The White House is elevating a key spokesperson from the National Security Council to serve in a senior communications role for the office of the chief of staff, CNN has learned.
Saloni Sharma, previously a deputy spokesperson for the National Security Council and experienced Capitol Hill and presidential campaign aide, is now serving as a special assistant to the president and senior adviser for communications in the office of the chief of staff.
“President Biden is delivering on his promise to make government work for the American people. Saloni will be a key part of the team in our efforts to communicate how we are getting the job done,” White House chief of staff Jeff Zients told CNN.
Sharma, who recently started in the role, will serve as the point person for Zients and President Joe Biden’s senior leadership team, including senior advisers Mike Donilon and Anita Dunn, counselor Steve Ricchetti, and deputy chiefs of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon, Bruce Reed, and Natalie Quillian. She will focus on communications, strategic planning and interfacing with reporters on a daily basis, a White House official said.
Dunn called Sharma “an incredibly talented communicator” who is “as capable at big-picture strategic messaging as she is at day-to-day press and has been a trusted colleague since Day One of the administration.”
Sharma’s new role is a unique one in the Biden White House, first carved out by her predecessor Remi Yamamoto, who held the position advising the entire senior leadership team during the tenure of former White House chief of staff Ron Klain.
It also marks the latest hire in a White House now operating under Zients as Biden inches closer to a possible reelection bid. Zients brought in Quillian, his former deputy from the White House’s Covid-19 response team, to serve as a deputy chief of staff last month.
Sharma, who has worked in the Biden administration since the start, joins the chief of staff’s office after working as a deputy spokesperson for the National Security Council, where she balanced a portfolio consisting of some of the administration’s key foreign policy priorities, including China, cyber security, international economics, Russian sanctions and energy.
“Saloni Sharma is a hidden national treasure. She is smart, principled, and fearless,” said national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who worked with Sharma at the NSC. “She loves this country and she fights for it. She loves this President and she fights for him. And we love Saloni.”
Sharma also enters the role with a depth of experience in Democratic politics and Capitol Hill, including working for New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the current majority leader. She also spent four years working with Senator Elizabeth Warren, first in her Senate office – where she focused on issues like student debt and accountability for big banks – and later on her 2020 presidential campaign.
“Saloni is a dedicated public servant and expert at connecting policy ideas with how to improve people’s lives,” Warren told CNN. “She is an excellent choice for this role.”