By Philip J. Noble 12/9/16
Donald Trump’s pick for White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, is generating controversy among less conventional Trump supporters and advisors.
Priebus, the current Chairman of the Republican National Committee, was lauded by establishment Republicans when Trump announced his appointment, but many Trump supporters see him as too conventional to work with Trump’s famously unconventional style.
Many Trump loyalists believe that Priebus expected Trump to lose the election, and resent his being rewarded despite his perceived disloyalty.
His authority to name senior White House staff dismays many of Trump’s loyalists, with many of them concerned that he will name more conventional, establishment Republicans to staff positions instead of the political outsiders that many Trump supporters want at the top levels of government.
Henry Barbour, an RNC member, expressed optimism surrounding the appointment. He praised his lack of appetite for drama, saying “One of the things he’ll bring to the White House is an ability to work well with people, to be inclusive, not to get into intrastaff squabbles.”
One other White House appointment has cast doubt on that outlook. Steve Bannon, the former executive chair of the far-right Breitbart News, has been selected as Trump’s chief strategist and Senior Counselor. Bannon’s views have often clashed with establishment Republicans, with Bannon being on the more radical end of the right-wing.
Trump called Bannon an equal partner with Priebus in his administration, which some Washington insiders see as a set-up for a rivalry. According to Josh Bolton, George W. Bush’s last chief of staff, “If that were to mean there’s more than one chief of staff, that’s a recipe for disaster.”