President Trump may only be in his 7th month in office, but it's already proven to be tough for his staff to survive the Trump White House. The West Wing might as well be fitted with a revolving door to accommodate the speed at which various employees are entering and exiting. But amid all of the hustle and bustle, one group of West Wing denizens has stood strong, as detailed in a POLITICO report by Annie Karni: the women whom President Trump employs in his White House.
For an administration that has lacked staffing stability, this is an interesting pattern to point out. It's also striking, given Trump's history of denigrating women with his words, and allegedly with his actions as well — at least a dozen women have claimed that Trump sexually harassed them, allegations that the president wholly denies. With his Twitter rants about women's appearances and talk of grabbing women by the genitals, it's somewhat ironic that Trump could convince any women into his professional orbit — let alone that they should prove to have all of the serious staying power in the White House.
And yet, there they are. Avoiding the drama, scooting under the radar, doing their jobs — and, perhaps most difficult of all in the dog-eat-dog world that is Trump's West Wing, not getting fired. Here are all the president's women that have managed to outlast their male counterparts, and this is why they're important.
Let's start with the president's aide who has garnered by far the most media attention so far besides his own daughter. Kellyanne Conway, the current Counselor to the President who joined the campaign after leaving rival Ted Cruz's, has become one of the administration's most recognizable — and notorious — faces on television. She has an uncanny ability to wriggle her way out of difficult questions, she infamously coined the term "alternative facts," and she referred repeatedly to a massacre that did not take place in an effort to defend Trump's immigration ban. The woman's got flair, there's no denying that.
Former communications director Anthony Scaramucci had flair to spare, though, but he's out, and Conway's in — comfortably, with no one publicly assaulting her position. This is an accolade that could not be truthfully given to such high profile mainstays as Steve Bannon or even Jared Kushner, who are constantly the focus of animated media debate about their relative positions in the West Wing. Conway, the woman Trump once referred to as "my Kellyanne" and "baby," is in it for the long haul, and she's been embracing her position.
2Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sean Spicer's replacement as press secretary and daughter of former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, has also been around for all of the administration's first six turbulent months. She has years of experience in politics working for her other campaigns (including her father's), and she joined the Trump effort in February 2016. All this seems to have served her well, as she's so far avoided the drama that engulfed her position while Spicer still held it.
"I may not share Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ politics," Alyssa Mastromonaco, who previously served at a high level in the Obama administration, told POLITICO, "But she’s working her ass off and deserves more credit than she gets.”
You definitely recognize Hope Hicks after seeing her in so many photos with the president and others, but you may not know anything about her — because she apparently does her job entirely under the radar. Hicks is officially the assistant to the president and the director of strategic communications in the White House — a meteoric rise for a 28 year-old woman who joined the Trump campaign right at the beginning in 2015 with no prior experience in politics.
She had, however, done PR for Ivanka Trump, and this was enough to gain the president's trust — which she still holds. Besides his actual family, there are very few people who have stood by the president's side for as long as Hicks has.
Dina Powell, the U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy, is another Ivanka find, and she's worked her way up through the White House ranks quite successfully. While she was previously an employee of Goldman Sachs, she actually has experience working for the Bush White House and, fittingly for her job, fluency in Arabic.
POLITICO reports that she was also on the short list for the position of White House chief of staff, which ultimately fell to Gen. John Kelly. National security is an area that's been especially rife with turmoil, but instead of letting it bring her down, Powell has managed to rise above all of it.
Buried back behind Sean Spicer in the picture above is Lindsay Walters, who joined the administration in January as the deputy press secretary and advisor to Sean Spicer, the then-press secretary. She's not one of the marquis names of the White House team, but notably, she did survive the purge that Scaramucci attempted to carry out in his brief time on the job. Fellow former RNC-er Reince Priebus may have fallen victim, but Walters did not.
Manigault, likely the only Apprentice contestant who you've heard of if you never watched the show, has pulled a complete turnaround in the White House as a political aide and communications director for the Office of Public Liaison. While she's recently received some flack for signing her name as "The Honorable Omarosa Manigault," a title which is reserved for only certain political figures and which she has not earned, the former reality-TV star has been doing possibly the most surprising thing at all: working out of the spotlight.
Former Fox News commentator K.T. McFarland is the outlier on this list, because she was actually ousted from one position — but then moved to one that is arguably cushier, if less central to the administration. She joined as the deputy national security advisor, a role that she lost in a shakeup at the National Security Council. Instead of cuttings its ties with her, however, the administration retained her and all of her national security experience — as the nominee for ambassador to Singapore.
The first daughter's role may seem to have been all over the map, but one thing is clear — Trump trusts no one like he trusts Ivanka. While how much of an impact she's had on his policies is questionable, there's no one in the White House whose position is so unassailable. She hasn't proved to be quite the moderating factor that liberals might have hoped for, but her father's devotion to her — and determination to actually give her a White House post, despite claims of nepotism — is clear and unwavering. She's certainly one of the administration's most public faces, appearing at events across the globe to promote, among other things, women's rights, paid family leave, and STEM education. Ivanka's legacy in the White House is yet to be determined — but you can be almost certain that she'll be there until her father walks out of the doors for the last time.
To be fair, this administration is still only six months old — and there are certainly shakeups to go down the road, unless something seriously changes. But for now, these women have made their mark, for better or for worse.