President Barack Obama is expected to name Denis McDonough, the high-ranking national security deputy who handled the administration’s response to the Benghazi attack, as his chief of staff sometime next week, reported The New York Times.
McDonough, a top deputy to national security advisory Thomas Donilon, is known as a fierce defender of Obama who has been involved in key decisions from redefining the military’s mission in Afghanistan to a role in planning the raid on Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
“He has an extraordinarily close relationship with the president,” said former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, for whom McDonough worked until 2007. “What the president wants is a fairly tightly knit, cohesive team that he trusts, rather than to bring in people who would have to learn anew his style and positions.”
Because of his role with Donilon, McDonough has a been heavily involved in forming Obama’s second term national security team. He also is known for being close to the president, like many officials Obama has appointed to such high-ranking positions in his administration.
Daschle said that while chief of staff will pose a “new set of challenges” for McDonough - including upcoming battles on immigration, gun violence, and the federal budget - his experience with Obama thus far should allow him to excel.
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