Vice President-elect Mike Pence ordered the removal of all lobbyists from president-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The decision on Tuesday was one of Pence’s first since formally taking over the team. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was abruptly dismissed from the role last week.
Critics have excoriated Trump for including lobbyists, Washington insiders, and Republican Party veterans among his team, suggesting it contradicts the anti-establishment message that defined his campaign.
“[Americans] do not want corporate executives to be the ones who are calling the shots in Washington,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said earlier Tuesday. “What Donald Trump is doing is that he’s putting together a transition team that’s full of lobbyists — the kind of people he actually ran against,” she said.
The move capped a chaotic day for Trump’s transition team. Former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, who handled national-security duties, was ousted, as was senior defence and foreign policy official Matthew Freedman.
Rogers was told that all team members picked by Christie were being ousted, The Journal reported, citing a source familiar with the situation. Rogers indicated the team may be in disarray.
“Is there a little confusion in New York? I think there is. I think this is growing pains,” he told CNN’s Jim Sciutto. Sources cited by CNN in that story suggested infighting among Trump’s close advisers. Another unnamed CNN source denied the claim.
Trump’s team is tasked with finding and hiring 4,000 political appointees to fill out the federal government.