Donald Trump’s transition team has tapped dozens of public relations veterans and policy experts to guide the president-elect’s nominees through the Senate confirmation process.
Here’s a partial list of the so-called sherpas, compiled from interviews with members of Trump’s transition team and Republicans close to them.
— Former Newt Gingrich press secretary R.C. Hammond will work with retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, Trump’s pick for defense secretary.
— Megan Bloomgren, a partner at the firm DCI Group and a former George W. Bush Energy Department spokeswoman will work with Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, Trump’s choice for interior secretary.
— Alex Flint, former staff director of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a former executive at the Nuclear Energy Institute, is also working with Zinke.
— Blain Rethmeier, a former Bush White House spokesman, is working with retired Gen. John Kelly, whom Trump has tapped for Homeland Security.
— Chad Kolton, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Federal Emergency Management Agency during the Bush administration, is a sherpa for the federal intelligence agencies.
— Tara Bradshaw, a former Treasury Department spokesperson, Barney Keller, former communications director for the Club for Growth, and Mary Waters, an assistant secretary for congressional relations in Bush’s Agriculture Department, are working with Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s choice for treasury secretary.
— Christian Whiton, a former State Department official, is working with Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for secretary of state.
— John Czwartacki, a former director of public affairs at FEMA, is working on the nominees for the Small Business Administration, Office of Management and Budget and the United States Trade Representative, once the pick for the latter post is announced.
— Diane Cullo, a former spokeswoman for a trade group representing produce companies, will work with the pending agriculture secretary nominee.
— Marc Palazzo, a former lobbyist for a Koch Industries subsidiary, and Brian Waidmann, a former top aide to Bush interior secretaries Dirk Kempthorne and Gale Norton, are working with Rick Perry, Trump’s pick for energy secretary.
— Sery Kim, a former Bush Health and Human Services official, is a sherpa for Seema Verma, whom Trump tapped to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, whom he picked to be ambassador to China; and the yet-to-be named head of the Council of Economic Advisers.
— Earl Comstock, a longtime former Senate Commerce Committee staffer, is working with Commerce choice Wilbur Ross/
— Cynthia Berry — a former staffer to former Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Washington counsel for the American Medical Association — is working with Rep. Tom Price, Trump’s choice to lead HHS.
— Townsend McNitt, a former Bush Education Department official, is advising Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for education secretary.
— Drew Maloney, vice president of global government affairs and public policy at the oil company Hess, is the sherpa for Andrew Puzder, Trump’s pick for labor secretary.
— Keith Appell, a longtime public relations executive, is working with Sen. Jeff Sessions, the pick for attorney general.
— DJ Nordquist, a well-known chief-of-staff and communications director in the economic studies program at the Brookings Institution, is helping Ben Carson through the confirmation process for HUD secretary.
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