A Butler County native spent the last month settling into her new desk at the White House.
Emma King Doyle, 30, is principal deputy chief of staff to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House Chief of Staff. In layman’s terms, she’s the right-hand woman to President Donald Trump’s right-hand man.
Doyle switch-ed to the Chief of Staff’s office on Dec. 27, shortly after Mulvaney was named to the position. She had spent the last two years working as Mulvaney’s chief of staff at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
“It’s surreal,” Doyle said. “And such an honor.”
Doyle took the job soon after the partial government shutdown began. Her position is among those going without pay.
“We have been shut down while I’ve been in this position,” Doyle said. “So I’m not sure that we’ve had a normal day yet, but I’m also not sure that this is a job that comes with a lot of normal days.”
Doyle attended school in the Mars School District through ninth grade, after which she transferred to Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. She earned both her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Georgetown University. She worked for U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey as a legislative aide before joining Mulvaney’s staff in the House of Representatives, and she worked as a lobbyist for Ford Motor Co. before joining the OMB.
But today, Doyle’s office is in the West Wing.
“It’s a place with an amazing sense of history,” Doyle said. “It’d be difficult to work here and not feel that sense of continuity to the people that have come before you and the responsibility you have to the American people when you’re in a job like this.”
She thinks her upbringing in Western Pennsylvania — “Trump Country,” she called it — is an asset at the Capitol.
She worked both with and around President Trump for about two years in her role at the OMB. Today, she said, she mostly works with Mulvaney, who in turn works with the president, rather than directly taking orders from Trump.
She does travel with the president on occasion. Most recently, she traveled with Trump to New Orleans for his address at the annual Farm Bureau convention.
She said it wasn’t much of a surprise for her when Mulvaney was tapped to replace John Kelly, who served as Trump’s chief of staff from July 2017 through the end of 2018. Their team had read political news reporting for some time that Mulvaney was being considered. It had been written often enough, she said, that she had already discussed with Mulvaney whether she’d be on board.
When the day came for the former congressman to offer the job to Doyle, she said she took it without hesitation.
“I was on board from the beginning,” Doyle said. “There’s really no higher honor than working in the White House and having the chance to serve the president.”
Doyle is the daughter of Tom and Marcy King. Tom, a lawyer in Butler, said they weren’t too surprised to hear of her new position, given her previous jobs.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Tom said. “We’re very proud of her.”
Move-in day at the White House for Doyle was two days after Christmas. She said she and other staffers in Mulvaney’s core team carried over their boxes from the nearby Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
“We figured as long as we could email, we were ready to go,” she said.
Officially, her day begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends around 8 p.m., but in practice it’s really an around-the-clock gig.
No, she said she didn’t have any insider information about when said shutdown may be over.
As for particular policies or efforts she’s had her hand in, Doyle said she’s worked almost exclusively on collaborative projects and can’t claim full credit. Her name appears among hundreds of others of the last two federal budget documents, and she figures that’s enough.
Her career path moving forward isn’t clear, she said, but Doyle said she and Mulvaney plan to stay on as long as Trump will have them.
But in the meantime, she said she’s hoping to return to Butler County soon.
“Because we were tracking for the shutdown, I stayed in D.C. over Christmas,” Doyle said. “I’m hoping to get back for Easter.”