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Trump Shakes Up Transition Team

  • VOA News

FILE - Republican Vice President-elect Mike Pence speaks during a campaign rally in Mason, Ohio.

FILE - Republican Vice President-elect Mike Pence speaks during a campaign rally in Mason, Ohio.

President-elect Donald Trump has put his vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence, in charge of his transition team, replacing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Advisers to Trump said he wanted to use Pence's Washington experience to aid a swift transition in January. In a statement Friday, Trump said Pence would "build on the initial work" done by Christie. The New Jersey governor will remain as a vice chair of the transition effort.

Christie has been entangled in a scandal from 2013 over the closure of a major bridge linking New Jersey and New York, allegedly to punish a local mayor. The scandal came to the foreground again this month when two of Christie's former aides were convicted in the case. Christie has denied any knowledge of the bridge closure.

The announcement of the change came shortly after Trump met Friday with many of his top advisers in his Manhattan apartment at Trump Tower to discuss formation of his administration.

He said on Twitter Friday, "Will soon be making some very important decisions on the people who will be running our government!"

In addition to Pence, Trump said that three of his five children, Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka, along with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, would help with the transition effort, serving on an executive committee.

Trump has about 70 days to decide on a 15-member Cabinet as well as other top staff for his administration. Several of his close advisers have been mentioned as options to fill key posts. Here are some of the names being talked about.

FILE - Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks to reporters after this year's presidential candidates debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Sept. 26, 2016.

FILE - Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks to reporters after this year's presidential candidates debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Sept. 26, 2016.

Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani is the former mayor of New York, known for his efforts to unite the city after the September 11, 2001, attacks that toppled the World Trade Center. He has been an informal adviser to the Trump campaign and frequent spokesman for the campaign with various media outlets. He was the first person to be mentioned by Trump in his election acceptance speech. "He's unbelievable," Trump said. "He's traveled with us and he went through meetings, and Rudy never changes." Giuliani, an attorney, is often mentioned as a possible attorney general.

Newt Gingrich

The former speaker of the House was the architect of the 1994 "Contract with America" that earned Republicans control of the House after decades of Democratic dominance. Gingrich was an early Trump supporter and was reportedly on Trump's short list for vice president. Since leaving the House, Gingrich has been an influential Republican strategist and ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2011. He has been mentioned as a possible candidate for secretary of state or White House chief of staff.

Chris Christie

The New Jersey governor quickly gave his support to Trump after his own bid for the Republican nomination ended. He had been serving as head of the Trump transition team until Pence took over Friday, and was reportedly on Trump's short list for vice president. Christie, a former U.S. attorney, has been mentioned as a possible attorney general or commerce secretary.

FILE - Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

FILE - Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

Reince Priebus

The current chair of the Republican National Committee was a steady supporter of Trump when many in the Republican Party establishment wanted to distance themselves from the billionaire. Priebus provided Trump with an important link to the party's resources and field operations to get out the vote. Trump ceded the podium for a minute during his election acceptance speech to Priebus to thank him for his support. Priebus is rumored to be in contention for the role of White House chief of staff.

Steve Bannon

Bannon served as Trump's campaign chief after heading the conservative website Breitbart News. Bannon is not afraid to use strong political tactics and was behind some of the more controversial moves of the Trump campaign, including bringing women who had made sexual misconduct allegations against former President Bill Clinton, the husband of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, to a presidential debate. He is cited as a potential White House chief of staff.

Kellyanne Conway

Conway served as Trump's campaign manager and tweeted that she might accept a senior White House role. She founded a polling company in 1995 and has consulted on polling for Republican politicians and major corporations. Conway also served as a senior adviser to Gingrich's presidential bid in 2011.

FILE - Sen. Jeff Sessions speaks at a news conference hosted by the Tea Party Patriots to oppose Senate immigration reform legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 20, 2013.

FILE - Sen. Jeff Sessions speaks at a news conference hosted by the Tea Party Patriots to oppose Senate immigration reform legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 20, 2013.

Jeff Sessions

The Alabama senator was one of the first politicians to endorse Trump when many other leading Republicans were against his candidacy. Trump hailed him in his election acceptance speech as the first "major politician" to support him. "Let me tell you, he is highly respected in Washington because he is as smart as you get," Trump said. Sessions has been in the Senate since 1997 and sits on the Armed Services Committee and Budget Committee, among others. He has served in the Army Reserve and is mentioned as a possible candidate for secretary of defense.

Steven Mnuchin

The campaign finance manager for Trump's election, Mnuchin's name is being mentioned as a possible candidate for Treasury secretary. Mnuchin is a veteran of Goldman Sachs and a CEO of a private investment firm.

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