President-elect Donald Trump named Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff and appointed campaign chair Steve Bannon as chief strategist.
“I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country,” Trump wrote. “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.”
The move indicates a desire to strike a balance within the White House of figures who are both longtime ties to the Republican Party, as well as the outsiders who helped propel Trump to the presidency.
CNN reported that House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner urged the president-elect to pick Priebus, who advised Trump closely following his selection as the Republican presidential nominee.
Bannon, executive chairman of the alt-right news site Breitbart News, was also a major contender for the job. Observers noted that the Breitbart chief represented the outside pick — he’s been quick to attack Republicans and Democrats alike, scheming with other right-wing media figures about how to oust Ryan for what Bannon perceived as globalist views on trade and immigration.
Indeed, Priebus’ selection is unlikely to please everyone in Trump-world.
Longtime informal Trump advisor Roger Stone, a close Bannon-ally, argued on Twitter that tapping Priebus would raise eyebrows with Trump’s base.
Stone joined other critics such as the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, a right-leaning PAC that backed Trump, but cited Priebus’ “Washington insider” status its reason for opposing his selection.