First Lady Melania Trump’s top policy aide, Reagan Hedlund, has left the White House after just six months on the job, Politico reports.
According to the outlet’s sources briefed on the matter, Hedlund, a 28-year-old former executive assistant at the National Security Council, left the White House last week. Hedlund declined to provide details, but told Politico the following.
“I am very grateful to the first lady for the opportunity to help launch her policy initiative. It was a rare opportunity to contribute at such a high level. It was a difficult decision to leave. However I have decided to return to my roots in the foreign policy world.”
Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, confirmed the news in a brief statement, adding that Hedlund “is no longer with our office and we wish her our best.”
Multiple White House aides Politico talked to said that they were unsure of the exact reason for Hedlund’s departure, while others said that they hadn’t heard about it. As the same outlet noted, Hedlund helped Melania launch her anti-bullying initiative “Be Best.”
According to CNN, Melania Trump’s now former aide previously served as policy and communications adviser to Mike Pompeo when he was a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Kansas. CNN further noted that the first lady’s office is purposefully downplaying Hedlund’s departure, since the aide was, in fact, not the right fit for the job, and was therefore asked to leave.
Hedlund’s departure, according to CNN, makes Melania Trump’s team less than half the size of Michelle Obama’s, with approximately 10 staffers now working for the first lady.
— The Hill (@thehill) August 4, 2018
Unlike many of her predecessors, Melania Trump was in and out of the public eye. As NPR reported in June, the first lady of the United States had disappeared for nearly a month. It was later established that Melania had been suffering from a kidney condition. She first re-emerged alongside her husband, Donald Trump, at an event honoring the families of fallen military service members.
“The White House revolving door” policy, as BBC put it, has been a frequent target of criticism. First Lady Melania Trump’s team may have been small to begin with, but dozens of aides to President Donald Trump have either quit or been fired and replaced. As BBC noted, individuals such as Scott Pruitt, Dave Shulkin, H.R. McMaster, Rex Tillerson, Andrew McCabe, Tom Price, Steve Bannon, Anthony Scaramucci, James Comey, Michael Flynn, Sally Yates, Paul Manafort, and others come to mind.