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Trump Meets with White House Transition Team for a Second Day

  • VOA News

The White House

The White House

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is gathered with his White House transition team for a second day as they try to quickly fill a roster of cabinet and other top administration positions.

The position of White House chief of staff, which manages the executive office of the president, is expected to take on increased importance in the Trump administration because Trump has no policy making experience and lacks connections to Washington’s power brokers.

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus is said to be considered for the position, as is Trump’s campaign chairman and Breitbart News editor Stephen Bannon, a controversial figure who helped mold the alt-right movement.

RNC chief strategist and communications director Sean Spicer cautioned against reading too much into reports speculating about who is under consideration.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” Spicer said Saturday morning on CNN, adding that personnel decisions will be made by the president-elect.

The appointments made by incoming presidents help indicate the policy directions they plan on pursuing. Trump admitted as much in a statement released Friday that said his team is looking at "the most highly qualified group of successful leaders who will be able to implement our change agenda in Washington."

Trump shook up his transition team on Friday by putting running mate Mike Pence in charge and naming a group of Washington insiders to help with cabinet selection process.

Pence’s promotion to chairman of Trump’s transition team came at the expense of New Jersey Governor and close Trump advisor Chris Christie, who is now serving as vice chair. The move comes days after two of Christie’s former aides were convicted for their roles in politically influenced closure of driving lanes on the George Washington Bridge, which connects the New York City borough of Manhattan to Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Three of Trump’s children and son-in-law Jared Kushner were also added to the transition team’s 16-person executive committee. It is a decision that is likely to raise conflict of interest concerns since they are poised manage the real estate mogul’s vast business interests over the next four years.

Other members of the transition team executive committee are Senator Jeff Sessions, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn and former Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson. All are expected to be considered for top positions in the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, the team is tasked with identifying people to fill 15 cabinet positions and about 1,000 top posts that must be confirmed by the Senate.

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