I’ve written before about the high-flying career of Providence native and La Salle Academy graduate Tom Donilon, who’s been called one of President Obama’s “two most influential foreign-policy advisers.”
But Tom isn’t the only member of the Donilon family with some powerful connections. His brother Mike is a longtime adviser to Vice President Biden who was a “quiet but indispensable” part of the Obama-Biden campaign last year. And his brother Terry is the chief spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, whose leader, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, is generating a lot of buzz as an actual contender to succeed Pope Benedict XVI as the next Bishop of Rome.
That possibility was intriguing enough that Washington Post correspondent Jason Horowitz filed a dispatch in today’s paper straight from Vatican City discussing it with Terry, who’s in Rome with Cardinal O’Malley:
One Donilon brother “working for the most powerful man on the planet and the other one could work for the most powerful religious leader on the planet?” mused Terry on Saturday, dressed in blue baseball cap and polo shirt in a café by the Vatican. “Yeah, that’s kind of an interesting storyline.” …
And while reports have emerged that Tom Donilon is expected to step down this year (“I’m still fully engaged,” he said), there is also a third Donilon brother, Michael. A longtime political aide to Vice President Biden, he would probably play a major role in a Biden 2016 presidential bid. (The brothers also have a sister, Donna, a nurse who is widely considered a saint.) …
The Donilon children grew up in a solidly Irish section of Providence, R.I., where St. Michael’s Parish acted as a center of gravity. Faith, Terry said, was the “fabric of who we were.” He and his brothers served as altar boys, and the family lived in a Dutch Colonial home where they all learned instruments: Donna and Tom the piano, Mike the guitar.
The article goes on to discuss Terry Donilon’s pre-O’Malley work with former Providence Mayor Joe Paolino, former Gov. Bruce Sundlun and former Congressman Bob Weygand – as well as the fact that he and O’Malley bonded during his job interview over, of all people, Buddy Cianci.
One question the Post story doesn’t answer – was Terry behind the masterstroke of having O’Malley and his fellow American cardinals hold daily press briefings, which proved to be extremely popular before they were reportedly quashed by the Roman Curia?