President Donald Trump has hired Mercedes Schlapp, a longtime conservative commentator who he praised on the campaign trail, to his communications team.
Schlapp, who appeared regularly on Fox News, will serve under communications director Hope Hicks, 28, who was given a permanent job on Tuesday after serving as a stand-in following the firing of Anthony Scaramucci after only 10 days.
Schlapp will serve as senior adviser for strategic communications, the White House formally announced.
The appointment is the first high-profile position to be filled by General John Kelly, Trump’s new chief of staff.
Kelly is attempting to clean out staff brought on board from Trump’s campaign days and hire those with more Washington experience, Politico reports.
Schlapp, whose husband Matt chairs the American Conservative Union, is well known in DC working as a consultant for her public affairs firm Cove Strategies.
She also served as part of the Bush administration as spokeswoman for Spanish-language media outlets.
While Schlapp left her job as a commentator for Fox News recently, she previously courted Trump’s admiration by using her slot to defend him and his policies.
Speaking last winter at CPAC, a conference hosted by the ACU, Trump said: ‘I want to thank Matt Schlapp and his very, very incredible wife and boss, Mercedes.
‘When I watch them on television defending me, nobody has a chance.’
As well as defending the now-President, Schlapp has also been a vocal proponent of ‘religious freedom’ laws designed to allow businesses to refuse to carry out tasks that contradict their beliefs.
The laws were brought in several states after high-profile cases involving Christian bakers being forced to make cakes for same-sex weddings.
Other changes are also in the works to fill vacancies following the departures of former Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.
Raj Shah will serve as principal deputy press secretary. Steven Cheung will serve director of strategic response.
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