|Director of Oval Office Operations|
January 20, 2017 – September 20, 2017
|Preceded by||Brian Mosteller|
|Born||1959 (age 58–59)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Keith Schiller (born c. 1959) is a former Deputy Assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump who concurrently served as Director of Oval Office Operations. Prior to his appointment in the Trump administration, Schiller served as the Director of Security for The Trump Organization; in this capacity, he was the personal bodyguard to Trump. He has been described as "one of Trump's most loyal and trusted aides" and "a constant presence at Trump's side for nearly two decades."
Born in the Bronx, the middle child of five, Schiller spent the first 18 years of his life in New York's Hudson Valley, attending New Paltz High School and graduating in 1977. He was not a good student, but he was an accomplished athlete, according to John Ford, his high school football coach; he played defensive end in football and power forward in basketball, showing promise in both.
Schiller joined the United States Navy immediately after finishing high school. He served primarily at the Little Creek base in Norfolk, Virginia, and also spent time on the USS Plymouth Rock, a landing ship for amphibious vehicles. After serving as SWCC, he left active duty in 1982 and spent another two years in the reserve, serving until 1984.
After leaving the Navy in 1984, Schiller returned to New York. That same year, he found work as a counselor in the New York State Division for Youth (after volunteering as a counselor through his church) and concurrently served as a police officer at the Plattekill Police Department, holding these two jobs until 1992.
In 1992, Schiller was hired by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). He graduated from the New York City Police Academy, and served as a patrol officer in northern Manhattan, at that time the epicenter of the cocaine trade. After a brief stint as an undercover officer, Schiller then joined the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit, where he was the rammer (charged with breaking the door during raids), describing his job as "busting into drug houses up to three times a night". Schiller also spent time in the high-intensity drug-trafficking area, where he worked under then-Lieutenant David E. Chong, who describes Schiller as a "devoted, physical and loyal officer" who "always had his boss's back". Schiller regularly handled wiretaps, search warrants and large-scale seizures of drugs.
In 1999, Schiller saw Marla Maples, Donald Trump's then-wife, at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, accompanied by a bodyguard, whom Schiller judged as not being particularly imposing. Seeking side work to supplement his NYPD salary, Schiller asked the Assistant District Attorney to put in a good word with Trump, so that he could be employed as a bodyguard. The Trump Organization eventually brought him on for a one-month trial and later that year hired him officially. Schiller remained a part-time bodyguard until he retired from the NYPD in 2002. In 2004, Trump named him his Director of Security.
He was appointed Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Oval Office Operations after Trump assumed the office of the President in January 2017. In this role, he accompanied Jared Kushner to Iraq and sat in on meetings.
Schiller was selected by Trump to personally deliver to FBI headquarters the letter telling FBI director James Comey that he was being dismissed "effective immediately"; Comey was not present at the time, learning of his firing from television while in Los Angeles.
The following week, Schiller unintentionally exposed Secretary of Defense James Mattis' cell phone number when a photograph of Schiller carrying papers with the hand-written number on a sticky note was published in The Washington Post.
On September 1, 2017, it was reported by CNN that Schiller intended to leave his White House position in late September or early October due to financial considerations. Although White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed the story as "not true", the next day, CBS News correspondent Major Garrett cited "two White House sources" as confirming that Schiller indeed plans to leave the White House and relocate to Florida for financial and professional reasons. Three people close to Schiller, speaking on background, also confirmed reports of his impending departure to The New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman. Schiller refused to comment on the accuracy of the report, in keeping with his policy of virtually never giving interviews to journalists.
Schiller left his White House position on September 20, 2017, reportedly after White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly told him he needed permission to speak to the president and to provide written reports of those conversations. Previously, Bloomberg had reported that Schiller would return to private security when he left the Trump Administration.
On November 1, 2017, Schiller was named as one of several high-profile witnesses to be privately interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia investigations. The interview took place on November 7, where he reportedly told the committee that the salacious allegations in the Donald Trump-Russia dossier were not true, and that he could not recall or was not aware of connections between Russia and Trump associates. He also testified that a Russian offered to send five women to Trump's hotel room during their 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant but he rejected the offer. "One source noted that Schiller testified he eventually left Trump's hotel room door and could not say for sure what happened during the remainder of the night."
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