President-elect Donald Trump has made his first two key personnel appointments.
He named Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, as his White House chief of staff and Stephen Bannon, an executive for the anti-establishment Breitbart News, as chief strategist and senior counselor.
Priebus is a Republican operative with deep expertise in the Washington establishment that Trump has vowed to shake up. Bannon, meanwhile, helped transform the Breitbart news site into the leading voice of the party’s anti-establishment wing, which helped fuel the businessman’s political rise.
“Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory,” Trump said November 13. “Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again.”
Chiefs of staff in particular play a significant role in policymaking, serving as a liaison to Cabinet agencies and deciding what information makes it to the president’s desk. They’re often one of the last people in the room with the president as major decisions are made.
Priebus is a traditional choice, one meant as an olive branch to the Republicans who control both houses of Congress as Trump looks to pass his legislative agenda.
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan tweeted, “I’m very proud and excited for my friend @Reince. Congrats!” Ryan earlier told CNN that he didn’t know Bannon, but “I trust Donald’s judgment.”
I'm very proud and excited for my friend @Reince. Congrats!
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) November 13, 2016