First lady Melania Trump is beefing up her staff, adding three new hires from inside her husband’s administration.
Coming on board are Reagan Thompson, a former staffer with the National Security Council’s Middle East Directorate, as Melania Trump’s policy director; Justin Caporale, a former member of President Trump’s advance team, as operations director; and Annie LeHardy, who is moving from the West Wing press operation to the East Wing’s to be Melania Trump’s communications coordinator.
That brings the number of East Wing staff to 13, about half the number of aides who worked for former first ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush. The hires have come relatively later than those of previous first ladies, as Melania Trump has taken a lower profile than her predecessors in the first year of her husband’s administration. The hiring of a policy director seems particularly significant, and could indicate that the first lady might be ready to develop initiatives of her own to focus on, the way Laura Bush did with children’s literacy and Michelle Obama did with her “Let’s Move!” campaign and focus on veterans’ families.