She was previously Trump's senior counselor for economic initiatives
Powell will focus on long-term planning for the National Security Council
Dina Powell, President Donald Trump’s senior counselor for economic initiatives, is switching roles at the White House and will named deputy national security adviser for strategy, a senior administration official tells CNN.
Powell, a former executive at Goldman Sachs, will work closely with K.T. McFarland, who has been the acting deputy for strategy. Though some national security experts speculated that McFarland would leave following Michael Flynn’s ouster as national security adviser earlier this year, a senior administration official said that she will remain.
The Cairo-born, Dallas-raised Powell first came on board Trump’s team after advising his daughter, Ivanka, on women’s empowerment issues, helping her foster relationships with business executives over multiple dinner parties focused on women in the workplace during the presidential transition and after the inauguration.
At 29, Powell was the youngest-ever assistant to the president for presidential personnel, heading up all of the George W. Bush White House’s decisions on appointments.
She was then elevated to the State Department as assistant secretary of state for Educational and Cultural Affairs and deputy undersecretary of Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy in 2005.
Her appointment made her a key voice for the Bush administration in the Middle East at a time when the administration was concerned about how the US was communicating with international audiences.
Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, touted Powell’s background in 2005 as a key asset for the administration.
“She is such an effective spokesperson for us, because she speaks Arabic and is an Arab woman and can stand up as a role model and as somebody who can defuse some of the misperceptions,” Cheney had told The Washington Post. “She can lay out what our policy is and defend that at length.”
Powell also served as right-hand woman to Karen Hughes, then the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.
“She has a real gift for both seeing the big picture and putting in place the details. She has a real gift for partnerships, it’s one of the things that makes her so effective,” Hughes told CNN when Powell first joined the Trump administration.
During her time at State, Powell connected business leaders with the government to provide disaster relief and worked with college presidents to recruit international students.
Powell, the official said, will focus on long-term planning for the National Security Council and with closely with national security adviser H.R. McMaster.
Notably, Powell was part of the meeting this week between Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.