- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A 32-year-old St. Louis native is a key player in President Donald Trump’s White House.

Katie Walsh is deputy chief of staff to the president. She told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2lMyyb1 ) that her biggest surprise so far has been that anyone is surprised that Trump is actually following through on his campaign promises.

Friends and co-workers describe Walsh as the model of political multitasking.

She is one of the top women in the White House and one of the youngest. She is one of three deputies to chief of staff Reince Priebus and works closely with key officials like chief strategist Stephen Bannon, counselor Kellyanne Conway and senior adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.

The wall of her tiny West Wing office includes photos of the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium, but little else. It looks like the office of someone who is constantly elsewhere, as Walsh is in her seven-day-a-week job.

She describes her sole mission as advancing Trump’s agenda on what she calls “the biggest stage you could be on.”

Trump’s first few weeks in office have included a flurry of executive orders and actions, a showdown with the federal judiciary over his orders temporarily banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries and the nomination of federal judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, several of former President Barack Obama’s policies have been peeled back or delayed.

“I think the thing that surprised me the most is just how shocked people are that we actually came to D.C. and that the president is doing what he said he was going to do,” Walsh, a 2003 graduate of Visitation Academy in St. Louis, said. “My question is, ‘Why are you so shocked by that?’

Walsh has worked for several big-name Republicans, including former Sen. John Ashcroft of Missouri, former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who is now a frequent critic of Trump.

She also worked for Priebus at the Republican National Committee, where she was credited for helping devise, fund and build the voter identification and mobilization infrastructure that helped Trump win.

She said she has friends who are not fans of Trump.

“Do I have friends that don’t love everything the president says? Absolutely,” Walsh said. “Does that affect my view of what I think the president is able to do for this country? Absolutely not.”

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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