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Alex Brandon / AP

Keith Schiller was never just a bodyguard. He's worked for Trump since 1999 and in nearly 20 years has become one of a handful of people outside of Trump's immediate family that the president truly trusts.

Now he's leaving the White House, and Trump's friends worry about the effect Schiller's absence will have on the president's psyche. Trump believes Schiller "tells him the truth because the only dog he has in the fight is the boss," a friend told Axios. Trump confides in Schiller and asks his advice about everything, including policy.

Schiller, a former NYPD officer who is beloved by the original staff from the Trump campaign, is also a Breitbart-style conservative who kept Trump in touch with the Republican base and with the law enforcement community.

"He's a winger! He's one of us," said another friend of Schiller's.

  • For the past eight months, Schiller has been the conduit linking Trump to his old life, and old friends, in New York City.
  • In the early, freewheeling days of this administration, Trump's old contacts had a method for getting around the Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus: If they wanted to reach Trump, they'd text Keith, and before too long they'd often receive a call from the president.
  • As Director of Oval Office Operations, Schiller oversaw what some aides regarded as a "shitshow." Nowadays, General Kelly tightly polices, and lists, who can visit the Oval; but Schiller operated more or less by gut instinct. He had a feeling for what Trump wanted at any given moment, whether the boss would want to see this person or whether he was in the right mood for visitors.

Schiller has talked to associates about leaving for a while. He'll make more money on the outside, and under the Kelly regime, and with so many people by his side these days, Trump has less use for Schiller, operationally. Emotionally... that's a different story.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Silver medalist Lilly King of Team USA (left) embraces gold medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker of Team South Africa on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's 200m breaststroke final on July 30. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

🥇 : U.S. gymnast Suni Lee wins gold in the women's individual all-around

🚣‍♀️: Team USA women's eight rowing fails to reach the podium

🤸🏾‍♀️: Simone Biles reacts to "love and support" after withdrawing from all-around gymnastics and team finals, citing her mental health

🏊: Olympic swimmer Ryan Murphy wins Silver in 200m

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

🗓: The Olympic events to watch today

🏃‍: Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Former Michigan Sen. Carl Levin dies at 87

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) in 2014. He died Thursday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) died Thursday, his family and the Levin Center at Wayne Law — which bore his name — confirmed. He was 87.

Why it matters: The Detroit native served for 36 years in the U.S. Senate, serving twice as chairman of the Armed Services Committee and is credited with helping overturn the military's “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Military members will be included in Biden's new COVID guidance

Joe Biden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Members of the military will be required to get vaccinations or face regular testing, social distancing, mask mandates and restrictions on travel for work, the the Pentagon said on Thursday evening.

Why it matters: The policy was announced for federal workers and onsite contractors earlier on Thursday, part of several new Biden initiatives to get more Americans vaccinated and slow the spread of the Delta variant.

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