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Washington • President-elect Donald Trump has named Rob Porter, Sen. Orrin Hatch's chief of staff, as an assistant to the president and new White House staff secretary, putting the Utahn directly outside the Oval Office and virtually overseeing every paper that will cross the new president's desk.
Porter, a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard University graduate, will make key decisions of who enters the Oval Office as well as orchestrate meetings with the president.
Hatch's office announced the appointment Friday, though Trump's transition has not yet commented.
"President-elect Trump has made an inspired choice," Hatch said in a statement. "Rob is not only a brilliant leader; he is also a dear friend and a trusted confidante who has my full confidence and support."
Porter, a Boston native whose family is from Provo, has led Hatch's office for three years and previously served as general counsel to Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, chief counsel to Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and as a visiting scholar at Brigham Young University.
The staff secretary position once held by Jon Huntsman Sr. is essentially the nerve center of the White House.
While a president has scores of aides and assistants, the staff secretary historically is the ultimate firewall of what the president will see or meet with.
Hatch said that Porter's selection is an "enormous gain" for the new president and will be good for the country to have "such a capable, devoted public servant in such a senior role."