Dina Powell’s star rising on Trump staff

  • White House Senior Counselor for Economic Initiatives Dina Powell leaving the White House on April 5. ap photo

  • In this image provided by the White House, taken April 6, 2017, Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, right, joins President Donald Trump, and others, as he receives a briefing on the Syria military strike from his National Security team after the strike at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. In a White House split between outsider ideologues and more traditional operators, Powell is viewed as a steady force in the growing influence of the latter. A newer addition to the team, her West Wing experience, conservative background and policy chops have won over Trump’s daughter and son-in-law. Now, as the president turns his attention to international affairs, attempting to craft a foreign policy out of a self-described “flexible” approach to the world, Powell is at the table. (White House via AP)

  • FILE - In this April 11, 2017 file photo, Dina Powell, President Donald Trump's senior counselor for economic initiatives, listen during a meeting between President Donald Trump and business leaders in the State Department Library of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. In a White House split between outsider ideologues and more traditional operators, Powell is viewed as a steady force in the growing influence of the latter. A newer addition to the team, her West Wing experience, conservative background and policy chops have won over Trump’s daughter and son-in-law. Now, as the president turns his attention to international affairs, attempting to craft a foreign policy out of a self-described “flexible” approach to the world, Powell is at the table. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) Evan Vucci

Associated Press
Published: 4/13/2017 11:10:17 PM

WASHINGTON — The photo from inside Donald Trump’s makeshift situation room at Mar-a-Lago affirmed what White House insiders have recognized for some time — that Dina Powell has quietly established herself as a White House power.

Though sandwiched between other administration officials, the deputy national security adviser for strategy stands out as the only woman among 13 staffers in the room on the night the president ordered the missile attack in Syria.

And in a White House that is split between outsider ideologues and more traditional operators, Powell is viewed as a steady force in the growing influence of the latter. Her West Wing experience, conservative background and policy chops have won over Trump’s daughter and son-in-law. Now, Powell is at the table as the president turns more of his attention to international affairs, attempting to craft a foreign policy out of a self-described “flexible” approach to the world.

She is a rare Bush veteran in a White House that has largely shunned its Republican predecessor’s legacy. She came via Goldman Sachs — decidedly not a rarity for the new president — originally to work on economic development at the behest of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. An Egyptian-American with international experience and fluency in Arabic, she was soon moved to the National Security Council, though she retains her economic title.

Powell’s ties to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who recruited her, and to economic adviser Gary Cohn, a fellow Goldman alumnus, mean she has been labeled by some as part of a more moderate group at the White House. But GOP leaders describe her as a longtime conservative thinker.

Still, Powell is plunging into a national security role at a fraught moment, as the United States ponders next steps with Syria, navigates complex relationships with North Korea, China and Russia and seeks to combat the rise of ISIS.




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