President-elect Donald Trump picked his trusted adviser Kellyanne Conway to serve as counselor to the president and named Sean Spicer as press secretary on Thursday.
Conway, who is described as “the Trump whisperer,” has been serving as a senior member of Trump’s transition team after successfully running his presidential campaign as campaign manager. She became Trump’s third campaign manager after Trump won the Republican nomination and is the first female campaign manager of either major party to win a presidential general election.
“Kellyanne Conway has been a trusted advisor and strategist who played a crucial role in my victory,” said Trump in a statement put out by his transition team early Thursday. “She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message. I am pleased that she will be part of my senior team in the West Wing.”
Conway will be the highest-ranking female in Trump’s White House. In her position, she will continue her role as a close adviser to the president and will work with senior leadership to effectively communicate and execute the administration’s legislative priorities and actions, according to the statement.
“I want to thank the president-elect for this amazing opportunity,” said Conway on Thursday. “A Trump presidency will bring real change to Washington and to Americans across this great nation. I am humbled and honored to play a role in helping transform the movement he has led into a real agenda of action and results.”
Conway has steered Trump through many scandals, standing by him as his spokeswoman during numerous television interviews throughout the election cycle (something Saturday Night Live memorably lampooned with a sketch starring Kate McKinnon as Conway titled “A Day Off”). Trump had wanted Conway to have a spokeswoman role in the administration and offered her a senior White House position on election night, but the loyal strategist and mother of four had publicly turned down the position. Last weekend when speaking to CBS’ Face the Nation, she defended herself against backlash that it was antifeminist for her to cite being a mother as a reason to not take the job.
Later on Thursday, Trump also announced the senior members of his communications team, naming Spicer press secretary, Hope Hicks, who has served as his spokeswoman, as director of strategic communications, Jason Miller as director of communications and Dan Scavino as director of social media.
“Sean, Hope, Jason and Dan have been key members of my team during the campaign and transition,” said Trump in a statement. “I am excited they will be leading the team that will communicate my agenda that will Make America Great Again.”
Spicer has served as chief strategist and communications director for the Republican National Committee since 2011.
“Thank you @realDonaldTrump for this amazing honor,” Spicer tweeted shortly after the announcement.
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) December 22, 2016
Dec. 22, 2 p.m. ET: Updated with Trump’s senior communications team.