Politics March 30, 2017
One of the few women with a senior role in the Trump White House has jumped ship just over two months into the administration.
Katie Walsh is leaving her job as Deputy Chief of Staff – and leaving the West Wing even more male-centric.
She will join a nonprofit advocacy group called America First Policies, which supports the president’s agenda.
Now the only women left in Trump’s inner circle are counsellor to the president Kellyanne Conway and his daughter Ivanka Trump, who is officially joining the administration as an adviser.
Walsh, 32, is the second senior figure to depart in the early days of the administration. She follows National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who was ousted after misleading the vice president about his discussions with the Russian ambassador.
In briefings to the press, White House officials said Walsh had not been fired but had seen a much needed opportunity to organize support for the administration’s policies outside of the White House.
Her husband, Mike Shields, tweeted that Walsh had been asked by some of Trump’s top advisers to work with the advocacy group to provide “badly needed air cover for the President’s agenda.”
Her departure follows the failure to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. It also comes after rumors surfaced online that Walsh was leaking information about the White House.
“Everyone knows not to talk to her in the White House unless you want to see it in the press,” Charles Johnson, editor of the Got News website, quoted a “source close to the president” as saying in February. “The only question is whether or not she’s doing it at the behest of Reince Priebus or if she’s doing it to advance herself in DC media circles.”
Walsh had been Chief of Staff Reince Priebus’s number two at the Republican National Committee and then also at the White House. It remains to be seen what her exit means for the future of Preibus, who has been blamed by some for Trump’s early setbacks, such as the blocked travel ban and the failure of the new health care plan.
A rising star in the Republican Party, Walsh had worked on the presidential campaigns of Fred Thompson and John McCain before being hired as RNC Finance Director in 2013. She was nicknamed “The Rainmaker” there for her ability to raise so much funding for political campaigns. She rose to become RNC Chief of Staff under Chairman Reince Priebus and was widely praised for being an architect of the RNC’s get-out-the-vote operations widely credited for helping Trump win in November 2016.
Part of her job at the White House was keeping the president’s schedule and in an interview with Breitbart News soon after taking the job she praised Trump’s tireless work ethic.
“I’ve never worked for someone with his energy level… I will say that working for Reince was a training program for this because Reince’s energy level is astronomically high as well, but one of the amazing things I’ve noticed about President Trump, as I’ve spent some time with him and gotten to know him a little bit better, is just his breadth of knowledge on a whole array of issues,” Walsh said. “I’m always amazed at how engaged he is on these issues. He isn’t a president that just sits back and lets his staff do all the legwork for him. He works as hard as anyone as I’ve ever seen in public office, even down to minutia and details, to ensure he’s doing everything he promised to the American people.”
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Walsh kept pictures of her home state in her West Wing office to remind her of the middle America voters who played such a big part in sending Trump to the Oval Office. Now she must hang those pictures in a new office.
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