Trump Adds Key Bridgegate Figure, Trump Org Security Chief To WH Team

AP

A key figure in the 2013 Bridegate scandal and the longtime head of security for the Trump Organization are among the new White House staffers that Donald Trump named on Wednesday.

The President-elect named Bill Stepien, former campaign manager for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), as his deputy assistant to the president and political director. Keith Schiller, Trump’s former bodyguard who has run security for the Trump Organization since 2004, will be deputy assistant to the president and director of Oval Office operations.

Stepien was first introduced to the national stage during the investigation into a politically-motivated traffic shutdown on the George Washington Bridge orchestrated by Christie’s allies. Though Stepien denied any knowledge or involvement of the scheme and was never charged in the case, the New Jersey governor cut ties with him during the scandal after emails were released in which Stepien referred to the target of the Bridgegate plot, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, as an “idiot.”

His career was derailed until he was hired as the Trump campaign’s national field director in August. During the federal Bridgegate trial this fall, which resulted in the convictions of two former Christie associates, the government’s key witness testified that he told Stepien about the plot less than 24 hours after it was hatched.

Trump’s plan to bring members of his private security team to the White House was first reported by Politico in December. Several Trump associates told Politico at the time that Schiller, who oversaw security at the President-elect’s campaign and transition events, would serve as a “full-time physical gatekeeper.”

Former “Apprentice” contestant Omarosa Manigault was also given a prominent role. She will serve as assistant to the president and director of communications for the office of public liaison.

The full list of staffers appointed Wednesday is below:

Marc Short, Assistant to the President and Director of Legislative Affairs
John DeStefano, Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Personnel
Omarosa Manigault, Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison
Josh Pitcock, Assistant to President and Chief of Staff to the Vice President
Keith Schiller, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Oval Office Operations
George Gigicos, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Advance
Jessica Ditto, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director
Raj Shah, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director and Research Director
Bill Stepien, Deputy Assistant to the President and Political Director
Jen Pavlik, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Vice President

John McEntee, Special Assistant to the President and Personal Aide to the President

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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