Trump picks Washington insider Reince Priebus as chief of staff

Move signals president-elect’s willingness to work with Congress to get agenda passed

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, the favourite of the party's establishment and a low-key Washington insider, to serve in the influential position of White House chief of staff.

The choice of Mr Priebus, a loyal campaign ally to Mr Trump who has close ties to House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan, signalled a willingness to work with Ryan and the Republican-led Congress to get his agenda passed.

The other frontrunner for the job had been Stephen Bannon, Mr Trump's campaign chairman and former head of the conservative Breitbart News. Mr Trump named Mr Bannon as his chief strategist and senior counsellor.

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


Trump, who will take office on January 20th and will succeed Democratic president Barack Obama, has been working on his transition to the White House since Tuesday's election win over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The chief of staff position, which serves as a gatekeeper and agenda-setter for the president, is typically one of the most important early choices for an incoming president.

The choice of Priebus could anger some Trump supporters counting on him, as he said during the campaign, to “drain the swamp” of business-as-usual Washington insiders.

Trump and his advisers already have signalled he may hedge on some of his major campaign promises, including on immigration, healthcare and appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton.