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Trump shakes up transition team, elevates Pence’s role


    Vice President-elect Mike Pence posed for photos after speaking at a Veterans Day ceremony at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, Ind., today.

WASHINGTON >> President-elect Donald Trump is shaking up his transition team as he plunges into the work of setting up his administration, elevating Vice President-elect Mike Pence to head the operations. It amounts to a demotion for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who had been running Trump’s transition planning for months.

On the heels of Trump’s upset victory this week, the Republican’s team has been scrambling to identify people for top White House jobs and Cabinet posts. It’s an enormous undertaking that must be well in hand by the time Trump is inaugurated on Jan. 20.

In a statement Friday, Trump said Pence would “build on the initial work” done by Christie.

“Together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding this nation — specifically jobs, security and opportunity,” Trump said.

Christie was a loyal adviser to Trump for much of the campaign and came close to being the businessman’s pick for running mate. But Trump ultimately went with Indiana Gov. Pence, a former congressman with Washington experience and deep ties to conservatives.

Christie will still be involved in the transition, joining a cluster of other steadfast Trump supporters serving as vice chairs: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

For Trump, who ran on a pledge to “drain the swamp” of Washington insiders, the team is strikingly heavy on those with long political resumes.

In addition, three of Trump’s adult children — Don. Jr., Eric and Ivanka — are on the transition executive committee, along with Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband. Kushner played a significant role in Trump’s campaign and was spotted at the White House Thursday meeting with President Barack Obama’s chief of staff.

Pence said the transition staff is made up of the right people to “bring about fundamental change in Washington.”

After ending his own failed campaign for president, Christie emerged as one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters. He nearly became Trump’s running mate but was edged out by Pence.

Trump and Christie grew apart through the last stretch of the campaign. The governor became increasingly frustrated that Trump wouldn’t listen to his advice, particularly over the response to the release of a 1995 video in which the businessman is heard making predatory comments about women.

Christie is also facing calls for impeachment in New Jersey following the conviction of two former aides in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial. Christie has denied any knowledge of the lane closures until weeks or months after they occurred in September 2013.

The governor was notably absent from the steady stream of advisers entering Trump’s eponymous skyscraper in New York for meetings Friday. Among the first decisions facing the president-elect is whom to choose as chief of staff, a key post that will set the tone for Trump’s White House and be a key conduit to Capitol Hill and Cabinet agencies.

Trump is said to be considering Steve Bannon, his campaign chairman and a conservative media executive, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for the role. Neither has significant policy experience, though Priebus is well-liked in Washington and has deep ties with key lawmakers.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, is also said to be in the mix for a senior job. Conway is a veteran Republican pollster who formed a strong rapport with the candidate after taking the helm of his campaign in the general election.

While Trump has long led a large business, the scope of the federal government exceeds any of his previous endeavors. Those around Trump, who is known as a hands-on executive, say he’ll likely have to make adjustments in his leadership style and decision-making, including more delegating.

Trump has chafed at that a bit, but he has signaled willingness to relinquish some but not all, personal control. He also seems reluctant to expand his core group of aides beyond the inner circle with whom he feels comfortable.


AP writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.


Follow Julie Pace at and Jonathan Lemire at

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    • note to baghdad boots: your female felon lost. the election is over.

      intelligent americans have rejected the massive corruption, openness to bribery, hate filled rhetoric, pandering to class warfare and the sociopathic narcissistic condescending attitude of the female felon, democrats and obama administration.

      trump is president.

      • With two thumbs on the scale, one belonging to Russian autocrat Putin and one Mr. James Comey, compromising the bureau’s long history of political impartiality.

        In America, you are innocent until proven guilty. She is not corrupt, but Trump definitely is. She is not a felon, but your fella has a trial coming up in November for defrauding the students at Trump U, then a trial in December for raping a 13 year old girl repeatedly. And if you want to talk about sociopathic narcissism, wow.

        Trump voters just handed the most powerful military in the history of the world to a completely unprepared person with no understanding, who hasn’t read a book in his adult life other than Mein Kampf. It is coming in handy.

        • again, a felon is one who commits a felony. the female felon has committed hundreds of felonies in the mishandling of classified information.

          innocence until proven guilty is a special circumstance observed only in a court of law in which only the evidence provided in the court is considered for determining guilt. it is a standard that is not required in the real world. if someone punches you in the mouth, you know he is guilty of assaulting you. you are not required to consider that person innocent.

        • A felon is one who commits a felony and is convicted in a court of law. Not by a gallery of monkeys. Scratch Trump locking her up. Not going to happen.

        • look it up in a law dictionary or webster’s.

          commit a felony, you are a felon. convicted of a felony, you are a convicted felony.

          the female felon may be wearing orange soon unless obama pardons her.

          trump will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any felony committed for mishandling classified information or for her money laundering operation or for receiving bribes in exchange for government contracts or influence.

