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Top White House Aide Planned to 'Hide' With Pay

Seems Zachary Fuentes had a unique view of his job
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2018 5:30 PM CST
Deputy Chief of Staff Zachary Fuentes walks to board Marine One after President Donald Trump on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Anyone seen Zachary Fuentes? The top White House aide was planning to kick back in a nearby building and collect pay for six months until he could claim early retirement, Newsweek reports. With boss John Kelly leaving, the 36-year-old White House deputy chief of staff apparently told colleagues he'd hunker down in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building close to the White House. An active-duty Coast Guard officer, he could "hide out" until July and retire after finishing 15 years of military service, per the New York Times.

But that early retirement program died out with the 2018 fiscal year, so Fuentes apparently raised the issue with the Department of Homeland Security—which asked lawmakers to revive the program for 2019. But once reporters asked House members about it, they yanked the provision from a bill Wednesday. Fuentes is said to wield surprising White House power; in fact, he's the one who told Trump to ditch that World War I ceremony in France because it was raining—a decision that sparked intense criticism. Now Mick Mulvaney, Trump's incoming acting chief of staff, says he'll find "productive" work for Fuentes and calls him "a good man," per the Hill. (Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis isn't leaving in February after all.)


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