Trump economic aide to take over WH legislative affairs

Marc Short leaves West Wing next week

By SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN
Alex Wong/Getty Images

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A top economic aide to President Donald Trump is taking over the White House's legislative affairs shop as Marc Short, Trump's current legislative director, prepares to leave the West Wing next week.

The White House announced the appointment of Shahira Knight, deputy director of the National Economic Council, as Short's replacement on Thursday.

Short had told his team in mid-June that he planned to leave the administration this summer. But sources said there had been internal discussions about Short potentially delaying his exit until after the Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's Supreme Court nominee, in order to run point on the confirmation process, believing such a victory would allow Short to leave on a high note.

But Trump chose Don McGahn, his White House counsel, to oversee the portfolio, although Short and McGahn both vied for the opportunity, the sources said. After those talks about Short altering his departure date to deal with Supreme Court issues, he opted to follow through with his plan to leave in the summer.

A senior White House official said Supreme Court confirmation issues are handled though the White House counsel's office as a matter of practice and said Short would not have been given the lead role on that effort if he had indeed advocated for it.

Knight had weighed her own White House departure last month and even made plans to take a role at Clearing House, a financial services group. However, Knight decided to put off her exit when the prospect of taking Short's job emerged, a White House aide said.

Knight had been considered a leading contender to take over for Short since he decided to step down.

Short shepherded Trump's tax cuts to successful passage late last year in what was the high-water mark of his time in the White House. However, Short also led the unsuccessful push to repeal Obamacare, and he helped negotiate a budget deal that Trump nearly refused to sign in the spring.

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