Who’s Dina Powell? A rising Trump national security figure
|| Washington Times
“The photo from inside Donald Trump’s makeshift situation room at Mar-a-Lago affirmed what White House insiders have recognized for some time – that Dina Powell has quietly established herself as a White House power.
Though sandwiched between other administration officials, the deputy national security adviser for strategy stands out as the only woman among 13 staffers in the room on the night the president ordered the missile attack in Syria.
And in a White House that is split between outsider ideologues and more traditional operators, Powell is viewed as a steady force in the growing influence of the latter. Her West Wing experience, conservative background and policy chops have won over Trump’s daughter and son-in-law. Now, Powell is at the table as the president turns more of his attention to international affairs, attempting to craft a foreign policy out of a self-described “flexible” approach to the world.
“No one should ever underestimate Dina Powell.” says Brian Gunderson, a former State Department chief of staff. He hired her to work in former House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s office early in her career and later worked with her in George W. Bush’s White House.
Powell, 43, declined comment for this story.
She is a rare Bush veteran in a White House that has largely shunned its Republican predecessor’s legacy. She came via Goldman Sachs – decidedly not a rarity for the new president – originally to work on economic development at the behest of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. An Egyptian-American with international experience and fluency in Arabic, she was soon moved to the National Security Council, though she retains her economic title.
Powell’s ties to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who recruited her, and to economic adviser Gary Cohn, a fellow Goldman alumnus, mean she has been labeled by some as part of a more moderate group at the White House. But GOP leaders describe her as a longtime conservative thinker.
She has quickly earned the respect of the president, who said in a statement to The Associated Press: “Dina is an extremely intelligent and competent member of my team. She is highly respected and a great person.”
National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said he recruited Powell “because of her exceptional expertise and leadership skills, to lead an effort to restore the strategic focus of the national security council. She has already accomplished this shift in a few weeks, establishing great relationships across our government and with key international allies.”
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