Two top White House officials, Shahira Knight and Johnny DeStefano, announced their long-anticipated departures from the West Wing on Tuesday, leaving huge holes in an already thinly staffed administration.
Knight is expected to leave in early June to return to the private sector in Washington, while DeStefano plans to exit the White House on Friday to do consulting work for companies such as Juul, the e-cigarette manufacturer.
Unlike a bevy of other top aides, Knight and DeStefano are leaving on their own terms with their relationships with the president intact.
“Shahira has done a wonderful job as my Legislative Affairs Director. She was outstanding for us and for our country and will be a tremendous success in the private sector,” President Donald Trump said in a statement.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Trump similarly praised DeStefano: “Johnny, we will miss you — you did a great job!”
Knight’s departure will set off a turf battle among top White House officials to fill the slot of top White House liaison to Capitol Hill, one former senior administration official said. Aides expecting to have input into any new hire include acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller, a second former administration official said.