Arkansan joins Trump team

Gi­d­ley will work with San­ders as deputy press sec­re­tary

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL - FRANK E. LOCK­WOOD

WASH­ING­TON — An­other Arkansan with solid Repub­li­can cre­den­tials has been tapped to work for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s press of­fice.

Ho­gan Gi­d­ley, a long­time po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tive who grew up in El Do­rado, is join­ing the team headed by Lit­tle Rock na­tive Sarah Huck­abee San­ders, the White House press sec­re­tary.

Gi­d­ley, whose ti­tle will be deputy press sec­re­tary, and San­ders worked to­gether on for­mer Arkansas Gov. Mike Huck­abee’s 2016 pres­i­den­tial bid. San­ders was her fa­ther’s cam­paign man­ager and Gi­d­ley was the spokesman.

He started his West Wing job on Wed­nes­day.

Gi­d­ley, 41, said it’s “a priv­i­lege of the high­est or­der” to serve in the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“I get to work at a place that I’ve revered and put on a pedestal my en­tire life,” he said.

A 1998 grad­u­ate of the Univer­sity of Mis­sis­sippi, Gi­d­ley re­turned to Arkansas to pur­sue a ca­reer in jour­nal­ism, work­ing for tele­vi­sion sta­tions KAIT in Jones­boro and KKYK in Lit­tle Rock.

Work­ing at small out­lets, he did a lit­tle bit of every­thing, from co-host­ing a morn­ing show to de­liv­er­ing weather fore­casts.

Gi­d­ley left the news busi­ness to take a job in state gov­ern­ment, work­ing, for a time, as Huck­abee’s direc­tor of me­dia op­er­a­tions. He later served as ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor for the South Carolina Repub­li­can Party from 2006-07.

Over the years, Gi­d­ley has worked for var­i­ous Repub­li­can can­di­dates, in­clud­ing the failed re-elec­tion bid of then-U.S. Sen. El­iz­a­beth Dole of North Carolina in 2008 and the cam­paign of pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Rick San­to­rum in 2012.

Gi­d­ley also served as ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of HUCK PAC, the for­mer gover­nor’s po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee.

More re­cently, he worked as a Repub­li­can po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant and a CBS News con­trib­u­tor.

Chip Salts­man, a se­nior ad­viser to Huck­abee’s 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, said the press shop will be able to rely on Gi­d­ley.

“He is fiercely loyal to the peo­ple he works with,” Salts­man said. “In this White House, that’s a great at­tribute.”

Gi­d­ley’s track record bodes well, he added. “He’s a great com­mu­ni­ca­tor. He stays on mes­sage. … I think [he’s] a great ad­di­tion to the White House com­mu­ni­ca­tions team.”

Ka­ton Daw­son, for­mer chair­man of the South Carolina Repub­li­can Party, called the new deputy a “very tal­ented, hard­work­ing, good Chris­tian guy.”

Gi­d­ley ben­e­fited by liv­ing in a state with a high­stakes, first-in-the-South pres­i­den­tial pri­mary; he even or­ga­nized a cou­ple of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial de­bates, Daw­son said.

“Ho­gan cut his teeth in Arkansas and he pol­ished up his re­sume in South Carolina,” Daw­son said. “He’ll do a good job.”

Fox News broke the story of Gi­d­ley’s hir­ing. The an­nounce­ment sur­prised and pleased Gov. Huck­abee. “Thrilled to hear this! @ JHo­gan-Gi­d­ley is a pro and great guy,” he posted on Twit­ter.

Gi­d­ley said he’s ex­cited to work with San­ders and the rest of the team.

“I can’t wait to get my feet wet, learn every­thing I need to know and then help out any way I can,” he added.

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