Sunday 21 January 2018

President-elect begins to assemble his team with two key appointments

Top job: Reince Priebus (REUTERS/Joe Skipper)
Top job: Reince Priebus (REUTERS/Joe Skipper)

Laurie Kellman

Donald Trump named Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff, elevating one of his loyal GOP advisers with a deep expertise of the Washington establishment.

Mr Priebus, a close ally of House Speaker Paul Ryan, called the appointment "an honour" and predicted the billionaire "will be a great president for all Americans".

Mr Trump also named Stephen Bannon, his campaign CEO and executive on leave from conservative website Breitbart, to be the president-elect's chief strategist and senior counsel.

With vice president-elect Mike Pence as transition chief, the trio was expected to organise the incoming administration, according to a statement from the Trump camp.

There was much to steady. Last night, 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 congratulations. Former presidents George W and George HW 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".

He also attributed his election win to his performance in the presidential debates against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"The debates, especially the second and third, plus speeches and intensity of the large rallies, plus OUR GREAT SUPPORTERS, gave us the win!"

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

More tension emerged yesterday when Mr Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid should be careful in a "legal sense" about characterising Mr Trump as a sexual predator. When asked whether Mr Trump was threatening to sue Mr Reid, Ms Conway said no.

But Adam Jentleson, Mr Reid's deputy chief of staff, said Mr Trump was "hiding behind his Twitter account and sending his staff on TV to threaten his critics".

Meanwhile, another Trump aide - Rudy Giuliani - suggested that the president-elect should have a "blind trust" to run his global empire to avoid conflicts of interest.

Also yesterday, Republicans backed off decades of investigating Mrs Clinton. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the GOP-led congressional Republicans would focus on policy and leave any probes of Mrs Clinton to law enforcement.

Irish Independent

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