White House Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh is departing the West Wing to join the pro-Trump outside group America First Policies, according to senior Administration officials.
Walsh, a top aide of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, served as one of the top gatekeepers for President Donald Trump, controlling the White House schedule. Her departure leaves a void in the West Wing, but White House officials believe her serving as a senior advisor to the outside group will fill a larger gap that became apparent during the failed effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Walsh's departure was announced to a small group of reporters in the Priebus' office, where he was joined by chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior advisor Jared Kushner. White House officials say they regret not putting a senior official at the outside group as former President Obama did in 2009 with Organizing for Action, which was led by Mitch Stewart and involved strategist David Plouffe.
Walsh will serve as a senior advisor to the group. She fills the void at America First Policies left by the departure of Rick Gates, a former top aide to Paul Manafort who was forced from the group last week over his ties to Russia and Ukraine. It also reunites her with Trump's former digital chief, Brad Parscale, who together with Walsh were credited as the de facto campaign managers during the final stretch of the presidential campaign.
The move follows just a day after the Mercer family, one of the top pro-Trump donors in 2016, announced a new nonprofit called 'Making America Great' with former Trump deputy campaign manager David Bossie as its chief strategist.more » « less