National security adviser McDonough will replace Obama's chief of staff
WASHINGTON — In selecting Denis McDonough to be his next and fifth chief of staff, President Obama is tapping a longtime confidant and unflappable ally to be his gatekeeper to the personalities and challenges that will confront him in his second term.
Obama announced on Friday that McDonough, now one of the president's closest national security advisers, will replace outgoing White House chief of staff Jack Lew, whom Obama has nominated for Treasury secretary.
McDonough, 43, becomes the latest link in a chain of staffers elevated to key roles in the Obama White House following years of service within the president's closely guarded inner circle. The risk-averse strategy keeps Obama in his comfort zone and ensures that those setting the tone for the administration are in tight harmony with his way of thinking.
“The president trusts him — perhaps more than anyone else in the White House. And I think he knows the president's mind perhaps better than anyone else in the White House,” said John Podesta, who served as President Bill Clinton's chief of staff.
A native of Stillwater, Minn., McDonough obtained a master's degree from Georgetown University in 1996 and became a foreign policy staffer in the House, then later in the Senate under Tom Daschle, the top Senate Democrat at the time.
Like so many of the president's senior aides, his work for Obama started during the 2008 campaign, in which he served as a foreign policy aide and was a senior adviser on the transition team. In 2009, he became the chief of staff for Obama's national security staff.
Obama said McDonough was not only one of his closest advisers but also one of his closest friends, recounting the “countless crises” during the first term that had engrossed McDonough at all hours of the day.
“I've actually begun to think that Denis likes pulling all-nighters,” Obama said to knowing laughter from fellow staffers in the East Room. “The truth is nobody outworks Denis McDonough.”
Current and former White House staffers describe McDonough as an exceptionally hard worker with deep loyalty to the president.
Obama's first chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, was known more for volatility than cool-headedness. And some administration officials still bristle at the president's attempt to bring in an outsider for the chief of staff job — Bill Daly, who replaced Emanuel but lasted only about a year before leaving Washington. McDonough is expected to be more in the mold of Lew.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 34th senator signs on to Iran nuclear deal, crumbling GOP’s hopes to override veto
- Man slain by police said to have had knife
- Senate Dems get 34th vote to hand Obama victory on Iran deal
- VA enrollment data labeled unreliable
- Sasquatch sighting! Maine police say Bigfoot artist nabbed
- U.S. Catholics at odds with church, survey finds
- Baltimore officers on track for trial
- Clinton: Women ‘expect’ extremism from terrorists, not GOP candidates
- Pope Francis’ lack of familiarity with United States unusual
- Monsoon leaves Phoenix in the dark
- Ancient giant sea scorpion turns up