Ivanka Trump is quietly staffing up, and she’s filling out her team in the West Wing with former officials from President George W. Bush’s administration.
In addition to her close adviser Dina Powell, who served as chief of the personnel office in the Bush White House, the first daughter — who now serves as a special assistant to the president — has hired a chief of staff who worked under Bush’s education secretary, Margaret Spellings.
Julie Radford — who like her boss is a mother of three young children — was chosen to work for the first daughter after being recruited in February by Powell.
A graduate of Southern Methodist University, Radford, 34, first connected with Powell as a consultant to Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, which was overseen by Powell in her previous job. Based in New Orleans, Radford oversaw Goldman Sachs’ entrepreneur-boosting programs in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.
“She’s one of the most talented women I have ever worked with,” Powell said in a brief phone interview Friday morning as she was headed into the Oval Office. “I saw firsthand her ability to both creatively develop new and innovate programs and execute them based on measurable results.”
Radford’s role as an official chief of staff to a first daughter is unique. Ivanka Trump is focused on women’s issues, but shealso has been described by her attorney as a looming presence who serves as “her father’s eyes and ears” in the White House. Ivanka Trump also has an assistant, and she continues to work closely with her father’s longtime senior communications adviser, Hope Hicks, who worked for the Trump Organization before joining the campaign. She also retains an outside spokeswoman. A White House official declined to comment on how many more staffers she planned to hire.
“We’re all one team,” Powell said of the group developing around Ivanka Trump in the West Wing. “We all work on these initiatives together.”
Ivanka Trump’s husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner, has also been staffing up. Earlier this month, Kushner recruited Hollywood publicist Josh Raffel to work in his burgeoning, though still vaguely defined, Office of American Innovation.
Radford reached out to Powell in February, expressing her support for Ivanka Trump’s message about women’s empowerment that she touted on the campaign trail to help her father defeat Hillary Clinton.
Radford, who has 8-month-old twins, has yet to move her family to Washington.
Along with Powell and Hicks, she’ll be accompanying Ivanka Trump to Berlin Tuesday, where Trump is scheduled to participate in a W20 women’s summit organized by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel is one of a number of foreign leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who have reached out directly to Ivanka Trump, seeking to work the family angle as they forge ties with the Trump administration.
“I think Ivanka Trump has a good eye for policy, especially around women’s issues,” said Spellings, who was Radford’s first boss out of college. “Julie is a wonderful person, with a can-do attitude.”