|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.
Schlapp has been a Fox News contributor and a columnist for several publications including U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Times. She is also a regular co-host of Prime News with Jenn Pellegrino on Newsmax TV.
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 of America 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.
In January of 2023, Mercedes Schlapp was named as a defendant in a lawsuit by a former aide to Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker. The lawsuit accuses Mercedes of an effort to discredit the aide after his allegation of sexual battery against her husband Matt Schlapp. In response to their reporting on the lawsuit, Mercedes Schlapp publicly attacked The Daily Beast as "Satan's publication."
- @mschlapp (December 27, 2016). "Happy birthday @mercedesschlapp !!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "FamilySearch.org". FamilySearch. Retrieved June 29, 2023.
- Haberman, Maggie; Karni, Annie (July 1, 2019). "Mercedes Schlapp Leaving White House Press Office to Join Trump Campaign". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
- "Mercedes Schlapp, Contributor". U.S. News. March 18, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2023.
- "Women for Trump bus rolls into county for rally". October 9, 2020.
- Mercedes Schlapp Full Biowwsg.com June 2017 Archived February 3, 2021, at the Wayback Machine
- "The Hon. Matt Schlapp". American Conservative Union. Archived from the original on December 30, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
- The ACU (February 27, 2015), CPAC 2015 - Matt Schlapp, Chairman, ACU, Former White House Political Director, retrieved June 11, 2016
- "POLITICO Playbook Power List: Mercedes Schlapp". Politico.
- Perez, Lourdes. "FIU graduate creates nonprofit while battling brain cancer". FIU News. Retrieved June 29, 2023.
- "Political Experts Analyze a Biden-Sanders Race".
- "Mercedes (Mercy) Viana Schlapp" Archived 2016-06-24 at the Wayback Machine, ffrwculpeper.com/Founding Fathers Republican Women Archived June 24, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Mercedes Schlapp". www.usnews.com. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
- "Mercedes Schlapp | Stories - Washington Times". www.washingtontimes.com. The Washington Times. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
- "Meet the Schlapps, Washington's Trump-Era 'It Couple'". The New York Times. April 30, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on May 1, 2018. Retrieved May 17, 2018.(subscription required)
- "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. Archived from the original on February 28, 2018. 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 June 18, 2018.
- Stelter, Brian. "Here's how people reacted to Michelle Wolf's White House correspondents' roast". CNNMoney. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
- Hart, Benjamin. "Five White House Staffers Leak Meeting About White House Leaks". Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
- "The White House's John McCain death joke controversy, explained". Vox. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
- Caputo, Marc (June 6, 2020). "Chainsaw-wielding racist gets boosted by a top Trump aide as race protests sweep the nation". Politico. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
- Dorman, Sam (June 6, 2020). "Senior Trump aide apologizes after promoting video of chainsaw-wielding man yelling racial slur". Fox News. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
- 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.
- Allen, Jonathan (January 17, 2023). "Matt Schlapp slapped with a lawsuit after an allegation of fondling a GOP operative". NBC News.
- Sollenberger, Roger (September 1, 2023). "Matt Schlapp Held an Exorcism at CPAC Offices After Junior Employees Resigned". The Daily Beast.