WASHINGTON: Vice President-elect Mike Pence will take over as the leader of Donald J. Trump’s transition effort, pushing aside Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, as Mr. Trump moves quickly to assemble a government after his stunning upset victory, the transition team said on Friday.
The reorganization puts the urgent task of selecting cabinet officials and key West Wing posts in the hands of Mr. Pence, whose loyalty to Mr. Trump and deep contacts with the Republican establishment on Capitol Hill are seen as critical to navigating the often politically treacherous transition period.
But in shuffling those responsible for shaping his administration, Mr. Trump is also keeping close the inner circle of campaign advisers who are deeply skeptical of Washington and who helped design an outsider campaign built on angry and often divisive rhetoric. Stephen K. Bannon, the conservative provocateur and chairman of the Breitbart News website, will be a top transition adviser.
Three of Mr. Trump’s adult children and his son-in-law, who were among his closest campaign advisers, will join a 16-member advisory committee to help guide his choices. Rick Dearborn, the chief of staff to Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama and a fierce advocate for Mr. Trump, will move from the campaign’s Washington office to help direct the transition operations.
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Presidential Election 2016
Ohh yes, much better choice. I wonder who he’ll choose to lead the 30 second hate.
The Leveller 6 hours ago
Ya, I guess Christy has to get ready to put on a striped suit for jail? Just watch the house of horrors Trump assembles. Wall Street will…
Waleed Khalid 6 hours ago
Sooo, president elect Trump, in order to fight establishment elitism and corruption is turning to the very people who were responsible for…
Mr. Christie will become a vice chairman of the transition effort, the campaign said.
The new inner circle at the transition offices will direct the activities of dozens of corporate consultants, lobbyists and other specialists who will be responsible for recommending candidates for agency jobs across the breadth of the federal government. Some of those advisers come from industries for which they are now in charge of finding top regulators.
“The mission of our team will be clear: put together the most highly qualified group of successful leaders who will be able to implement our change agenda in Washington,” the transition team announced Friday afternoon.
The surprise moves will sideline Mr. Christie, who had been in charge of the transition for several months. After Mr. Christie dropped out of the Republican primary race, he became a staunch supporter of Mr. Trump. But his standing has fallen recently as two former aides were convicted in the scandal involving the closing of access lanes at the George Washington Bridge in 2013.
In a statement, Mr. Christie said that he is “proud to have run the pre-election phase of the transition team” and said that he looks forward to working with Mr. Pence. “I want to thank President-elect Trump for the opportunity to continue to help lead in this next phase,” Mr. Christie wrote.
Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for secretary of the Treasury. Credit Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Two people familiar with the reorganization discussion said Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, had wanted to marginalize Mr. Christie, who had come to recognize that he was not in the running to serve as a top adviser in Mr. Trump’s White House. It was unclear whether concerns about his ability to be confirmed might prevent him from being offered a cabinet post.
The changes will also push aside Richard H. Bagger, a former top aide to Mr. Christie who had been working on the transition. The transition team said Mr. Bagger will “return to the private sector” but will remain an adviser.
Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, and Michael T. Flynn, a retired lieutenant general who has been a top campaign supporter, will also serve as vice chairmen of the transition, the transition team said Friday afternoon.
The 16-member advisory committee is made up of four women and 12 men. It will include several members of Congress; Rebekah Mercer, a top Republican donor; Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee; Peter Thiel, a founder of PayPal; Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida; Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive; and Anthony Scaramucci, a hedge-fund manager and Trump supporter. Mr. Bannon will also serve on the committee. A political committee supporting Ms. Bondi received a $25,000 donation from the Trump Foundation, raising questions because it was around the time her office was reviewing allegations against Mr. Trump’s for-profit education programs.
“This team of experienced leaders will form the building blocks of our presidential transition team staff leadership roster, and will work with elected officials and tireless volunteers to prepare our government for the transfer of power on Jan. 20,” Mr. Pence said in a statement.
There are some indications that the transition effort was slow to start, perhaps the result of Mr. Trump’s upset victory, which caught much of the political world by surprise. At least a few of the people helping organize the search for Mr. Trump were tapped at the last minute, while others have been preparing quietly for weeks.
At the Pentagon and the State Department, officials of the Obama administration said on Thursday that they had not yet heard from Mr. Trump’s transition team about beginning the complex work of transferring responsibilities and authority. A spokesman for the State Department said he did not have “any firm word” on when briefings might begin for designated officials from the new government.
Several people briefed on the transition process described it as somewhat chaotic after Mr. Trump’s surprise victory on Tuesday. His campaign was led by four leadership teams over 18 months, and most of those people were back in view on Thursday, including Corey Lewandowski, the campaign’s first manager. Mr. Lewandowski is said to have told people he would prefer a White House senior adviser role, although he has also been mentioned as a possible Republican National Committee chairman. Mr. Lewandowski resigned on Friday from his role as a CNN political commentator.
Ivanka Trump arriving at Trump Tower on Friday. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
One thing is clear already: those helping Mr. Trump make the decisions are the members of his campaign’s inner circle. On Friday morning at Trump Tower in Manhattan, the president-elect’s closest aides arrived, one by one, waving to the press corps as they entered the elevators.
Trump Tower, the president-elect’s residence, has been transformed into a kind of fortress by the Secret Service and the New York police. The building has been ringed by Jersey barriers and concrete blocks marked with “NYPD.” The Secret Service has set up checkpoints on each end of 56th Street near the tower, and pedestrian access has been restricted around the building.
With just about 70 days left before the inauguration, Mr. Trump’s administration is largely being assembled behind the scenes. But like much else in the nation’s capital, little stays secret for long.
The list of names being mentioned as possibilities for crucial posts in Mr. Trump’s cabinet is growing by the hour, giving official Washington what it craves most: a never-ending parlor game as speculation grows about who might actually get a nod.
The latest to be swept into the speculation is Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, who was mentioned as a possible candidate for secretary of the Treasury by CNBC. Officials with the Trump transition team said they reached out informally to Mr. Dimon, who was clear he did not want the post.
Aides to Mr. Trump have declined to confirm who is on the short list for cabinet posts. And despite the president-elect’s return to Twitter on Thursday night, he has so far said nothing specific about his possible picks.
The critical position of chief of staff — the gatekeeper for the president inside the West Wing — is expected to come down to a choice between Mr. Bannon and Mr. Priebus. The two men spent more than an hour in a meeting on Friday at Trump Tower.
Mr. Giuliani told CNN on Thursday that he might accept an appointment as attorney general, saying that “there’s probably nobody that knows the Justice Department better than me.”
Mr. Mnuchin, who served as Mr. Trump’s campaign finance chairman, is said to be a serious contender for Treasury secretary (though Carl Icahn, the investor, and Representative Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas, have also been mentioned in the news media).
Courtesy : nytimes.com