Former White House director of legislative affairs Marc Short will return to the White House as Vice President Pence’s chief of staff, a senior administration official said. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Vice President Pence on Tuesday named former White House legislative affairs director Marc Short as his new chief of staff, elevating a longtime loyalist to a top position as the administration gears up for the 2020 presidential election.

The hire marks the first time an aide who left the Trump White House has returned to work in a West Wing known for its chaotic environment and historic staff turnover.

“I am pleased to announce that Marc Short will be returning to the White House to serve as my chief of staff,” Pence wrote in a tweet. “Marc will be joining the Office of the Vice President in March and we look forward to welcoming him to our great @VP Team!”

Short left the administration last year after working as Trump’s first legislative affairs director but has kept in touch with the vice president, White House officials said. Conversations about the post have stretched for several weeks, White House officials said. 

Short could not be reached for comment. Some in the administration expected Pence to pick Jarrod Agen, his communications director who is serving as his interim chief of staff, for the post. Agen will stay in his current job for now, a senior administration official said.

As the White House’s top liaison to Capitol Hill, Short was at the center of legislative battles over health care and tax cuts, as well as the administration’s efforts to secure Senate confirmations of federal judges and Cabinet officials. He was close to Hill leadership during his tenure. “I am thrilled to have Marc back in the administration,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.

He also regularly represented the White House on television programs, offering a steady defense of the president and his policies. Short is expected to play a similar role in the president’s reelection effort.

Pence is expected to heavily focus on trade and helping the president pass his new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, officials said. Short is expected to lead an outside effort to build support for the agreement.

While Trump grew frustrated with Short over a spending bill last year that he signed but did not like because it did not provide the amount he wanted for his border wall, he was largely on good terms with the president and is well-liked in the administration, current and former administration officials sad.

Short will replace Nick Ayers, the vice president’s former chief of staff who left the Trump administration in December. Ayers was expected to become the president’s chief of staff following the departure of John F. Kelly but decided not to accept the job, frustrating some of Trump’s allies. He has since returned to Georgia, aides say.

Short, an evangelical Christian who served as Pence’s chief when he was a congressman from Indiana, also worked for the Koch Brothers and initially opposed Trump’s candidacy during the 2016 election but came around, allies said.

Short had begun working for Guidepost Strategies, a consulting firm, and was lecturing at the University of Virginia. He faced some backlash at the university as some students and professors protested his appointment because of his work in the Trump administration.

He was also appearing on CNN as a paid analyst. He will end his affiliation with the company, the university and the TV network, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday. 

The Trump campaign also hired a number of officials on Tuesday to handle communications and press strategy for the 2020 reelection effort. Tim Murtaugh, who currently serves as the spokesman for Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, was named communications director and Kayleigh McEnany, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, was appointed press secretary. The hires are an initial step to build the campaign staff and more hires are expected in the upcoming months as the 2020 election gets closer.