Waldman was named as Pence’s press secretary in September 2019, replacing Alyssa Farah, who moved on to the Department of Defense and eventually into the White House communications director role.
According to Waldman’s LinkedIn page, after graduating from George Washington University in 2014 with a masters in Public Administration, she went to work as a press assistant at the National Republican Committee. Waldman is also a graduate of the University of Florida and is a native of Fort Lauderdale.
In January 2015, Waldman began working for U.S. Senator Steve Daines of Montana as his press secretary. Waldman began working as the deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security in November 2017, staying in that job until February 2019. While working for the DHS, Waldman made $82,377, per year, according to Pro Publica. Waldman had been Arizona Republican Senator Martha McSally’s communications director from February 2019 until moving into Pence’s office.
Waldman and Miller were married on Sunday, February 16, 2020, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., according to the New York Times. President Trump was among the guests in attendance. “Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, who is a senior adviser to David Friedman, the United States ambassador to Israel, officiated,” The Times reported.
According to The Times, “The couple had spoken many times on the phone in the course of their work, including multiple conference calls, but had never met in person. They were introduced by mutual friends on a Friday in spring 2018 and were engaged about a year and a half later.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Waldman Has Described Asylum Seekers at the Southern Border as a ‘Violent Mob of Migrants’
In an interview on the southern border crisis on CNN in January 2019, Waldman referred to asylum seekers as a “violent mob of migrants.” Waldman quote in full was, “Once again we have had a violent mob of migrants attempt to enter the United States illegally by attacking our agents with projectiles. As has happened before — in this and previous administrations — our personnel used the minimum force necessary to defend themselves, defend our border, and restore order.”
Waldman went on to tell the network that there had been no injuries among those throwing rocks. She also used the opportunity to call on Congress to help President Trump build the border wall. Thanks for her role with the Department of Homeland Security, Waldman was regularly pictured at the Arizona-Mexico border.
During an interview with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade in October 2018, Waldman said of the caravan at the southern border, “I mean this caravan is being put together by NGOs and others mainly for media attention. I mean as I just said we’re seeing caravan size every day at the border. You know we’ve heard reports of these folks getting on buses and then getting off and walking for the cameras. You know they are getting a ton of media attention.”
2. While a Student at the University of Florida, Waldman Admitted to Throwing Away Copies of the School Newspaper as the Front Page Endorsed Her Political Rival
In 2012, while Waldman was a student at the University of Florida, she admitted to destroying multiple copies of the school’s newspaper. The paper’s front page showed that the school’s football coach had endorsed Waldman’s political rival, the Student Press Law Center reported. Waldman had been a member of the Unite Party of the school. Despite her actions, Waldman maintained her place in the school’s student government and faced no repercussions.
The assistant minority leader of the Students Party, Max Stein, wrote of Waldman at the time, “I do not question [Waldman’s] qualifications, passion or work ethic. I question her ethical and moral fiber.” Waldman had been accused of carrying out the act with another male student. At the time, Waldman was the student government’s allocations chairwoman. Stein called Waldman’s admission of guilt, “obviously not only rehearsed but coached.”
The male student apologized in an editorial for the school’s Alligator newspaper. He wrote in his apology, “When Katie Waldman and I were walking around campus, I let my sense of competition get in the way of the integrity and everything I believe I have always striven for in my time at UF.”
3. Waldman Was Described as a ‘Vigorous Voice’ in Senator Martha McSally’s Office
On the day of Waldman’s appointment to Pence’s office, the Arizona Republic referred to her as a “vigorous voice” inside of Senator Martha McSally’s office. McSally said in a statement on September 19, “Katie has been a great asset to our team and will be missed, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for her to serve our country. I am sure Katie will thrive in this new position serving Vice President Pence and I wish her all the best.”
A former colleague of Waldman’s at the Department of Homeland Security said of Pence’s new hire, “She impressed a lot of people in the administration with her work in DHS and on the immigration portfolio in the height of media interest… She’s pro-Trump and that checks all the boxes.” While Steve Daines said of Waldman, “She has a very strong personality. She has incredible work ethic.”
4. Waldman Was Featured in a Viral Buzzfeed Story in 2014
In 2014, former Buzzfeed writer Benny Johnson covered Waldman’s efforts to deliver a birthday cake to Democratic Senator Mark Begich. The cake wished the Alaska senator a happy birthday while noting that he had voted with President Barack Obama 97 percent of the time. Begich’s birthday coincided with the 2014 elections. Begich would go on to lose to Republican Dan Sullivan.
5. Waldman BEgan Working for Vice President Pence on October 1, 2019
NBC News reports that Waldman began working for the vice president’s office on October 1, 2019. Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, told the network, “She’s got extensive experience and she’ll be a great fit in our office. She’s shown she has the mettle to handle intense environments.” Waldman will report directly to Marc Short, NBC News reported.
As news of Waldman and Miller’s relationship spread, Miller and Waldman’s names became trending topics on Twitter in the United States. A related term to the trend was the phrase, “Dating Stephen Miller.” Splinter published an opinion piece titled, “I’m Deeply Troubled to Report Stephen Miller Got a Girlfriend.”
Here are some of the most impassioned Twitter responses to the news: