Understanding the President’s Cabinet: White House Chief of Staff
Religion & Liberty Online

Understanding the President’s Cabinet: White House Chief of Staff

Note: This is the post #18 in a weekly series of explanatory posts on the officials and agencies included in the President’s Cabinet. See the series introduction here.

Cabinet position: White House Chief of Staff

Department:  Executive Office of the President

Current staffer: Reince Priebus

Department Budget:

Primary Duties of the Secretary: While the roles of the chief of staff varies by presidential administration, they usually include the following:

• Select key White House staff and supervise them;

• Structure the White House staff system;

• Control the flow of people into the Oval Office;

• Manage the flow of information;

• Protect the interests of the president;

• Negotiate with Congress, other members of the executive branch, and extra-governmental political groups to implement the president’s agenda; and

• Advise the president on various issues, including telling the president what he does not want to hear.

Departments: The WH Chief of Staff oversees the following offices:

• Council of Economic Advisers

• Council on Environmental Quality

• Executive Residence

• National Security Staff

• Office of Administration

• Office of Management and Budget

• Office of National Drug Control Policy

• Office of Science and Technology Policy

• Office of the United States Trade Representative

• Office of the Vice President

• Domestic Policy Council

• National Security Advisor

• National Economic Council

• Office of Cabinet Affairs

• Office of the Chief of Staff

• Office of Communications

• Office of Digital Strategy

• Office of the First Lady

• Office of Legislative Affairs

• Office of Management and Administration

• Oval Office Operations

• Office of Presidential Personnel

• Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs

• Office of Scheduling and Advance

• Office of the Staff Secretary

• Office of the White House Counsel


Secretary Info

Secretary: Reinhold Richard “Reince” Priebus

Previous occupation: Chairman of the Republican National Committee

Education: B.A. from University of Wisconsin–Whitewater and J.D. from the University of Miami.

Previous government experience: None (Priebus ran an unsuccessful bid for Wisconsin state senate)

Notable achievements:

• Served as state party treasurer, first vice chairman, chairman for the Wisconsin Republican Party.

• Served as general counsel for the RNC before being elected as the party’s chairman.

• Served as the longest-serving RNC chairman in modern history.

Notable quotes:

On Free Enterprise: “Free enterprise, individual opportunity, limited government. They made America great; only they can keep America strong.”

On Trade: “As the United States chains itself down with greater debt, China is building relationships across the globe to bolster its trade, its access to natural resources, and its energy consumption. In far too many cases, this means lost opportunities for America and our businesses.”

On Big Government: “America is not getting beaten by any other power. We are beating ourselves through deficit spending to fund wasteful big government.”


Previous and forthcoming posts in this series: Vice PresidentSecretary of StateSecretary of the TreasurySecretary of Education, Secretary of LaborSecretary of Defense, Attorney GeneralSecretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of CommerceSecretary of Health and Human ServicesSecretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of EnergySecretary of Veterans Affairs, Secretary of Homeland Security, U.S. Trade Representative, Director of National Intelligence, Representative of the United States to the United Nations, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, White House Chief of Staff


Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).