Charisma Caucus

Kellyanne Conway and Carl Icahn Take Trump White House Jobs

Kellyanne Conway and Carl Icahn
President-elect Donald Trump has selected Kellyanne Conway and Carl Icahn for key advisory roles in his administration. (Reuters photos)

Throughout the 2016 presidential election campaign, two of President-elect Donald Trump's closest advisers were his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, and billionaire financier Carl Icahn.

Wednesday night, he announced Icahn would lead his administration's efforts to reduce government regulation. Thursday morning, he announced Conway would join his troika of top advisers as counselor to the president.

"Carl was with me from the beginning and with his being one of the world's great businessmen, that was something I truly appreciated," Trump said. "He is not only a brilliant negotiator, but also someone who is innately able to predict the future especially having to do with finances and economies. His help on the strangling regulations that our country is faced with will be invaluable."

"Kellyanne Conway has been a trusted adviser and strategist who played a crucial role in my victory," the president-elect added. "She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message. I am pleased that she will be part of my senior team in the West Wing."

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Icahn is a New York City native and grew up in Far Rockaway, Queens. After receiving a degree in philosophy from Princeton University in 1957, he attended medical school at New York University and then joined the Army.

He began his career on Wall Street in 1961. In 1968, he formed Icahn & Co., and has gone on to become one of the most well-known and influential investors in America, holding substantial or controlling positions in numerous American companies over the years, including:

  • RJR Nabisco,
  • Texaco,
  • Phillips Petroleum,
  • Western Union,
  • Gulf & Western,
  • Viacom,
  • Revlon,
  • Time Warner,
  • Motorola,
  • Chesapeake Energy,
  • Dell,
  • Netflix,
  • Apple and
  • eBay.

The presidential transition team issued the following statement:

Over the course of six decades, Mr. Icahn has distinguished himself as one of America's most successful businessmen and investors. Mr. Icahn was one of President-elect Trump's earliest supporters, and his intimate knowledge of what businesses need to grow and thrive makes him a trusted voice in developing President-elect Trump's America First economic agenda. Icahn will be a leader in helping American entrepreneurs shed job-killing regulations that stifle economic growth ...

His efforts have improved the competitiveness of American companies in a wide range of industries, including real estate, telecommunications, transportation, industrial services, oil refining and manufacturing.

Carl has been deeply involved in many charitable endeavors for years. In 2012, in recognition of Carl's gift of $200 million, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine was renamed the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the Institute of Genomics was renamed the Icahn Genomics Institute. The School of Medicine also established the Icahn Scholars Program to attract world-class physician-scientists. He also funded the Icahn Medical Institute Building at Mount Sinai Hospital and the Institute of Genomics, a genomics and multi-scale biology research program. Carl serves as a trustee on the boards of the School of Medicine and Mount Sinai Hospital.

In the realm of education, Carl established seven Icahn Charter Schools in the Bronx borough of New York City. The mission of the schools is based on the belief that all students deserve a rigorous academic program through which they will increase their capacity to learn. At Choate Rosemary Hall, a premiere boarding school located in Wallingford, Connecticut, where he previously served on the board of trustees, he endowed the Icahn Scholars Program, which has awarded a large number of scholarships to underprivileged students.

Carl has also made significant donations to the Randall's Island Sports Foundation, where he previously served as a trustee, for the construction of Icahn Stadium, a track and field stadium located on Randall's Island. In addition, he has served as a trustee on the board of Lincoln Center.

Icahn will be advising the president in his individual capacity and will not be serving as a federal employee or a special government employee and will not have any specific duties. As a result, his appointment won't require Senate confirmation.

"I am proud to serve President-elect Trump as a special advisor on regulatory reform," he said. "Under President Obama, America's business owners have been crippled by over $1 trillion in new regulations and over 750 billion hours dealing with paperwork.

"It's time to break free of excessive regulation and let our entrepreneurs do what they do best: create jobs and support communities. President-elect Trump is serious about helping American families, and regulatory reform will be a critical component of making America work again."

Conway shattered a glass ceiling during the campaign by becoming the first woman to lead a successful presidential campaign. In her new position—which was first created by President Richard Nixon and was, for a time, a Cabinet-level post—she will continue her role as a close adviser to the president and will work with senior leadership to "effectively message and execute the administration's legislative priorities and actions."

She graduated magna cum laude from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., and holds a law degree, with honors, from George Washington University Law School. She is the founder and owner of The Polling Company Inc./WomanTrend, a polling and research firm that for 21 years has served leading political figures, nonprofits and companies.

At the onset of the 2016 campaign, she was an ally of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) but was instrumental in turning around the Trump campaign in its late stages. She has since been a key figure in both the president-elect's campaign and his transition team.

"I want to thank the president-elect for this amazing opportunity," she said. "A Trump presidency will bring real change to Washington and to Americans across this great nation. I am humbled and honored to play a role in helping transform the movement he has led into a real agenda of action and results."

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