All is not copacetic in the Trump camp.
- Firings and Discord Put Trump Transition Team in a State of Disarray
– New York Times
- Firings and Discord Put Trump faces growing tension with key Republicans over national security issues
– Washington Post
- GOP foreign policy leaders grow despondent
In what is described as a purge by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. two national security advisers on the team were fired. Gone are former Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan and lobbyist Matthew Freedman. Their departures followed the removal Friday of Chris Christie, who was replaced by VP-elect Mike Pence.
Some on the team are in payback mode. As the Post reports:
|Rogers had no prior significant ties to Christie but had been recruited to join the Trump team as an adviser by the New Jersey governor. At least three other Christie associates were also pushed aside, former officials said, apparently in retaliation for Christie’s role as a U.S. prosecutor in sending Kushner’s father to prison.|
(During his tenure as U.S. attorney in New Jersey, Christie negotiated the plea agreement for Charles B. Kushner, who served prison time for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering.)
A similar avenging spirit reportedly is driving the team’s receptivity to recommendations. After initially urging national security experts to work with the new administration, Eliot A. Cohen, a former aide to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, reversed himself. Here’s his Monday-morning tweet:
After exchange w Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They're angry, arrogant, screaming "you LOST!" Will be ugly.
— Eliot A Cohen (@EliotACohen) November 15, 2016
Cohen told the Times: “They think of these jobs as lollipops.”
Inevitably, Trump weighed in via Twitter Monday night:
Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions. I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2016
Typically, a president-elect assembles a transition team from his campaign advisers and professionals in the many fields that need to be staffed.
As the nuch-acclaimed non-pol, Trump has pulled his team members from just a few government branches - Justice and the military, as the above interactive Muckety map shows. The most powerful figure from the political establishment is RNC Chair Reince Priebus.
Breitbart, the conservative media company, formerly headed by Steve Bannon, is also prominent among the team’s connections. In addition to Bannon, Breitbart legal editor Ken Klukowski holds a spot on the team.
Conservative think tanks and foundations will also have significant sway in the decisions about how to staff the Trump administration. Among those with multiple ties to the transition team are the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution, and, indirectly, the Sarah Scaife Foundation.
Dominant, though, is the Trump Organization. Trump’s adult children - Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. - all hold positions with both the family business and the transition team, as does son-in-law Kushner.