Establishment figure, firebrand named to key posts
WASHINGTON: President-elect Donald Trump was weighing contenders for other top jobs in his administration after choosing Washington insider Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and firebrand outsider Stephen Bannon as senior counsellor.
Less than a week after his upset win over Democrat Hillary Clinton in last Tuesday’s presidential election, Trump’s choice yesterday of Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman and friend of House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan, could help him repair his strained relations with members of the Republican Party establishment.
But Trump also named Bannon, the combative former head of the right-wing website Breitbart News, as his strategist and senior counsellor.
The statement said Bannon and Priebus would be “working as equal partners to transform the federal government”.
The choice of each man could anger a segment of Trump’s supporters.
Hardline Trump backers who were counting on Trump to keep his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” of businessas-usual Washington insiders may be disappointed he has named Priebus to the chief of staff position, which serves as a gatekeeper and agenda-setter for the president.
More traditional Republicans may be wary of the pick of rabble-rouser Bannon for a top White House job.
Trump, in a statement, said Bannon and Priebus were both “highly qualified leaders” who helped him win the election.
Democrats sharply criticised Bannon’s appointment.
Representative Adam Schiff tweeted: “Selection of Steve Bannon for senior WH role unsurprising but alarming. His altright, anti-Semitic & misogynistic views don’t belong in WH.” – Reuters
Priebus (left) and Bannon.