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WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama yesterday named longtime foreign policy aide Denis McDonough as his new White House Chief of Staff, tapping a trusted loyalist to help drive his second-term agenda as he unveiled a major overhaul of senior staff.
Obama announced the appointment of McDonough, who had been widely tipped to fill the vacancy created by Jack Lew’s nomination as Treasury Secretary, at a ceremony in the White House’s ornate East Room.
McDonough, a deputy national security adviser, takes on what is a mostly behind-the-scenes job but still considered one of Washington’s most influential. The chief of staff acts as Oval Office gatekeeper and is a coordinator of domestic and foreign policymaking.
In more than half a dozen other high-level staff changes, Obama also moved White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer to the job of senior adviser and replaced Pfeiffer with his deputy, Jennifer Palmieri.
Another woman named was Assistant Attorney General for National Security Lisa Monaco, who was tapped to replace John Brennan as Obama’s chief White House counterterrorism adviser, pending his confirmation as CIA director.
Rob Nabors, White House director of legislative affairs and a negotiator in last year’s “fiscal cliff” talks with Congress, was named deputy White House chief of staff for policy. Tony Blinken, Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, was appointed one of Obama’s deputy national security advisers. Reuters