President-elect Donald Trump announced the first two hires of his new administration over the weekend.
The first wasn't much of surprise. Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon—formerly chairman of Breitbart News—will serve as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the president. In that role, he will have a direct line to the president-elect on key issues.
The other immediate hire Trump made was RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff. The move was a bit of a surprise, and wasn't exactly a popular pick with many who have supported the president-elect's campaign.
Trump, however, said it was important to have Bannon and Priebus together to continue the effective leadership team they formed during the campaign, working as equal partners to "transform the federal government, making it much more efficient, effective and productive." Bannon and Priebus will also work together with Vice President-elect Mike Pence to help lead the transition process in the run-up to Inauguration Day.
"I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country," the president-elect said. "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."
Bringing Priebus into the White House, however, opens the door to a leadership change at the RNC. Among the front-runners to replace him will be:
- Robert Graham, chairman of the Arizona GOP, actively campaigned for the job during the run-up to the Republican National Convention in July and was an enthusiastic supporter of Trump.
- Matt Pinnell, RNC National state director and former chairman of the Oklahoma GOP, is not yet 40 years old. He's part of the "new blood" the party needs for the future, and his role in helping to maintain GOP control of Congress shouldn't be discounted. He didn't take a side in the Trump/NeverTrump fight, which means he hasn't burned any bridges.
- Carly Fiorina—the former presidential candidate spent the post-convention portion of the election cycle fundraising and campaigning for down-ballot candidates—and for the job of RNC chairwoman. She aligned more closely to the NeverTrump faction, but like her one-time "running mate," U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), she eventually gave Trump her verbal support.
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