trump loyalist who has been with the president-elect since the beginning of the campaign; he was charged with organizing every one of Trump’s rallies, the massive political events which allowed Trump to build his movement across the country.
According to Bloomberg, Gigicos is from Alabama and, while in college, he worked as a travel assistant for the Treasury department in the George H.W. Bush administration. Gigicos says that during the peak of the campaign, he rarely went home any earlier than 10:30. He recalls one instance when his hectic schedule caused him to miss his daughters’ school performance, so Trump recorded a video for his children to watch.
“Girls, your father really loves you,” Trump said to Gigicos’ daughters, according to Bloomberg. “We’re running for president. If it’s OK with you, I’ll steal your father for the day. He’s a very talented guy and I need him. Thank you, girls.”
Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director: Jessica Ditto
The deputy assistant to the president and deputy communications director will be Jessico Ditto.
Ditto held this same job title, deputy communications director, during the Trump campaign; she was hired to that position in September 2016. Prior to joining the Trump campaign, Ditto was the communications director for Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin.
“I am excited to join Mr. Trump’s campaign for President,” Ditto said in a statement in September. “Mr. Trump is a very successful businessman who offers common sense reforms that take power away from Washington’s rigged system insiders and returns it to the people. Mr. Trump is focused on solving the problems facing everyday Americans and is our country’s only choice to stop four more years of a failed liberal agenda,” said Ditto.
Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director and Research Director: Raj Shah
Raj Shah will be the assistant to the president and deputy communications director and research director.
During the 2016 election, Shah served as the head of opposition research for the Republican National Committee, and he helped the RNC craft its anti-Hillary Clinton messaging. He is in his early 30s and is an Indian-American whose parents are originally from Mumbai, according to The Indian Express.
He is not to be confused with the former administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, who is also named Raj Shah.
Deputy Assistant to the President and Political Director: Bill Stepien
Trump’s deputy assistant and political director will be Bill Stepien.
Stepien worked as the chief of staff for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but he was fired in 2013 after Christie said he lost confidence in his judgment, according to NJ.com.
Stepien’s name repeatedly came up during the “Bridgegate” trial, with it being revealed that Stepien was aware of, but not necessarily involved in, the scheme to close lanes as a form of political retaliation.
Special Assistant to the President and Personal Aide to the President: John McEntee
Finally, John McEntee will be a special assistant and personal aide to President-elect Donald Trump.
McEntee worked as a production assistant at Fox News before leaving to join the Donald Trump presidential campaign in 2015, according to the Orange County Register. During his time there, he was responsible for helping to prepare campaign events.
“I bought in to the message,” McEntee told Bloomberg of his decision to join the Trump campaign. “I was sick of the career politicians.”
McEntee recalls that he repeatedly sent his resume to the Trump campaign team, eventually being brought on as a volunteer before landing a paid job. He will now be the personal aide to the president of the United States of America.