Staffers on the White House communications team are jumping ship like rats, leaving behind a hollowed-out operation. But as people are quietly pushed out or leave for better gigs, one woman has quietly risen through the ranks: Julia Hahn, Steve Bannon’s 27-year-old protege.
The picture that Politico painted of the existing communications team over the weekend over the weekend was grim—there are barely any staffers left to comment to reporters and some of those who are present are just listlessly doing each other’s hair (emphasis mine):
Inside the two areas of the White House where reporters can freely roam, almost no one was available to comment as Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was ordered into jail custody while awaiting trial on fraud charges, or as House Republicans scrambled to hold together an immigration deal on the Hill.
At one point, two young staffers huddled in the office of absent deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters, with one styling the other’s hair. An hour later, a brunette examined her full head of curls in a mirror as she stood near two rows of mostly empty White House desks.
But in the meantime, Hahn’s job is only getting more expansive. As a Republican close to the White House told Politico, with the support of anti-immigrant extremist Stephen Miller, Hahn took over the duties of recently departed aide Kelly Sadler “to make sure White House allies are receiving talking points and statistics on immigration that line up with the hard-line approach [Miller] and the president have decided to take.”
Hahn, a private school brat who once described herself as “apolitical” according to a classmate, got her first media job out of college as a producer on Laura Ingraham’s show. Eventually, she found herself a place as one of the most virulently anti-immigrant writers at Breitbart (no small feat), where she penned a laudatory review of the infamously racist novel, The Camp of the Saints. Breitbart editor Steve Bannon took Hahn under his wing, eventually bringing her to the White House with him.
Hahn’s continual rise, even after Bannon’s departure, and her mandate to push anti-immigration talking points to the administration’s allies is indicative of the White House’s remaining communications priorities. Racist and inhumane policies, like ripping children from their parents at the border, still need a spokesperson.
The rest of the house might be burning, but there will always be a place in Trump’s communications staff for a far-right, anti-immigrant huckster whose primary talent seems to be ingratiating herself to xenophobic, powerful men.