  • Pence said: “the urgent task of rebuilding this nation — specifically jobs, security and opportunity,” ….yea cause right now the country is apparently in some sort of shambles and rubble…NOT! And jobs?! Lowest unemployment in a long long time. Less than half of what it was when Obama took office. And security and opportunity – all looking pretty good. But good luck making what is already a great country somehow greater by dismanteling and destroying the institutions that make it great and instigate the dissolution of basic civil decency people have relied upon to live together in relative peace and harmony in this nation for over 200 years.

    • Unemployment may be low but there is no way that Trump could have won if the general public were happy/satisfied with the economy. Also, if you believe that our government is so great that we need to keep all of it then you and the Democrats deserve to be surprised that HRC lost. The Democratic Party clearly underestimated the discontent people have with government. I didn’t support nor vote for Trump but I’m absolutely happy that HRC, a corrupt career politician with a history of lies and a desire to move this country even more towards the left, didn’t win.

  • If he’s going to employ his 3 kids, who’s watching the Trump brand? Can they work government then work private at the same time? I think he has to watch out for all those powerful republicans he called clowns and punks. And also insulted their wives. I suspect the knives will come from republicans. This will be fun.

  • “On the heels of Trumps upset Victory this week”.”Upset Victory?” Give me a break…… The MSM has been saying that Hillary was going to win in a landslide!
    If you were paying attention to some of the polls Trump was ahead,but then again Hillary would gain the Lead again,but by the margin of error it was pretty much close for both candidates. To say Hillary was the clear winner from the get go and that this was an upset? is ludicrous!

    First mistake Democrat Liberals made,was listening to the MSM talking points,but the biggest mistake of all? Was believing in their “Over sampling” polls! You guys fell for it Hook line and sinker. I say Suck it up or take your marbles and play some where else.
    Hey Boots I thought you were going to move to Australia or was it New Zealand if Donald Trump won? Or was it ,just like the Hollywood celebrities “All Talk and No Action”.

  • Smart move on Trump’s part to cut Chris Christie loose. Christie is an unsavory character who may still end up being indicted for his role in Bridgegate.
    Trump would be wise also to keep to his very closest and trusted inner circle. The globalists, Washington elites and power brokers will attempt to get Trump to appoint
    people who they control to sabotage Trump from the inside as they did to Ronald Regan in his second term. After they have positioned themselves in the Trump Administration
    they will possibly make an attempt to eliminate Trump.
    Trump would be wise to maintain his own personal security with his most trusted people rather than solely relying and trusting the Secret Service whose record in being able to
    protect the President has not been all that good. Some believe that the Secret Service stood down prior to the shootings of President John Kennedy and President Ronald Reagan.
    Although the Secret Service may be adequate to deal with a lone assassin, they will not be able to deal with a planned and organized “hit” on Trump where the fix
    was set up from the inside.
    Trump has won the presidency but this just the beginning of the war yet to come. If he gives in and is persuaded to appoint people who are part of the Washington power elite
    and Globalist groups, he will definitely lose the war and possibly his life.

  • every news media including all the t.v. so called experts talk show host how what made trump and pence win even commenters well all there ideas of how they won are wrong this is how trump and pence won. forget all the scandal’s on both sides and hear me. it came out that in 2012 15 million blacks voters came out and voted for Obama, in 2016 only 14 million voted for Hillary almost 1 million black voters did not vote. and I will tell you why. remember about maybe 20 years ago farakahn and his million man march that were behind him are the ones who did not vote because farakahn was a very close to kadaphfi maybe I am spelling them wrong but you know who I mean well Hillary who was the SS under Obama both of them celebrated the hanging of kadaphfi and farakahn was very mad what they did to him and Libya, so 2 weeks ago he said he would not back Hillary and he did not like trump, so those almost 1 million farakahn backers did not vote for the person who was behind the death of kadaphfi which was Hillary, if they had, voted Hillary would have been president, so she’s got no one to blame but herself for losing the presidency because what she did to kadaphfi. and that’s the reason why trump and pence won. no one in any t.v. or news media mentioned this, that’s why I am right and there all wrong of why she lost. end of story.

    • America was always great until these last 8 years under this demon in the white house, are greatness went down with all that division going on between black and white, which Obama caused and the female felon would keep it going. so yes we have to make America great again that’s why I agree with trump and pence make America great again so your statement has no merit.

  • My wife and I were just talking and we decided that the best Trump joke of all would be that if he turned out to be a wonderful President. It could happen and I wouldn’t disagree.

    • One of the most surprising things was when hiLIARy appeared to give her concession speech the Wall Street Traders BOOED her & during her speech as well..WOW!

  • Trump’s son-in-law, Kushner, is seeking revenge against Christie; his father was prosecuted convicted and jailed for tax evasion, illegal campaign donations and witness tampering by Christie during his time as a U.S. attorney.

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