Donald Trump officially announced two of his senior staff members, confirming speculation that Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus would be part of his White House staff. Bannon will serve as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor, Priebus will serve as Chief of Staff. They will team with transition team head and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to fill out the rest of Trump’s cabinet.
“I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country,” President-elect Trump said in a release. “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.”
So who are these guys?
Reince Priebus is, as we said, the 44-year-old RNC Chair. He comes from Wisconsin, where he helped elevate Governor Scott Walker and current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to political prominence. He frequently clashed with Trump during the campaign, notably over Trump’s attack on the Khan family and Trump’s Islamophobic comments.
Priebus was the subject of the column “Tuesdays with Reince,” which offered a week-by-week look at the mood of the Republican National Committee. We should note, as did his staff to journalist Mark Leibovitch, that his name reads “RNC PR BS” with the vowels removed. John Kasich’s advisor John Weaver famously derided Priebus as a “Kenosha political operative.”
Steve Bannon, 56, is a former Goldman Sachs banker who found a hugely successful second career as the head of Breitbart News. During his tenure, the organization was famous for publishing hate-filled, reality-adjacent pieces that became the signature style of Trump’s campaign. He served as Trump Campaign CEO, leading many to suspect that he would be the CEO of Trump TV when the nominee inevitably lost the election. As we know, that didn’t turn out to be the case.
Bannon was charged in a domestic abuse case stemming from an incident in January of 1996. He’s reportedly made numerous anti-Semitic remarks. GOP strategist John Weaver did not mince words when denouncing the hiring.
He alone among Trump’s campaign chiefs was able to keep the candidate on-message, and deserves at least some credit for getting him elected. Bannon is also notable for his ability to speak harshly to Trump in high-stress moments.
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