President Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, who joined the Trump campaign in January and played a strong role in shaping Middle East policy, announced that she will be leaving the administration in early 2018, Newsweek informs.
“Dina Powell has been a key, trusted advisor in this administration. She has always planned to serve one year before returning home to New York, where she will continue to support the president’s agenda and work on Middle East policy. She will serve in the administration until early next year.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Friday.
Powell is a well-respected figure in the administration who often travels with Trump abroad and was once floated as a candidate for chief of staff. According to Newsweek, administration officials said that Powell only planned to serve for a year, and unlike other former officials, she is leaving in good standing.
Powell’s departure is especially problematic given the tense situation in the Middle East. Powell, who was born in Egypt, is a fluent Arabic speaker who played a large role in organizing Trump’s visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel. She is also a key figure working with Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, on an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, Newsweek notes.
“When it comes to the Trump administration, Dina Powell is one of the adults in the room—an adviser widely respected for her professionalism and analysis. Her absence will be felt acutely in the situation room, especially when it comes to the Middle East.” Chris Meserole, a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, told Newsweek.
According to Newsweek, Nadia Schadlow, who currently works for national security adviser H.R. McMaster, has been considered as Powell’s potential replacement.