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Trump shapes White House, hires establishment figure, firebrand

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WASHINGTON: week after his upset win over Democrat Hillary Clinton in last Tuesday’s presidential election, Trump’s choice on Sunday of Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman and friend of House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, could help him repair his strained relations with members of the Republican Party establishment.

But Trump also named Bannon, the combative former head of the right-wing website Breitbart News, as his strategist and senior counselor. The statement said Bannon and Priebus would be “working as equal partners to transform the federal government.”

The choice of each man could anger a segment of Trump’s supporters. Hardline Trump backers who were counting on Trump to keep his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” of business-as-usual Washington insiders may be disappointed he has named Priebus to the chief of staff position, which serves as a gatekeeper and agenda-setter for the president.

More traditional Republicans may be wary of the pick of rabble-rouser Bannon for a top White House job.

Trump, in a statement, said Bannon and Priebus were both “highly qualified leaders” who helped him win the White House race.

President Barack Obama, whom Trump will succeed on Jan. 20, plans to hold a news conference on Monday at 3:15 p.m. (2015 GMT) before leaving on an international trip. The Democratic president, who has pledged a smooth transition with Trump despite their sharp political differences, is sure to be asked by reporters about Trump’s appointments.

Democrats sharply criticized the Bannon appointment. Representative Adam Schiff tweeted: “Selection of Steve Bannon for senior WH role unsurprising but alarming. His alt-right, anti-Semitic & misogynistic views don’t belong in WH.”

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