White House eyes ex-Treasury spokesman to lead impeachment messaging efforts
Posted October 25, 2019 9:45 a.m. EDT
CNN — The White House is eyeing former Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh to lead impeachment messaging efforts, three sources familiar with the discussions said.
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, is among those pushing for Sayegh's hire, the sources said. Sayegh was previously a candidate to become White House communications director after Hope Hicks left the White House last year.
Kushner and other officials at the White House have been frustrated with the status of impeachment messaging efforts at the White House and have been looking to hire someone to bolster their operation.
While the President has opposed a war-room effort, several of his top aides are increasingly recognizing the need to bolster the White House's messaging operations as Democrats march toward impeachment.
Trump has not yet signed off on Sayegh and some White House officials are already opposed to his hire.
Sayegh and the White House did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. The New York Times first reported that Sayegh was under consideration.
One month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she was endorsing an impeachment inquiry, the White House is still struggling to form a cohesive messaging strategy. Disagreements over how to proceed and a feud between the chief of staff and legal counsel have complicated efforts to push back against Democrats, who aides recognize are moving quickly and aggressively.
This has frustrated White House officials who feel the last several weeks have been squandered while witness after witness has testified on Capitol Hill. Democrats are winning the messaging battle, they privately say.
Inside the President's inner circle, there have been arguments over whether there should be a war room. Trump has argued against it, while some advisers have told him there's no other option. Even those who agree on a need for one have disagreed over who should run it, with multiple names being thrown out daily.
There is currently a plan to hire additional communications aides, though whether they will work in a war room-like atmosphere seems unclear still. Top White House officials have reached out to several individuals over the last several days, though there are concerns about who would take on the daunting role.