|2nd White House Director of Strategic Communications|
September 12, 2017 – July 1, 2019
|Preceded by||Hope Hicks|
|Succeeded by||Alyssa Farah|
December 27, 1972
Miami, Florida, U.S.
|Education||Florida International University (BA)|
George Washington University (MPA)
Mercedes Schlapp (née Viana; born December 27, 1972) is an American communications specialist and political commentator for both English and Spanish media. She has served in two presidential administrations as director of specialty media under George W. Bush and as White House Director of Strategic Communications in the Trump administration from September 2017 to July 2019. She went on to work on the Trump 2020 re-election campaign as senior advisor for strategic communications.
She is also co-founder of Cove Strategies, and advises media strategy for corporate and nonprofit organizations.
Schlapp earned a bachelor's degree from Florida International University and a master of public administration from George Washington University. In December 2019 she was awarded an FIU Medallion—Outstanding Alumna for her achievements.
Campaigns and Bush administration
Schlapp also worked as senior advisor for strategic communications on the Trump reelection campaign in 2020.
Together with her husband Schlapp founded Cove Strategies, a media strategy and lobbying firm based in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2009. According to Open Secrets, the firm performs services mainly in the areas of telecommunications, trade, and health issues and earned greater income during the Trump administration than it did during the Obama administration.
She was a board member of the National Rifle Association before joining the White House. She was an aid consultant at the NRA, earning $60,000 from the NRA in 2015, and $45,000 in 2016, according to NRA tax filings.
On September 12, 2017, President Donald Trump's administration announced that Schlapp would serve as Director of Strategic Communications. During her time with the Trump Administration, Schlapp focused on issues such as school safety, opioids, infrastructure and trade. Prior to joining the Trump administration, Schlapp made numerous statements that were strongly critical of Trump.
Schlapp attracted attention when she and her husband left the White House Correspondents Dinner early in April 2018, saying that she was disgusted by comedian Michelle Wolf's jokes aimed at Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. In a limousine en route to an exclusive NBC/MSNBC afterparty, she tweeted that Wolf's comedy routine is "why America hates the out of touch leftist media elite".
George Floyd protests
In June 2020, amid the George Floyd protests against racism and police brutality, she retweeted praise for a man who was wielding a chainsaw against protestors while he was yelling the N-word. After Politico asked for comment, she retweeted another account that posted the video of the chainsaw-wielding man but which muted the N-word. After Politico published the story, she apologized.
- @mschlapp (27 December 2016). "Happy birthday @mercedesschlapp !!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- (subscription required)https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KLJG-KV7
- Haberman, Maggie; Karni, Annie (2019-07-01). "Mercedes Schlapp Leaving White House Press Office to Join Trump Campaign". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- https://www.usnews.com/topics/author/mercedes-schlapp[bare URL]
- "Women for Trump bus rolls into county for rally".
- https://www.wwsg.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Mercedes-Schlapp-WWSG-Full-Bio.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- "The Hon. Matt Schlapp". American Conservative Union. Archived from the original on 2014-12-30. Retrieved 2016-06-11.
- The ACU (2015-02-27), CPAC 2015 - Matt Schlapp, Chairman, ACU, Former White House Political Director, retrieved 2016-06-11
- "POLITICO Playbook Power List: Mercedes Schlapp". Politico.
- "FIU graduate creates nonprofit while battling brain cancer".
- "Political Experts Analyze a Biden-Sanders Race".
- "Mercedes (Mercy) Viana Schlapp", ffrwculpeper.com/Founding Fathers Republican Women.
- "Mercedes Schlapp". www.usnews.com. Retrieved 2016-06-11.
- "Mercedes Schlapp | Stories - Washington Times". www.washingtontimes.com. The Washington Times. Retrieved 2016-06-11.
- "Meet the Schlapps, Washington's Trump-Era 'It Couple'". The New York Times. 2018-04-30. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- "Cove Strategies Issues Lobbied • OpenSecrets".
- "Cove Strategies Lobbying Profile • OpenSecrets".
- Woellert, Lorraine (February 28, 2018). "Missing from the gun debate: Trump's own experience with concealed carry". Politico. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
Mercedes Schlapp, his director of strategic communications, was a board member of the NRA before joining the White House.
- Greenwood, Max (September 12, 2017). "Mercedes Schlapp joins White House as senior communications adviser". thehill.com. Washington DC: Capitol Hill Publishing. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
- Darcy, Oliver. "Top White House communications aide has history of rhetoric strongly critical of Trump". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
- Stelter, Brian. "Here's how people reacted to Michelle Wolf's White House correspondents' roast". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- Hart, Benjamin. "Five White House Staffers Leak Meeting About White House Leaks". Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- "The White House's John McCain death joke controversy, explained". Vox. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- Caputo, Marc (June 6, 2020). "Chainsaw-wielding racist gets boosted by a top Trump aide as race protests sweep the nation". Politico. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
- Dorman, Sam (2020-06-06). "Senior Trump aide apologizes after promoting video of chainsaw-wielding man yelling racial slur". Fox News. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
- Schlapp, Mercedes (May 11, 2012). "Churches Feel Persecuted by Obama". U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report L.P. Archived from the original on March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Riley, John (September 12, 2017). "Anti-LGBTQ activist Mercedes Schlapp joins White House Press Office". Metro Weekly.