Trump tabs GOP head Priebus his chief of staff

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Lau­rie Kell­man

WASH­ING­TON >> Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump named Repub­li­can Party chief Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and con­ser­va­tive me­dia owner Stephen Ban­non as his top pres­i­den­tial strate­gist, two men who rep­re­sent op­po­site ends of the un­set­tled GOP.

In bring­ing Priebus and Ban­non into the White House, Trump is mak­ing over­tures to both tra­di­tional Repub­li­can cir­cles and the party’s anti-estab­lish­ment wing, which helped fuel the busi­ness­man’s po­lit­i­cal rise.

Priebus has deep ties to GOP con­gres­sional lead­ers, par­tic­u­larly House Speaker Paul Ryan. Ban­non pre­vi­ously ran the Bre­it­bart web­site, which was fiercely

crit­i­cal of Repub­li­can lead­er­ship, in­clud­ing Ryan.

Ban­non was notably given top billing in the press re­lease an­nounc­ing the ap­point­ments, a cu­ri­ous ar­range­ment giv­ing that White House chief of staff is typ­i­cally con­sid­ered the most pow­er­ful West Wing job.

Un­der Ban­non’s ten­ure, the Bri­et­bart site pushed a na­tion­al­ist, anti-estab­lish­ment agenda and be­came one of the lead­ing out­lets of the so-called alt-right — a move­ment of­ten as­so­ci­ated with white supremacy and a de­fense of “Western val­ues.”

Nei­ther Priebus nor Ban­non bring sig­nif­i­cant pol­icy ex­pe­ri­ence to their new White House roles. Chiefs

of staff in par­tic­u­lar play a sig­nif­i­cant role in pol­icy mak­ing, serv­ing as a li­ai­son to Cabi­net agencies and de­cid­ing what in­for­ma­tion makes it to the pres­i­dent’s desk. They’re of­ten one of the last peo­ple in the room with the pres­i­dent as ma­jor de­ci­sions are made.

To­gether with Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence, the tri­umvi­rate will lead Trump’s tran­si­tion to the White House and help guide his pres­i­dency, Trump said in a state­ment.

“I am thrilled to have my very successful team con­tinue with me in lead­ing our coun­try,” Trump said. He called Priebus and Ban­non “highly qual­i­fied lead­ers who worked well to­gether on our cam­paign and led us to a his­toric vic­tory.

Priebus called the ap­point­ment “an honor” and pre­dicted the bil­lion­aire

“will be a great pres­i­dent for all Amer­i­cans.”

The ap­point­ments came after a day in which Trump’s tough-talk­ing plan to rein in il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion showed signs Sun­day of crack­ing, with the pres­i­dent-elect back­ing off his vow to build a solid wall along the south­ern U.S. bor­der and Ryan re­ject­ing any “de­por­ta­tion force” tar­get­ing peo­ple liv­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally.

After Trump told CBS’ “60 Min­utes” that his bor­der wall might look more like a fence in spots, the com­bat­ive bil­lion­aire took to Twit­ter to set­tle some scores.

Dur­ing a four-hour spree, Trump sav­aged the New York Times and gloated about the GOP stal­warts lin­ing up to con­grat­u­late him, brag­ging that staunch crit­ics and GOP ri­vals John Ka­sich,

Mitt Rom­ney and Jeb Bush had sent at­taboys. For­mer pres­i­dents Ge­orge W. and Ge­orge H.W. Bush also had sent their “best wishes on the win. Very nice!” The New York Times, Trump wrote to his 14 mil­lion fol­low­ers, is “dis­hon­est” and “highly in­ac­cu­rate.”

As Trump re­vengetweeted, threats flew be­tween power bro­kers, and protests across the coun­try con­tin­ued.

The pres­i­dent-elect re­treated from the cam­paign prom­ise that had in­spired his sup­port­ers to chant “Build the wall!” at Trump’s mas­sive cam­paign ral­lies.

Would he ac­cept a fence in some spots on the bor­der? In an in­ter­view to be aired Sun­day, Trump told “60 Min­utes”: “For cer­tain ar­eas, I would, but cer­tain ar­eas, a wall is more ap­pro­pri­ate. There could be some fenc­ing.”

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