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Trump names Priebus, Bannon to senior White House roles

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, speaks at a campaign rally for presidential candidate Donald Trump at Bayfront Park Amphitheater, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Miami.

WASHINGTON >> President-elect Donald Trump named Republican Party chief Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and conservative media owner Stephen Bannon as his top presidential strategist, two men who represent opposite ends of the unsettled GOP.

In bringing Priebus and Bannon into the White House, Trump is making overtures to both traditional Republican circles and the party’s anti-establishment wing, which helped fuel the businessman’s political rise.

Priebus has deep ties to GOP congressional leaders, particularly House Speaker Paul Ryan. Bannon previously ran the Breitbart website, which was fiercely critical of Republican leadership, including Ryan.

Bannon was notably given top billing in the press release announcing the appointments, a curious arrangement giving that White House chief of staff is typically considered the most powerful West Wing job.

Under Bannon’s tenure, the Brietbart site pushed a nationalist, anti-establishment agenda and became one of the leading outlets of the so-called alt-right — a movement often associated with white supremacy and a defense of “Western values.”

Neither Priebus nor Bannon bring significant policy experience to their new White House roles. Chiefs of staff in particular play a significant role in policy making, serving as a liaison to Cabinet agencies and deciding what information makes it to the president’s desk. They’re often one of the last people in the room with the president as major decisions are made.

Together with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the triumvirate will lead Trump’s transition to the White House and help guide his presidency, Trump said in a statement.

“I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country,” Trump said. He called Priebus and Bannon “highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory.

Priebus called the appointment “an honor” and predicted the billionaire “will be a great president for all Americans.”

The appointments came after a day in which Trump’s tough-talking plan to rein in illegal immigration showed signs Sunday of cracking, with the president-elect backing off his vow to build a solid wall along the southern U.S. border and Ryan rejecting any “deportation force” targeting people living in the country illegally.

After Trump told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that his border wall might look more like a fence in spots, the combative billionaire took to Twitter to settle some scores.

During a four-hour spree, Trump savaged the New York Times and gloated about the GOP stalwarts lining up to congratulate him, bragging that staunch critics and GOP rivals John Kasich, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush had sent attaboys. Former presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush also had sent their “best wishes on the win. Very nice!” The New York Times, Trump wrote to his 14 million followers, is “dishonest” and “highly inaccurate.”

As Trump revenge-tweeted, threats flew between power brokers, and protests across the country continued.

The president-elect retreated from the campaign promise that had inspired his supporters to chant “Build the wall!” at Trump’s massive campaign rallies.

Would he accept a fence in some spots on the border? In an interview to be aired Sunday, Trump told “60 Minutes”: “For certain areas, I would, but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. There could be some fencing.”

Excerpts of the interview were released in advance.

Trump also had vowed to immediately deport all 11 million people living in the country illegally. But in the interview, he said he’s focusing first on ousting or incarcerating 2 million to 3 million “that are criminals and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers.” Trump emphasized that securing the border is his very first immigration priority.

On that, Ryan agreed. But on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Ryan rejected the kind of “mass deportations” Trump had championed during the campaign.

“We are not planning on erecting a deportation force,” Ryan said.

More tension emerged Sunday when Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid should be careful in a “legal sense” about characterizing Trump as a sexual predator. When asked whether Trump was threatening to sue Reid, Conway said no.

But Adam Jentleson, Reid’s deputy chief of staff, said Trump is “hiding behind his Twitter account and sending his staff on TV to threaten his critics.”

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    • …but at least he was smart enough not to pick the Breitbart guy. It’s going to come as a big surprise to Congress that the new President is not really a Republican but rather, an Independent who ran under the Republican flag. He’s going to need a Chief of Staff who knows how to navigate Congress.

        • (You know, I was going to say something kind of mean but I thought better of it. It’s definitely time we were all less mean to each other. 🙂 )

        • There are two interpretations of what happened last Tuesday (and I don’t know which is true):

          1) Trump is an ldiot, and about 50% of voters are ldiots. And the next time some fat person in some other country says bad things about him, Trump will get up at 3 am and push the nuclear missile button.

