Ryan names new top aide as he gears up for Trump

Ryan names new top aide as he gears up for Trump
© Greg Nash

With a Republican president heading to Washington, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi, Schumer: Trump 'desperate' to put focus on immigration, not health care Trump urges Dems to help craft new immigration laws: ‘Chuck & Nancy, call me!' Sanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa MORE (R-Wis.) is shaking up his team, promoting longtime aide Jonathan Burks to be his new chief of staff.

The 38-year-old Burks, who did stints in the George W. Bush White House, the Senate and the House, has worked for Ryan for much of the past six years, most recently advising the Speaker on national security issues.

Since Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Gillum and DeSantis’s first debate GOP warns economy will tank if Dems win Gorbachev calls Trump's withdrawal from arms treaty 'a mistake' MORE won the White House, Burks has been pulling double duty as the Speaker’s liaison to the Trump transition team.


He replaces Capitol Hill and K Street veteran Dave Hoppe, who has served as Ryan’s chief of staff since the Wisconsin congressman won the Speaker’s gavel in October 2015. Hoppe is leaving the Speaker’s office after the holidays to pursue a new opportunity, Ryan’s office said in a news release.

Ryan is making history by appointing Burks his top aide. He is believed to be the first African-American to serve as chief of staff to the Speaker of the House.

“No one is better suited to step into this role at this time than Jonathan Burks. Simply put, he can do it all. Jonathan is whip-smart, determined, and just knows how to get things done. From helping me pass my first budget years ago to running our transition efforts today, there’s never been a job I couldn’t throw at him,” Ryan said in a statement. 

“Having held senior positions in the House, Senate, and executive branch, he understands how every lever of government works and enjoys the respect of his peers across the board,” the Speaker added. “Now, as we work to enact a bold agenda with the new administration, Jonathan's broad and deep policy knowledge will be critical to delivering on our promises to the American people.”

On the Hill, Burks is regarded as a policy specialist. He has advised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellEx-lawmaker urges Americans to publicly confront officials Manchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia Democrats slide in battle for Senate MORE (R-Ky.) on budget and appropriations issues; served as policy director for the House Budget Committee when Ryan was chairman; took on the role of deputy policy director for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign; and did stints at the Securities and Exchange Commission and Treasury Department during the George W. Bush administration.