Marc Short — a new Miller Center senior fellow and President Donald Trump’s former legislative affairs director — will be paid $48,000 for his one-year commitment to the Center, according to a letter outlining the details of his appointment. Short’s hiring has come under criticism in recent weeks, with two history professors from their Miller Center positions in protest and over 3,700 people signing an discouraging the Center from hiring Short.
The letter to Short from Miller Center CEO William Antholis, dated July 13, confirms Short’s appointment as a senior fellow at the Miller Center and describes his responsibilities in the position. The letter, obtained by The Cavalier Daily in an open records request, closes with the signatures of both Antholis and Short.
In his position, the letter states that Short will be expected to speak about the American presidency and identify himself by his senior fellow title in publications and speaker biographies.
Short is serving among roughly a dozen senior fellows at the Center that include both faculty senior fellows from the University and practitioner senior fellows who previously held positions in government. While the Miller Center as an organization is nonpartisan, its senior fellows represent a wide range of political beliefs, Howard Witt, director of communications at the Miller Center, told The Cavalier Daily.
“It’s filled with all kinds of different experts who study the presidency, each of whom has their own individual political beliefs,” Witt said. “Some of them choose to express those beliefs, some of them are very liberal, some of them are very conservative.”
The letter further states that Short is expected to “help the Center think about how to conduct an Oral History of the Trump administration.” Short will also assist in planning and participating in a November event on “Navigating Gridlock: Presidency, Congress, and Political Polarization,” with a focus on bringing in “GOP member of Congress and conservative thinkers” for the event.
“[Short] obviously represents a very conservative viewpoint and the reason we appointed him is because he can give us a lot of insight into the current administration, the Trump administration, which has been very difficult for us and other scholars and journalists to understand,” Witt said.
Critics of the Center’s decision to hire Short argue his ties to the Trump administration contradict the values of the University.
“The university should not serve as a waystation for high-level members of an administration that has directly harmed our community and to this day attacks the institutions vital to a free society — the very thing that the University of Virginia, as an institution of higher education, is meant to protect,” the petition reads.
According to the letter detailing his appointment, Short will also meet with Miller Center donors and “think strategically” about fundraising.
In addition to his $48,000 salary, he will receive $2,000 for travel expenses. Antholis also offered Short the ability to use the Miller Center’s website to publish editorials, so long as he uses his “best discretion to live up to our mission of non-partisan problem solving.” Antholis also wrote that Short can use the Center’s digital media networks to amplify and share his work, and use the Center’s resources for events, digital media and remote media interviews.
“Having Marc Short do op-eds and make TV appearances is completely consistent with what we have our senior fellows do, what we want them to do,” Witt said. “That’s part of why we bring these folks together, is we expect them to be advocates for their side.”
Short left the White House on July 20 and began at the Miller Center Aug. 1.