Trump selects Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff

Donald Trump at Dorton Arena on Monday afternoon. CBS North Carolina photo
Donald Trump at Dorton Arena on Monday afternoon. CBS North Carolina photo

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff and conservative media executive Stephen Bannon as his senior counselor.

Trump’s transition team announced the decisions Sunday. The moves are Trump’s first as he sets about putting together his administration.

In selecting Priebus, Trump is turning to a Washington veteran with deep ties to Republican leadership, particularly House Speaker Paul Ryan. Bannon ran the conservative website Breitbart before joining Trump’s presidential campaign during the general election. Neither has significant governing experience.

In a statement, Trump says Priebus and Bannon are “highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign.”

Trump’s decision to empower his running mate Mike Pence to steer the presidential transition gives the soon-to-be vice president an extraordinary hand in shaping the incoming government.

And it could foreshadow that he will play an outsized role in the White House.

Pence’s ascension is in line with a recent trend toward powerful vice presidents and appears similar to the last vice president who was handed the keys to a presidential transition: Dick Cheney.

Cheney helped build the government and was one of the most powerful vice presidents in recent memory.

Experts say that the choice of Pence sends a signal to Washington that he will have a key job.

And it allows Pence to potentially stock key administration roles with allies.

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