On Friday, First Lady Melania Trump reportedly made a trio of new hires, tapping some employees from within President Donald Trump's administration to join her own personal staff. And one of the three will be serving as her brand new policy director ― in short, if you're wondering who Reagan Thompson is, she's no Washington, D.C. newcomer.
The 27-year-old Thompson, according to The Washington Post, is a graduate of Stanford University, and has prior experience as an executive assistant on the National Security Council and a policy adviser for former representative and current CIA director Mike Pompeo. As a student, she was involved in organizing for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign for president, serving as the president of Stanford's "Students for Romney."
Her conservative bonafides are even represented in her first name ― she's reportedly named after former president Ronald Reagan. She'll reportedly be taking up the job of the first lady's policy director, a role that was previously entirely unfilled, in order to help Melania make progress on some of her signature issues. What those issues will actually be remains slightly general and unclear, although as CNN details, she's repeatedly expressed a desire to help children, and echoed that in a statement on Friday.
I am very excited to add these quality professionals to my already stellar team. I am confident they will enhance my work on behalf of children everywhere, while helping me further expand my role as First Lady of the United States.
She's also said she'd like to help combat cyber-bullying, although again, it's unclear what specific policies or issues she'll end up prioritizing. Thompson is reportedly joining the first lady's team alongside incoming director of operations Justin Caporale, who'll be handling event planning and travel preparations, and incoming communications coordinator Annie LeHardy, who'll be handling outreach and interaction with the press.
The hires come following a pretty rough week of news coverage for the entire administration, and in some respects for Melania specifically. That's in large part thanks to the release of journalist Michael Wolff's explosive and controversial book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House last week, a tome containing countless behind-the-scenes stories and details from throughout the Trump family's time in politics that have drawn scrutiny and attention.
Perhaps the most pointed claim in Wolff's book about the first lady is that she did not expect her husband to win the 2016 presidential election, and indeed, did not want him to. In excerpts posted online prior to the book's release, she was described as having tears in her eyes as it became clear Donald had won the presidency ― "and not of joy."
Melania's team has flatly denied the claim, with her spokesperson Stephanie Grisham saying in a statement that Wolff's book is "clearly going to be sold in the fiction section."
This book is clearly going to be sold in the bargain fiction section. Mrs. Trump supported her husband’s decision to run for president and in fact, encouraged him to do so. She was confident he would win and was very happy when he did.
Grisham also hailed Thompson's hire in an email to The Washington Post, noting her previous experience working with both "statewide and national campaigns." She further suggested that an official platform could be coming from the first lady's office soon.
Reagan's experience with various statewide and national campaigns will be a big asset as the first lady and her team prepare to roll out her official platform in the coming months.
It's worth noting that even with the new hires, Melania is keeping a pretty small staff as compared to her predecessor. At this time in former president Barack Obama's first term, former first lady Michelle Obama reportedly had roughly double that number of people on her staff.