Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was commissioned as a officer in the Navy Monday – as the 47-year old who helped manage the tumultuous beginning to Trump’s term begins a career in the reserves.
Vice President Mike Pence swore in Priebus as an ensign, the lowest-level officer grade. He will attend officer development training in Newport, Rhode Island, then is expected to serve in human resources in Washington, D.C.
Priebus was sworn into the Navy under a special program that allows candidates for certain skilled jobs bypass the normal officer training regimen.
He left his post as Trump’s top advisor in July 2017, although during his tenure the president also relied on a handful of other top aides, including Steve Bannon and son-in-law Jared Kushner, for advice.
The event was listed on Pence’s public schedule but was closed to the press.
As a reserve officer, Priebus will be expected both to give and follow orders. Priebus is featured in the Mueller report, where he is one of several aides revealed not to have carried out instructions that might have gotten the president in deeper legal trouble. He did not carry out Trump’s directive to get attorney general Jeff Sessions to resign – an incident listed as a potential obstruction of justice offense by the president.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recommended Priebus for the special group of officers, the Washington Post reported last year.
Other politically-tied officials to make use of the program include former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former Hillary Clinton campaign chair Robby Mook.
Spicer, who sometimes had to take leave from his White House job to perform Naval Reserve duties, tweeted out images of Priebus swearing into the Navy.
‘Congratulations to the @Navy’s newest Ensign @reince. Great to join @VP @RonJohnsonWI and others as he was sworn in.’ Priebus hails from Wisconsin, as does Sen. Johnson.
Spicer, also a reserve officer, used to report to him when he ran the Republican National Committee and at the White House.
Priebus wrote the Navy that he was inspired to join after an Oval Office meeting between Trump and the wife and family of fallen Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens.
‘Wonderful day – honored to be able to serve!’ wrote Priebus.
His Twitter page lists him as a member of the Washington Speakers Bureau. He also serves as president of the law firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP.