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Priebus to be Trump’s Chief of Staff


REUTERS

Priebus to be Trump’s Chief of Staff

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WASHINGTON – President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday picked 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 Priebus, a loyal campaign ally to Trump who has close ties with 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 front-runner for the job had been Stephen Bannon, Trump’s campaign chairman and former head of the conservative Breitbart News. Trump named Bannon as his chief strategist and senior counsellor.

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.

“I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country,” 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 succeed Democratic President Barack Obama on January 20, has been contemplating the candidates for top jobs in the White House and in various Cabinet positions since Tuesday’s election win over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The selection of Priebus as chief of staff could anger some hardline Trump supporters who were counting on Trump to keep his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” of business-as-usual Washington insiders.

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

Priebus is a longtime Wisconsin political operative who was credited with marshalling party resources for Trump’s White House bid. The Republican National Committee stepped in and ran most of the party’s get-out-the-vote effort this year in the absence of such an operation by the Trump campaign.

He frequently travelled with Trump on the campaign trail and was seen as a positive force who helped rein in the unpredictable Trump in the closing weeks. Trump made his high regard for Priebus known on election night when he pulled him to the microphone to take a bow for his campaign efforts. (Reuters)

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