Rubio taps head of Heritage Action as new chief of staff

Rubio taps head of Heritage Action as new chief of staff
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioIvanka must recalibrate her paid family leave plan to make it tenable The United States needs a career ambassador in Honduras Rubio in Colombia to push for delivery of humanitarian aid to Venezuela MORE (R-Fla.) announced Tuesday that he’s hired Michael Needham, the CEO of prominent conservative think tank Heritage Action for America, as his new chief of staff. 

“Mike brings a wealth of policy, political and management experience that will greatly complement our office’s mission of serving the people of Florida and leading the effort to modernize the conservative movement in the 21st century,” Rubio said in a statement.

Needham will leave his job leading Heritage Action, which was founded in 2010 and lobbies for conservative policies.


Rubio fired his last chief of staff in January after he learned of allegations of inappropriate conduct against the individual.

The New York Times first reported the staff change. 

Both Rubio and Needham have a history of challenging President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ MORE.

Rubio unsuccessfully ran against the president in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, while Needham initially spoke out against Trump as a candidate, calling him a “clown” who should drop out of the race.

Needham and Rubio have both largely embraced Trump since the campaign. 

Heritage Action has praised the president for his conservative record thus far. Rubio has voted on party lines on significant agenda items during Trump's presidency, including the GOP tax plan, and has voiced support for Trump's foreign policy.

Needham has disagreed with Rubio on some policy stances in the past, specifically Rubio's support for amnesty in 2013.

"It is no secret we vehemently disagreed with Senator Rubio on amnesty, but the conservative movement is — and the Republican Party should be — large enough for fact-based policy disagreements among friends," Needham told Newsweek when Rubio first announced he was considering a 2016 run.

Rubio told The New York Times he has no plans to run for president again, but explained that the conservative movement must change to be successful in the future.

“I think the challenge is how the policies that come from those principles, by necessity, have to look different in the 21st century than they did in 1980 or 1985," he told the newspaper.

--Updated at 5:22 p.m.