          2) Trump is a unique genius who somehow knew how to push the right/wrong buttons to get himself elected against all odds. And he’ll magically drain the swamp, repeal Obamacare, build a wall, make Mexico pay for it, and make America great again.

          Let’s hope # 2 is correct. However, it already looks like he won’t fulfill the first four promises, so…. :0

      • Now with voting out of the way I can’t wait to see how dysfunctional the Republican Party will be. If they will band together or do some in-house fighting. Hope the Democrats unite and give them some of their own medicine and block a lot of their requests like how they did for Obama.

  • Okay selection but he will have to see whether Priebus can be trusted or will be a trojan horse seeking to impede Trump from the inside.
    Trumps success or failure as President will be totally dependent on who he surrounds himself with. While Priebus may hold the position of Chief of Staff,
    Trump will be wise to have some one else or a group of people as his close inside advisor(s). He should already know that he cannot trust either Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell
    and the other RINO’s who are part of the elite Washington cabal who are only out for themselves and in maintaining their power and positions.

    • IRT fiveo: Great point. The leaders (especially) of both parties often take the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” approach, with the goal of keeping both in power. We’ve had 8 years of a “Politburo” in Washington. It would be great if we can avoid another 8 years of executive orders.

      • What do you mean, “next 8 years”? He is not a shoo-in for his 2nd term? Odds not in his favor, the 2nd time around? He has several sons who will be watching his back-side for back stabbers.

        • True. I thought about that when I wrote it. If I said 4 then I can see someone saying why only 4?
          Concerning the odds, a few days before the election, Hillary was anywhere from and 8:1, to 4:1 favorite to win. It’s understandable, just look at the electoral map, all the major media are in Blue counties. Washington, DC voted 96$ Democratic. The media forgets that most of the country is “red”. If Hillary had won, that would be the end of the Republican Party, IMO. with the Dems, and especially Hillary’s, open border (get out the vote) policy. Fortunately, candidate Trump was not afraid to speak up, unlike Romney who was “above the fray”, and lost, while the current President criticized him and tore him apart with insults, and won. This time, the Dems met their match, and the public ignored the media’s crowning of Hillary.

        • I said it about 80 times before the election, and I’ll say it again: Trump is a salesman/promoter who knows how to sell an idea, get things going. But he has no CEO in him, is unable to actually run a company or country. See how he gave his campaign staff fits by getting off their game plan, alienating a new group every week?

          The ball’s in Donald’s court. What will he do with it???

        • Do you mean like the current President does? Trump should “get his way” because the Republicans control both houses. If the Senate obstructs, I would like to see the Republicans give the D

        • Exactly as the current President and previous Presidents have done, it’s not something that only Obama has done. The fact that Republicans control both houses doesn’t mean Trump gets what he wants and especially at the speed that he wants.

        • Don’t delude yourself into thinking that all Republicans are in agreement on all issues.

        • We still don’t know what the Trump doctrine is. Looks like he’s already abandoning several of his biggest campaign promises. Plus, he doesn’t know how to talk to the public—or to his owm staff.

        • Who’s jealous? Trump is not in an easy position (just like Obama and all past Presidents were not in an easy position). Trump has his ideas and Congress, individually and collectively, have their own ideas (just like all other past Presidents had to deal with). If Congress doesn’t agree or agree fast enough, Trump has the right to issue Executive Orders (just like all past Presidents had the right to do). He’s going to figure out what the law allows him to do and what loopholes are available if he doesn’t get what he wants. It’s going to happen.

        • Why stir up more ‘anger’ amongst the liberal crowd that is already suffering post-election stress (sorry, but have to laugh at this ‘disorder’ that is affecting the liberal sector… Laughing because they had no problem telling the rest of the country where they can go for the last 8 years….)

          Get thru the transition, appoint your team, and let the rule of law work…. and trust me when I say this, IF he had ‘serious baggage as well’, the liberal team would have found it during the election cycle. For if nothing else, they are very good at destroying their opponents if they CAN…. So if they didn’t find it before, look at all the stuff they made up in order to try and destroy him….. think he will be ok….

