Denis McDonough will be Obama’s fifth chief of staff, the president announced this afternoon from the East Office.
“Nobody outworks Denis McDonough,” the president said, highlighting McDonough as a loyal aide of many years and remarking on his tendency to pull “all-nighters.”
McDonough was previously the principal deputy national security adviser. The move is part of larger shaking up of staffing appointments, largely by moving around familiar faces to new positions. McDonough will replace Jack Lew, who will take over as the president’s Treasury secretary. , The New York Times details McDonough’s move as one of many lower profile staff-shufflings within Obama’s inner circle.
Other moves announced Friday afternoon include moving White House Director of Legislative Affairs Rob Nabors to deputy chief of staff for policy. The vice president’s foreign policy adviser, Tony Blinken, will take over McDonough’s job. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer will rise to become a senior adviser, replacing David Plouffe, who is leaving Obama’s circle of advisers. Jennifer Palmeri, a Pfeiffer deputy, will be promoted as communications director.
Obama also named Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco to replace John Brennan as counterterrorism adviser. Brennan has been nominated to lead the CIA.
The White House confirmed the planned appointment earlier this morning.
“Denis has been one of the president’s closest and most trusted advisers for nearly a decade, dating back to when he helped set up then Senator Barack Obama’s Senate office,” a White House official told NBC. “He has relied on his intellect and good judgment ever since- most recently as a member of the president’s national security team. In that capacity, Denis has played a key role in all of the major national security decisions–from ending the war in Iraq to winding down the war in Afghanistan; from our response to natural disasters in Haiti and Japan; to the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ As a veteran of Capitol Hill, Denis understands the importance of reaching across the aisle to make progress for the American people–whether it’s on jobs and economy, health care or education, reducing the deficit or addressing climate change.”
The Morning Joe crew discussed the appointment and how important the president’s gatekeeper is last week.