Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence
Pence’s right hand
Key previous position: White House legislative liaison
Education: Washington & Lee; University of Virginia
Notable fact: Ties to Reagan Ranch
In a town of big egos and self-promotion, Marc Short stands out by trying to stand back. As chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence and in his earlier job as President Trump’s legislative director, Short does plenty of television interviews and fights for administration positions. But he is not a shouter; he dissents from some of the president’s most provocative statements (he denied, for instance, that the news media are “enemies of the people”); and he tries to wield his influence in quieter ways.
It’s important, the 49-year-old Virginia native told National Journal, to “have a humble attitude.” Other legislative directors caught between strong presidents and demanding lawmakers have been chewed up and spit out. Short, on the other hand, left the job with his reputation enhanced, crediting a humble attitude. “If you approach the job with a servant’s heart, then you end up better serving the president and members will hopefully want to be working with you and with this White House,” he said.
His climb to Washington prominence has surprised him at times—never more so than when former Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas hired the then-35-year-old as her chief of staff. “Why me?” he asked her, citing his lack of Hill experience. He said she told him that “‘everyone else was a lawyer and you had an MBA,’ and she envisioned that would help me in managing her office. I know that was a differentiator.”
He credits Pence—for whom he worked when Pence was a member of the House, a vice presidential candidate, and now vice president—for getting him to the next level. “It is something that he instilled in all of our staff,” Short said. “That you check your personal desires at the door and recognize that you are here to serve.”
—George E. Condon Jr.