Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress, where McDonough worked in the mid-2000s said: “Denis is a shrewd thinker, smart policy innovator, and cares deeply that America reach its promise for all its citizens.”
In other moves announced by Obama, Legislative Affairs Director Rob Nabors will become deputy chief of staff for policy; he will be replaced by Miguel Rodriguez.
David Simas, a pollster for the Obama campaign, is joining the White House as deputy senior adviser in the communications shop. Danielle Gray and Katy Kale were named as assistants to the president.
While most of the appointees have worked within the White House or vice president’s office, Monaco comes from the Justice Department, where she was one of the highest-ranking women. At Justice, Monaco has served as assistant attorney general for national security since 2011. A graduate of Harvard and the University of Chicago Law School, she is widely respected by officials with the Republican and Democratic parties. She previously worked for FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, serving as his counsel and chief of staff.
“Lisa has no rival when it comes to her dedication to this nation, her experience in national security issues and her excellent judgment,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said.
In interviews, Michael Mukasey, a former attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, and Patrick Fitzgerald, a former U.S. attorney from Illinois, praised Monaco for her judgment, deliberate style and thoughtful decisions.
“She listens and doesn’t jump to an answer,” Fitzgerald said. “She will get the room to the right place in a way that ruffles as few feathers as possible. When the president turns to her, she will give great advice.”