Trump names Priebus and Bannon top White House aides

WASHINGTON, U.S. - President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday rewarded Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for successfully building the RNC after comprehensive losses in the ...


• Priebus rewarded for successfully building the RNC after losses in the previous two elections

• Priebus appointed the next chief of staff at the White House

• Trump's decision to appoint Bannon has drawn criticism from political strategists

WASHINGTON, U.S. - President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday rewarded Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for successfully building the RNC after comprehensive losses in the previous two elections, making him the next chief of staff at the White House.

He also tapped Stephen K. Bannon as his senior counselor and political strategist.

His decision to appoint Bannon has drawn criticism from political strategists who see in Bannon a controversial figure too closely associated with the “alt-right” movement, which white nationalists have embraced.

Bannon, who was the executive chairman of Breitbart News before joining the Trump campaign in August, will assume a similar role to longtime strategist John Podesta under President Obama.

By picking Bannon, the president-elect has made it clear he has no intention of abandoning his brash, outsider instincts as he puts together his new government. 

Bannon, who many credit with righting the businessman’s campaign, while others accuse of amplifying a bigoted fringe, would have a plum position in the West Wing.

Unlike Bannon, Priebus, a Washington insider, is viewed as broadly acceptable by vast swaths of the party; he has signaled a willingness to work within the establishment he assailed on the campaign trail.

The two appointments of his top advisors signal an aggressive agenda for the Trump administration, setting up what could be a battle within the White House between the populist, outsider forces that propelled his winning campaign and the party establishment that dominates Washington.

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

“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.”

In thanking Trump for the appointment, Priebus said he would strive to "create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism."

The new White House chief of staff is a close ally of a frequent Trump critic, House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Bannon, who joined Trump's team in August, 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.”

Following the announcement, Congressional Republicans and party strategists cheered reports that the president-elect had chosen the bridge-building Republican Reince Priebus over Steve Bannon of Breitbart News to serve as his chief of staff. 

Democrats and some ‘Never Trump’ Republicans seized on the Bannon news, quickly digging through Breitbart’s archives to decry the “normalization” of bigotry in the White House. Other Republicans decided to just ignore half of the announcement.

House Speaker Paul Ryan for example, tweeted that he was “proud and excited for my friend @Reince.” He said nothing about Bannon. 

 

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