Today in Media

Knight, DeStefano leaving Trump White House

Johnny DeStefano (pictured) and Shahira Knight plan to leave the White House, opening up a turf war in an already thin staff.

Two top White House officials, Shahira Knight and Johnny DeStefano, announced their long-anticipated departures from the West Wing on Tuesday, leaving huge holes in an already thinly staffed administration.

Knight is expected to leave in early June to return to the private sector in Washington D.C., while DeStefano plans to exit the White House this Friday to do consulting work for companies such as Juul, the e-cigarette manufacturer.

Unlike a bevy of other top aides, both Knight and DeStefano are leaving on their own terms with their relationships with the president intact.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Trump similarly praised DeStefano: “Johnny, we will miss you — you did a great job!”

Hours later, he also praised Knight in a separate tweet: “Shahira Knight has done a wonderful job as my Legislative Affairs Director at the White House.”

Knight’s departure will set off a turf battle among top White House officials as to who gets to fill the slot of the top White House liaison to Capitol Hill, said one former senior administration official. Officials expected to have input into any new hire include acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Jared Kushner, and Stephen Miller, said a second former administration official.

She joined the Trump White House in its early days as a top policy staffer for the White House National Economic Council, for which she played a key role in the passage of the Republicans’ 2017 tax bill. Knight was promoted to the deputy director of the council before taking on her current role as legislative affairs director, which had previously been held by Marc Short, the current chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence.

DeStefano served as an assistant to the president and oversaw a handful of key offices inside the White House including the Office of Presidential Personnel and Office of Public Liaison. He joined the administration immediately after the inauguration and was charged with hiring hundreds of political appointees to fill key agency jobs.

CNN first reported Knight’s official departure, while the Washington Post reported DeStefano’s.

Other White House comings-and-goings are being discussed.

Trump is expected to tap former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for a senior position at the Homeland Security Department, even if the exact title is still under discussion.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *