Mariel Saez, the White House director of broadcast media, will leave government for the private sector after serving as the administration’s point person on a critical component of its wide-ranging messaging strategy: television.
Saez, who was well known on Capitol Hill as a constant presence by the side of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer during her 10 years working for the Maryland Democrat, had roles on Biden’s presidential campaign and in the Presidential Inaugural Committee before taking over the broadcast role on Inauguration Day in 2021.
“It has been an honor to serve the President as Director of Broadcast Media, and I am grateful to my talented and dedicated colleagues at the White House and across the Administration who worked hand-in-hand with me to communicate the President’s priorities across broadcast media,” Saez said in a statement.
The Biden administration is now firmly in the window when senior officials in past administrations have started to depart or shift to other jobs within the administration. It’s a reality driven by the fast-paced, high-stress environment of the West Wing — one only exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been central to Biden’s first year in office.
Several White House officials have told CNN there’s an expectation there will be more departures in the weeks ahead, likely after Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1. Still, with key agenda items still hanging in the balance and officials keen on securing more progress on Covid-19 and the economy, there’s no indication members of Biden’s senior team are on their way out.
It’s a reflection, to some degree, of a senior staff that has been defined by stability in his nearly 13 months in office, with Biden surrounded in the West Wing by a coterie of close long-time advisers or campaign officials, and few senior-level departures up to this point. Biden told reporters last month he was satisfied with his team, signaling he didn’t plan to make any changes on his own.
It stands in sharp contrast to his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who faced a significant number of departures in his first year in office.
For Saez, the departure marks the end of a lengthy stretch in government, with time on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Though largely absent from public view, Saez’s role is a critical one for an administration pressing to get its message out across television platforms and special events including presidential town halls. It’s comprised of both internal strategy and the external management of the constant battle for interviews with high-profile administration officials, from Biden on down, between television networks large and small.
Over the course of her time in the White House, Saez served as the administration point person for more than 2,7000 interviews with administration officials as Biden sought to address Covid-19, the economic recovery and several major legislative efforts.
“Mariel has been an invaluable member of our team, and her strategic advice and counsel, close relationships with the networks, hard work, and dedication served the President, the Vice President and the entire Biden-Harris Administration so well,” said Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director. “She is a tremendous talent and an incomparable teammate, and we will miss her dearly.”