White House Communications Director
The White House Director of Communications, also known as Assistant to the President for Communications, is part of the senior staff of the President of the United States, and is responsible for developing and promoting the agenda of the President and leading its media campaign. The director, along with his or her staff, works on speeches such as the inaugural address and the State of the Union Address. The Communications Director, who is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the President, without the need for Senate confirmation, is usually given an office in the West Wing of the White House.
Role and Responsibilities
Historically, the position of White House Communications Director is given to a senior public relations staff member of the candidate's campaign staff. Often this is either the Deputy Campaign Manager or the Campaign Communications Director. The Communications Director works closely with the White House Press Secretary, who was typically a co-worker in the president's campaign. For instance, during the 1992 Clinton Presidential Campaign, George Stephanopoulos was Deputy Campaign Manager, who became the Communications Director after Clinton's election.
As the President's voice and vision must be clear, the Communications Director ensures that all aspects of communications are covered to ensure that the administration's message has been delivered successfully. A communications strategy must be devised to promote the President's agenda throughout all media outlets. This can include, but certainly is not limited to, the State of the Union address, televised press conferences, statements to the press, and radio addresses. The communications office also works closely with cabinet-level departments and other executive agencies in order to create a coherent strategy through which the President's message can be disseminated.
With the growing importance of the internet and new media in terms of Presidential communication, the Office of Communications is having to branch out, and this has been given an added impetus by the election of Barack Obama who made large use of the internet, and more specifically social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, to reach out to his supporters in order to solicit donations and spread his campaign message.
- Assistant to the President and Director of Communications and White House Press Secretary: Sean Spicer
- Assistant to the President and Director of Strategic Communications: Hope Hicks
- Assistant to the President and Director of Social Media: Dan Scavino
|Officeholder||Term start||Term end||President|
|Herb Klein||January 20, 1969||July 1, 1973||Richard Nixon|
|Ken Clawson||January 30, 1974||November 4, 1974|
|Jerry Warren||November 4, 1974||August 15, 1975|
|Margita White||August 15, 1975||July 1976|
|David Gergen||July 1976||January 20, 1977|
|Gerald Rafshoon||July 1, 1978||August 14, 1979||Jimmy Carter|
|Frank Ursomarso||February 23, 1981||June 17, 1981||Ronald Reagan|
|David Gergen||June 17, 1981||January 15, 1984|
|Michael McManus||January 15, 1984||February 6, 1985|
|Pat Buchanan||February 6, 1985||March 1, 1987|
|Jack Koehler||March 1, 1987||March 13, 1987|
|Tom Griscom||April 2, 1987||July 1, 1988|
|Mari Maseng||July 1, 1988||January 20, 1989|
|David Demarest||January 20, 1989||August 23, 1992||George H. W. Bush|
|Margaret Tutwiler||August 23, 1992||January 20, 1993|
|George Stephanopoulos||January 20, 1993||June 7, 1993||Bill Clinton|
|Mark Gearan||June 7, 1993||August 14, 1995|
|Don Baer||August 14, 1995||July 31, 1997|
|Ann Lewis||July 31, 1997||March 10, 1999|
|Loretta Ucelli||March 10, 1999||January 20, 2001|
|Karen Hughes||January 20, 2001||October 2, 2001||George W. Bush|
|Dan Bartlett||October 2, 2001||January 5, 2005|
|Nicolle Wallace||January 5, 2005||July 24, 2006|
|Kevin Sullivan||July 24, 2006||January 20, 2009|
|Ellen Moran||January 20, 2009||April 21, 2009||Barack Obama|
|April 21, 2009||November 30, 2009|
|Dan Pfeiffer||November 30, 2009||January 25, 2013|
|Jennifer Palmieri||January 25, 2013||April 1, 2015|
|Jen Psaki||April 1, 2015||January 20, 2017|
|Sean Spicer||January 20, 2017||present||Donald Trump|
- "Jason Miller backs out of Trump White House job". Politico. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
- "White House Unit Takes on New Life", The Washington Post, Nov. 26, 1973, p. 9.
- "Press Operations in White House Revised, With Politics Ruled Out", The New York Times, August 17, 1974, p. 15.
- Letter Accepting the Resignation of Herbert G. Klein as Director of Communications for the Executive Branch
- Managing the President's Message: The White House Communications Operation
- DAVID R. GERGEN FILES, 1974-77
- URSOMARSO, FRANK: Files, 1981 (3.1 l.ft.; Box 1-8)
- Key Administration Officials
- Letter Accepting the Resignation of John O. Koehler as Assistant to the President and Director of Communications
- Appointment of Margaret DeBardeleben Tutwiler as Assistant to the President for Communications
- Press Briefing by David Gergen and Mark Gearan
- Statement by the Press Secretary: Bartlett Named White House Communications Director