Donald Trump appoints insider as chief of staff

Appointment of Ryan ally likely to be welcomed by Republicans in Congress

US president-elect Donald Trump made the first senior appointments of his administration on Sunday, naming Reince Priebus (left) as his chief of staff and Steve Bannon (right) as his chief strategist and senior counsellor. File photographs: AFP/Getty Images

US president-elect Donald Trump made the first senior appointments of his administration on Sunday, naming Reince Priebus (left) as his chief of staff and Steve Bannon (right) as his chief strategist and senior counsellor. File photographs: AFP/Getty Images

 

US President-elect Donald Trump made the first senior appointments of his administration on Sunday, naming Reince Priebus as his chief of staff and Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and senior counsellor.

Mr Priebus, the chair of the Republican National Committee, is a long-time Washington insider with close relationships in the wider Republican leadership. He is an ally of House speaker Paul Ryan, and his steadying influence will be welcomed by Republicans on Capitol Hill.

The combative Mr Bannon, who led Mr Trump’s campaign in the final months, although overlooked for the chief of staff position, will be a highly influential presence in the Trump White House. The press release announcing the two appointments gave Mr Bannon precedence and described the pair as “equal partners”.

“I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country,” Mr Trump said in the statement.

“Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory. Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again.”

Mr Bannon said: “We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda.”

Mr Priebus said the new administration’s priorities were “to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism”.

Mr Trump is expected to announce further appointees to his administration in the coming days as he begins the process of filling 4,000 political vacancies in the federal government.

Federal bureaucrats

His transition team includes former federal bureaucrats, think-tank academics, lawyers and lobbyists, as well as four members of the president-elect’s family.

“These are people who are talented and who have done this before,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told Fox News, defending the transition-team selections.

“You can’t just appoint novices. You have to have people who know what they’re doing.” She insisted the administration would be one “for the forgotten man and the forgotten woman”.

Mr Trump has pledged to hand over control of his business interests to a blind trust run by his family. But the prominence of his children, Ivanka, Donald jnr and Eric, as well as Ms Trump’s husband, Jared Jushner, on the executive council of the transition committee has raised questions about a conflict of interest. Mr Giuliani defended the move, saying it would be “unrealistic” to remove the Trump children from their positions in the business empire.