Trump announced in a press release today that he has picked former Fox News analyst Kathleen Troia “K.T.” McFarland as his deputy national security adviser and his current lawyer Don McGahn as an assistant to the president and White House counsel.
Before signing on with Fox News, McFarland served in Richard Nixon’s, Gerald Ford’s and Ronald Reagan’s administrations and was once an adviser to Henry Kissinger on the National Security Council. Following Trump's announcement, Fox News said that McFarland's contract with the company had been terminated.
“I am proud that K.T. has once again decided to serve our country and join my national security team,” Trump said in a press release. “She has tremendous experience and innate talent that will complement the fantastic team we are assembling, which is crucial because nothing is more important than keeping our people safe.”
Trump’s pick for national security adviser, former Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, sent a congratulatory tweet this afternoon to McFarland before the transition team’s press release.
McFarland will take the place of current Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, who is known for his influential role in Barack Obama’s administration. McGahn’s appointment as White House counsel may prove a more crucial pick for Trump as he navigates the potential conflicts of interest inherent in holding office while letting his children run his business empire.
McGahn is a partner with the Jones Day law firm and represented Trump through his campaign, now serving as general counsel to his transition. McGahn is known for his highly influential and controversial role as chairman of the Federal Election Commission, where he played a significant role in loosening regulations on campaign finance.
He was an ethics adviser to the scandal-ridden former congressman Tom DeLay, R-Texas.
“Don has a brilliant legal mind, excellent character and a deep understanding of constitutional law,” Trump said. “He will play a critical role in our administration, and I am grateful that he is willing to serve our country at such a high-level capacity.”
Trump remains with his family at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, and the transition team has granted reporters no access to the property or information on any meetings he may be holding.
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, tweeted Thursday that she has received a “deluge” of messages warning against choosing Romney, who earned scorn from Trump loyalists for his open criticism of the then-candidate through the GOP primaries.
“I think a lot of the palace intrigue gets a little bit overblown in this stage,” Miller said, responding to speculation ignited by the tweet.
Trump will return to New York City for meetings Monday with eight more people he is considering for positions in his administration, bringing the number of meetings he has held to “more than 65,” according to Republican National Committee communications director and chief strategist Sean Spicer.
On that list are Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, former Securities and Exchange Commission head Paul Atkins and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who is considered a contender for homeland security secretary.