Obama Names McDonough Chief of Staff as He Shuffles Aides

President Barack Obama named Denis McDonough, a longtime aide and deputy national security adviser, as his chief of staff as he shuffled the lineup of top aides for his second term.

McDonough replaces Jack Lew, who has been nominated as Treasury secretary. Tony Blinken, Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, will replace McDonough as deputy national security adviser.

“I have been counting on Denis for nearly a decade,” Obama said in making the announcement at the White House. “He’s been one of my closest and most trusted advisers.”

McDonough, 43, has advised Obama through the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mission that killed Osama bin Laden and the repealing of the military’s ban on gays serving openly. He would become Obama’s fifth chief of staff, one of the most powerful positions in the White House because he serves as the president’s gatekeeper.

McDonough, a native of Minnesota, is an Obama loyalist. He became a staff aide in 2007 when Obama was a U.S. senator from Illinois. He served as a foreign policy adviser to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and joined the White House National Security Council in 2009.

He served as NSC chief of staff and as deputy to national security adviser Tom Donilon beginning in 2010.

Personnel Shifts

Among the other personnel shifts, Lisa Monaco will become deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism upon the confirmation of John Brennan, who currently holds the job, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the White House said.

Monaco since 2011 was assistant attorney general for national security at the Department of Justice and earlier was a chief of staff to FBI Director Robert Mueller. Her appointment and that of Blinken signal that Obama isn’t planning any major shift in national security policy or foreign affairs.

Obama also is appointing Rob Nabors, now his chief congressional liaison, as deputy White House chief of staff for policy. Miguel Rodriguez will take over as director of legislative affairs.

Jennifer Palmieri, deputy White House communications director, is replacing the current communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, who shifts to senior adviser to the president.

Plouffe Leaving

The president also bid farewell to David Plouffe, who managed Obama’s 2008 campaign and served as a senior adviser in the White House. “Were it not for him, we would not have been as effective a White House and I probably wouldn’t be here,” Obama said.

David Simas is being appointed deputy senior adviser for communications and strategy.

Obama’s Cabinet secretary, Chris Lu, is leaving the administration and will be replaced by Danielle Gray. Katy Kale is being appointed as an assistant to the president for Management and Administration.

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