GOP Senator Praises Dina Powell’s Promotion to Deputy National Security Adviser

Dina Powell / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Natalie Johnson, March 16, 2017:

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) on Thursday lauded the promotion of President Donald Trump’s senior counselor for economic initiatives, Dina Habib Powell, to deputy national security adviser for strategy.

Cotton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Powell is an “outstanding choice” for the post, noting her 15-year service in government that included a role in the second Bush White House.

“She has years of experience working both in the business world and at many different levels of government, including Congress, the White House, and the State Department,” Cotton told the Washington Free Beacon in an emailed statement. “In that time, she has earned the deep respect of her colleagues for her unique ability to not only take the long view but also to coordinate the many moving parts of an administration.”

Powell was appointed to the position by Trump’s newly minted national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. She will assist McMaster in devising the administration’s national security strategy and will help lead an interagency policy process involving Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Her appointment to the National Security Council expanded the senior team. K.T. McFarland will continue to serve as another deputy national security adviser, a senior administration official told the Washington Post.

Before joining the White House in January, Powell was president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, where she worked closely with former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, who is now Trump’s senior economic policy adviser. She is expected to continue her role advising Ivanka Trump on economic policies that benefit women. She also will work with Ivanka’s husband and senior adviser to the president, Jared Kushner, on the U.S.-Saudi Arabia relationship.

Powell, who was born in Egypt, speaks fluent Arabic and served as an assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs during the Bush administration under former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Her ability to work across government agencies has been widely lauded by her former colleagues in Washington.

Powell has taken a more prominent role in foreign affairs in recent weeks. She has been working alongside Tillerson, and participated Tuesday in a meeting between Trump and Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s defense minister and deputy crown prince.

Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Politico late Wednesday that he believed Powell could forge consensus across national security agencies.

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