      • Bannon, NeoNazi, right wing fascist,chief propaganda minister of hate and bigotry, now pulling the strings of the Trump puppet, and within reach of the nuclear button. The world, the country, and all people lost this election

  • And Steve Bannon, the primary source of white nationalist, neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic rhetoric that drove the Trump campaign, has been named chief strategist and senior counselor.

        • Crickets everywhere. We are now headed on the RIGHT path. Donald Trump has selected one of the best-known climate skeptics to lead his U.S. EPA transition team, according to two sources close to the campaign.
          Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, is spearheading Trump’s transition plans for EPA, the sources said.
          The Trump team has also lined up leaders for its Energy Department and Interior Department teams. Republican energy lobbyist Mike McKenna is heading the DOE team; former Interior Department solicitor David Bernhardt is leading the effort for that agency, according to sources close to the campaign.
          Ebell is a well-known and polarizing figure in the energy and environment realm. His participation in the EPA transition signals that the Trump team is looking to drastically reshape the climate policies the agency has pursued under the Obama administration. Ebell’s role is likely to infuriate environmentalists and Democrats but buoy critics of Obama’s climate rules.

  • Trump tweeted that the NY Times was “dishonest” when it reported that he had advocated allowing more nations to have nuclear weapons. Small problem: that’s exactly what he said in an interview with the NY Times. He continues to tell easily refutable lies because he knows that his supporters don’t care.

    • BS, I believe you’re taking his comment out of context. His point was that the nations we defend need to help pay for their defense, otherwise we would “pull out” (figuratively speaking) from those countries and they would have to defend themselves (this is where the question “With nuclear weapons?” came from the reporter). Trump should have simply answered, they will help pay for their defense. The press has been trying to corner Trump for the last two years. You know that the press donated 96% toward Hillary, and a very small % for Trump, right? If the press were for Trump, instead of Hillary, I believe he would have won 70% of the vote. The public wasn’t as stupid as the Democrats (ala Gruber) believe, thank God!

    • bsdetection…did you detect this….
      “PENTAGON OFFICIALS FURIOUS AFTER CLINTON ANNOUNCES US RESPONSE TIME (4 minutes) FOR NUCLEAR LAUNCH DURING DEBATE”

      What is WORSE?

  • “..chief strategist and senior counsel” – what exactly are this person’s duties and responsibilities? A checks and balances for Trump’s administration managed by Priebus or more likely, against Ryan?

    So, if Ryan is eventually replaced, there will be no check and balance?

  • President-Elect Donald J. Trump, you were elected as President of the United States. Elections do have consequences. All the decisions and selections are yours, with consultations, and each and every one is an excellent choice. Mr. President, it’s now your administration. Initiating the 29 items from your Contract with the American voters will carry you and the GOP through the first term of office. Go For Broke (100/442) and First Strike (1/502).

    • Only in the media’s minds. They’re trying to discredit him from every angle. I believe the press’ bias actually help to motivate those to vote for Trump and against Hillary. The NYTimes even issued an apology. IF THEY KEPT ON THE SAME TRACK, THEY’D BE OUT OF BUSINESS.

    • i remember trump promising to:
      stop unvetted muslims from entering the u.s.;
      secure america’s borders;
      appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the clinton family slush fund;
      work to create more jobs in america;
      and, to make america great again.

      i don’t see any of his hardline promises cracking.

  • Trump realizes that his campaign promises will be difficult to secure without the speaker and senate president on his side. At least the washington gridlock should be over now. Americans took a big risk with Trump, Let’s all hope he succeeds as president.

  • To Harry Reid, in the words of Harry Reid, “Suck it up buddy, you lost.” Harry is one of the biggest A-Holes in politics so I’m so happy to see him in this position. I don’t wish bad things on anyone but I sure hope Harry gets to think about this for a long long time. He may then realize he had a big part in this.

  • Two weeks after the mass killing in a South Carolina church, Bannon wrote, “Hoist it high and proud: the confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage.” The white supremacist movement is now deeply embedded in the White House.

    • Yes they need to be taught a lesson, it’s OUR way of thinking or nothing, we are the right and you are the wrong. C’mon sarge and keonigohan, when will these guys learn. #MAGA

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