Priebus, Ban­non named to se­nior White House roles

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OBITUARIES - By Lau­rie Kell­man

WASH­ING­TON >> Pres­i­den­t­elect 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 re­venge-tweeted, 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.”

Ex­cerpts of the in­ter­view were re­leased in ad­vance.

Trump also had vowed to im­me­di­ately de­port all 11 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally. But in the in­ter­view, he said he’s fo­cus­ing first on oust­ing or incarcerating 2 mil­lion to 3 mil­lion “that are crim­i­nals and have crim­i­nal records, gang mem­bers, drug deal­ers.” Trump em­pha­sized that se­cur­ing the bor­der is his very first im­mi­gra­tion pri­or­ity.

On that, Ryan agreed. But on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Ryan re­jected the kind of “mass de­por­ta­tions” Trump had cham­pi­oned dur­ing the cam­paign.

“We are not plan­ning on erect­ing a de­por­ta­tion force,” Ryan said.

More ten­sion emerged Sun­day when Trump’s cam­paign man­ager, Kellyanne Con­way, said Se­nate Demo­cratic Leader Harry Reid should be care­ful in a “le­gal sense” about char­ac­ter­iz­ing Trump as a sex­ual preda­tor. When asked whether Trump was threat­en­ing to sue Reid, Con­way said no.

But Adam Jentle­son, Reid’s deputy chief of staff, said Trump is “hid­ing be­hind his Twit­ter ac­count and send­ing his staff on TV to threaten his crit­ics.”


Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, left, stands with Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­man Reince Priebus dur­ing an elec­tion night rally early Wed­nes­day in New York. Trump on Sun­day named Priebus as his White House chief of staff.

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