Melania Trump has taken her first major step as first lady by hiring Lindsay Reynolds as chief of staff to the first lady and assistant to the president. This is only her second official hire for her team in the White House East Wing. New York event planner Stephanie Winston Wolkoff was her first appointment to the position of senior advisor. Trump has yet to name a social secretary, an office crucial to the planning of state dinners and formal events . By contrast, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama entered into the office with a chief of staff and a social secretary from the start.
Though Americans have come to expect an active FLOTUS, the role has been shaped by tradition and has no statutory authority. A budget and a staff come along with the role, but it falls to each first lady to define the position as she sees fit. Time will tell how Trump decides to assume the role and make it her own. Her continued residence in New York with son Barron is a non traditional beginning as First Lady.
She has acknowledged the slow pace of compiling her staff with a press release on Wednesday that said, “I am putting together a professional and highly experienced team, which will take time to do properly. I am excited to be organizing and bringing together such a dynamic and forward thinking group of individuals who will work together to make our country better for everyone.”
First lady chief of staff Reynolds will oversee operations in the White House East Wing. She has indicated that her first priority is to reopen the White House public tour route which had been temporarily closed to visitors. She will be the key representative and liaison for the first lady as Melania continues to reside in New York. With more than 14 years of experience in event management and political fundraising, Reynolds seems well suited to the position. Her experience serving under President George W. Bush as associate director of the White House Visitors Office further qualifies her to the role.
Duties will also include assisting with the hiring of more staff for the Office of the First Lady especially for open key roles including press operation, correspondence, scheduling and the social secretary office. Reynolds will also manage and oversee the first lady’s schedule. Should Melania follow through on her indicated interest in a campaign to combat cyberbullying, Reynolds will be the one to coordinate.