Trump ex­pands in­ner cir­cle with se­cu­rity of­fi­cial, en­voy

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida: Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump tapped an ex­pe­ri­enced hand from the Ge­orge W Bush era and a long­time Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion of­fi­cial to be­come mem­bers of his in­ner cir­cle when he as­sumes of­fice next month. Thomas Bossert will be­come an as­sis­tant to the pres­i­dent for home­land se­cu­rity and coun­tert­er­ror­ism. A state­ment from Trump’s tran­si­tion team said Bossert will ad­vise the pres­i­dent on is­sues re­lated to home­land se­cu­rity, coun­tert­er­ror­ism and cy­ber­se­cu­rity, and co­or­di­nate the Cab­i­net’s process for mak­ing and ex­e­cut­ing pol­icy in those ar­eas.

The pres­i­dent-elect also ap­pointed one of his main ad­vis­ers on US-Is­rael re­la­tions dur­ing the cam­paign and tran­si­tion as spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive for in­ter­na­tional ne­go­ti­a­tions. Ja­son Green­blatt has worked for the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion for over two decades and cur­rently serves as its ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and chief le­gal of­fi­cer. The home­land se­cu­rity po­si­tion no­tably “is be­ing el­e­vated and re­stored to its in­de­pen­dent sta­tus along­side the na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser”, the state­ment said. Pol­i­cy­mak­ers have long de­bated whether such na­tional se­cu­rity jobs should op­er­ate in­de­pen­dently from the White House.

Bossert will work closely with Trump’s pick for na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, re­tired Lt Gen Michael Flynn. Bossert is cur­rently pres­i­dent of the risk man­age­ment con­sult­ing firm CDS Con­sult­ing. He pre­vi­ously served as deputy as­sis­tant to the pres­i­dent for home­land se­cu­rity un­der Bush. Don­ald Trump’s West Wing is shap­ing up to have mul­ti­ple power cen­ters. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and se­nior ad­viser Steve Ban­non will work as “equal part­ners”, ac­cord­ing to Trump, and coun­selor Kellyanne Con­way is also ex­pected to have au­ton­omy. Trump’s in­flu­en­tial son-in-law, Jared Kush­ner, will have a direct line to the pres­i­dent as well.

Ri­val­ries

Trump has long stoked ri­val­ries among his staff in busi­ness and dur­ing his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. But some crit­ics fear do­ing so in the White House could sow con­fu­sion and slow de­ci­sion-mak­ing. Dis­cussing the ap­point­ment of Green­blatt, Trump said he “has a his­tory of ne­go­ti­at­ing sub­stan­tial, com­plex trans­ac­tions on my be­half,” and has the ex­per­tise to “bring par­ties to­gether and build con­sen­sus on dif­fi­cult and sen­si­tive top­ics.”

Trump re­cently named his other top ad­viser on Is­rael, David Fried­man, as his pick for US am­bas­sador to Is­rael. The bil­lion­aire-turned-pres­i­dent-elect is spend­ing the hol­i­days at his Florida re­sort, where he’s held a steady stream of meet­ings with se­nior staffers, ad­vis­ers and busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives. A num­ber of key posts in his ad­min­is­tra­tion re­main; his tran­si­tion team says he will fill those po­si­tions in the com­ing days.

Mean­while the pres­i­dent-elect con­tin­ued the de­bate over whether he would have won an elec­tion against Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. Trump posted on Twit­ter Tues­day, “Pres­i­dent Obama cam­paigned hard (and per­son­ally) in very im­por­tant swing states, and lost. The vot­ers wanted to MAKE AMER­ICA GREAT AGAIN!” It wasn’t im­me­di­ately clear whether Trump was re­fer­ring to Obama’s own pres­i­den­tial runs, or the cam­paign­ing the pres­i­dent did in 2016 on Hil­lary Clin­ton’s be­half. Obama swept most key swing states in his two bids for the White House, but Clin­ton fell short, los­ing to Trump.

A dis­pute erupted a day ear­lier be­tween Obama and Trump, spurred by Obama’s hy­po­thet­i­cal mus­ings that had he run again, he would have been vic­to­ri­ous. Obama sug­gested he still holds enough sway over the coali­tion of vot­ers that elected him twice to get them to vote for him once again. Trump’s re­sponse: “NO WAY!”

Later Tues­day, Trump thanked him­self for a surge in a key gauge of con­sumer con­fi­dence. He wrote on Twit­ter that The Con­fer­ence Board had re­ported that its con­sumer con­fi­dence in­dex had climbed to 113.7 in De­cem­ber. Trump noted that’s the high­est the in­dex has climbed in more than 15 years, then added, “Thanks Don­ald!” —AP

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