News and Commentary

Priebus Deputy Out At White House

On Thursday, President Trump seemed to weaken chief of staff Reince Priebus’ position in his administration, banishing Priebus’ deputy Katie Walsh to a nonprofit group outside the White House.

That action came in the wake of the failure of the GOP bill championed by Trump to replace Obamacare. Walsh had previously served as chief of staff to Priebus when he was chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Walsh is headed to America First Policies to serve as a senior adviser; CNN reports that a senior White House official insisted that Walsh was “not being fired.” America First was created by former Trump campaign advisers to help Trump implement his proposals.

The White House was eager to make the move look like a positive step rather than a punishment; one source claimed to CNN that Walsh and the White House figured Walsh could help the health care plan get back on its feet more effectively from the outside, saying, “It was a very collective conversation that we could have moved the health care message more effectively.” Another source said Priebus, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner jointly made the decision to move Walsh.

Yet America First Policies, which was expected to be funded by the Mercer family, who fund Breitbart and were instrumental in supporting Trump’s candidacy, saw the Mercer family switch its allegiances this week and fund another non-profit, Making America Great. In addition, David Bossie, a deputy campaign manager for Trump who was expected to work at America First Policies, decided to work at Making America Great instead.

In mid-March, one person involved with America First complained, “To say that the folks inside the White House are disappointed that there’s been no air support in the first 50 days is an understatement. Things have moved very slow and there’s a lot of frustration that things need to move faster.”