Four in Running to Replace Katie Walsh, Departing Aide to Trump

  • Close ally of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
  • Walsh will work outside group supporting Trump agenda

RNC chief of staff Katie Walsh speaks during a press conference on Nov. 9, 2016, in Washington.

Photographer: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh, a top aide to President Donald Trump, is leaving his administration to work for an outside group supporting the president’s agenda.

Among those being considered to replace Walsh are: Rick Dearborn, the deputy chief of staff for intergovernmental affairs; Marc Short, director of legislative affairs; Sean Cairncross, senior adviser to the chief of staff; and Joe Hagin, deputy chief of staff for operations, according to a White House official who requested anonymity because the selection hasn’t been finalized.

Walsh’s departure follows a major legislative defeat for Trump last week as the president asked the House to call off a vote on health-care legislation and she is the second high-level official to leave the administration in just over two months.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at his daily briefing with reporters Thursday that Walsh’s move out of the administration wasn’t a step toward a broader staff reorganization.

Walsh is a close ally of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and served as his chief of staff when Priebus led the Republican National Committee. 

She is joining the pro-Trump "America First Policies," an outside group led by Brad Parscale, who was the Trump campaign’s digital director; and Marty Obst and Nick Ayers, both of whom worked as strategists for Mike Pence during his time as Indiana governor and as a candidate for vice president, according to two Republicans familiar with the decision.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned in February after Trump concluded Flynn had given misleading information about contacts with Russian officials.

Politico earlier reported Walsh’s planned departure.

Cairncross is a veteran of the RNC, where he worked since 2004 and was most recently its chief operating officer. Hagin was deputy chief of staff for operations for President George W. Bush, and previously worked for George H.W. Bush.

Short, who currently reports to Dearborn, is a long-time strategist to Pence. He also worked for five years for Charles and David Koch’s political network. Dearborn was chief of staff to Jeff Sessions when Sessions was in the Senate.

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