Nearing the midpoint of Michelle Obama’s inaugural term, there is a reported shake-up going on amongst the first lady’s senior staff. Obama’s chief of staff, Susan Sher, is reportedly stepping down after having been on the job for just under a year and a half. Before her White House stint, Sher served as Obama’s superior at the University of Chicago Medical Center and as an attorney for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s administration.
Stepping into Sher’s shoes is another close confidante of the Obamas: Tina Tchen.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Among the many moves afoot, Tina Tchen, who is responsible for working with outside groups, is preparing to move to the East Wing to serve as First Lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, according to two Democrats close to the White House.
It’s part of a shuffle that gives the White House a chance to consider how it wants to organize itself for the coming two years, when it will face a more hostile, more Republican Congress. Interim Chief of Staff Pete Rouse is studying how to reorganize the place so it is ready for the next stage.
Tchen may be filling a new position, but she is no newcomer to Washington politics. Tchen has been a longtime friend and political ally of the Obamas and is close friends with White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, another Chicago veteran associate of the first couple.
Tchen has led of the White House Office of Public Engagement, an operation overseen by Jarrett which, among other things, fought for Obama’s failed Chicago Olympics bid last year. The office was also implicated for representing the White House in taxpayer-funded efforts to recruit artists and produce projects to advance the Obama agenda.
In addition, conservative author Michelle Malkin has pointed out that Tchen also worked as a “high-powered campaign finance bundler” for the Obama camp in 2009 and “personally raised more than $200,000.”
According to White House visitor logs that have been made public, Tchen has also personally met with infamous liberal financier George Soros. Tchen was just one of a handful of White House senior staff members to have one-on-one meetings with Soros. The billionaire also met privately with director Larry Summers and David Lipton, both of Obama’s White House National Economic Council.
A “Jonathan Soros”, purportedly George Soros’ son Jonathan, also logged a personal White House visit with First Lady Michele Obama in May.