Trump Gives Pence The Reins Of His Transition Team


Vice President-elect Mike Pence is now leading President-elect Donald Trump’s expanded transition team, it was announced Friday.

Pence takes over from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who will now be one of three vice chairs of the transition team, along with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

The transition team is also adding 12 members, including top GOP donor Rebekah Mercer; Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s campaign CEO; Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee; Peter Thiel, a cofounder of PayPal; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; and a contingent of Trump family members including Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.

CNN also noted that the team has input from a bevy of Washington insiders, including Rep. Mike Rogers, former Attorney General and Heritage Foundation fellow Edwin Meese, former president of the Heritage Foundation Edwin Feulner, former Bush administration official and lobbyist Christine Ciccone, former Dick Cheney adviser Ado Machida, former Senate Budget Committee staffer Eric Ueland.

Also playing a prominent role in the transition are longtime Trump supporters Ben Carson, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

“Together this outstanding group of advisers, led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, will build on the initial work done under the leadership of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to help prepare a transformative government ready to lead from day one,” Trump said in a statement put out by the transition.

“The mission of our team will be clear: Put together the most highly qualified group of successful leaders who will be able to implement our change agenda in Washington. Together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding this nation — specifically jobs, security and opportunity. This team is going to get to work immediately to Make America Great Again.”

The New York Times reported that Trump wanted to fully use the connections and experience of Pence, who served 12 years in the House of Representatives before being elected governor of Indiana.

The Times also reported that Sessions will have a major role in the transition now that Rick Dearborn, Sessions’ chief of staff, will help operate the transition office.

Christie was appointed by Trump in July to lead the campaign’s transition team. Since the election, there has been speculation that Christie may be in line for a Cabinet post.

However, the recent trials in which three of his former aids were found guilty of fraud and conspiracy in the so-called Bridgegate scandal has led to speculation that Christie was too damaged politically to have a major role in the Trump administration.

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