BY BEN KAMISAR
01/20/17 The Hill
President-elect Donald Trump is heading into the White House with a close-knit team of loyalists and trusted aides who will be tasked with turning his campaign promises into law. Here are the players to watch in the new administration.
Reince Priebus, Chief of staff
The three-term Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman remained loyal to Trump during a tumultuous presidential campaign. Now he’ll be running his White House.
Trump named Priebus his chief of staff just days after his victory. The Wisconsin Republican is a close ally of top Republicans, including Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and will provide crucial link to Capitol Hill as the president-elect pursues his agenda.
Priebus is also bringing a handful of allies from the RNC to the White House, adding Washington experience to an administration that intends to get off to a fast start.
Stephen Bannon, Chief strategist and senior counselor
Along with Priebus, the most influential figure in Trump’s White House is expected to be Bannon, a former Brietbart News executive.
The bond between Trump and Bannon was forged in the heat of the presidential race, when Trump brought in Bannon and incoming White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to lead the campaign after a difficult summer.
Bannon’s nationalist views on immigration and trade fall right in line with the “America first” vision Trump campaigned on, and he’s expected to play a major role developing the new administration’s strategy.
Sources close to Trump say the working relationship between Bannon and Priebus has been smooth sailing so far, but many in Washington are wondering whether one of them will end up wielding more influence.
Jared Kushner, Senior adviser to the president
Trump’s son-in-law is considered one of the president-elect’s closest confidants.
A political neophyte, Kushner played an influential role in the campaign, helping Trump build a digital operation that aided his path to victory. The transition team has signaled that his influence in the new White House will be substantial and that he will be an equal to Bannon and Priebus.
Trump has already suggested Kushner as a potential player in Middle East peace negotiations, and Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, is expected to eventually have a role in the White House despite not yet holding an official title.
Sean Spicer, Press secretary
The longtime RNC spokesman and strategist is poised to do battle with the media as Trump’s press secretary.
A close confidant of Priebus, Spicer is likely to have access to the inner workings of the Oval Office. But his most direct power will be his role in deciding how the new administration works with media outlets that the president has frequently deemed biased against him.
Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the president
The longtime GOP pollster last year became the first woman to guide a presidential campaign to victory.
Her ties to Trump run deep. She has long owned a condominium in one of his Manhattan skyscrapers and had worked for the vice president-elect, Mike Pence, long before Trump picked her to run his campaign in August.
A frequent presence on cable news, Conway is likely to have a substantial role in crafting White House strategy and public messaging.
Stephen Miller, Senior adviser to the president for policy
As his former boss, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), prepares to lead the Justice Department, Miller is set to shape policy from within the White House.
Tapped to take the lead in crafting Trump’s inaugural address, Miller is expected to develop many of the policies that will define the new administration, particularly on immigration and trade.
Miller is a staunch supporter of the president-elect’s “America first” message and was an early backer, joining the campaign before the first votes in the primary had even been cast.
Marc Short, Assistant to the president and director of legislative affairs
Short is a longtime confidant of Pence who is being called upon to build bridges between Trump and Republicans on Capitol Hill.
It’ll be up to Short, along with deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn and others, to help turn Trump’s policy goals into reality.
Michael Flynn, National security adviser
Trump made national security one of the centerpieces of his campaign, and he’s tapped the retired lieutenant general to lead his security brain trust.
Flynn and his team are responsible for Trump’s daily national security update, a briefing that transition officials have argued is even more useful than the presidential daily briefing because it includes the new administration’s analysis.
But Flynn’s role could become a source of tension within the administration. His ties to Russia have come under the microscope since his appointment, and he’s been accused of promoting conspiracy theories during the campaign.
Donald McGahn, White House counselor
With Democrats warning about potential conflicts of interest from Trump’s vast business empire, McGahn and the White House legal team will be called upon to defend and advise the president-elect.
It’ll be up to the former Federal Elections Commission chairman and prominent conservative lawyer to keep Trump on the right side of the law and to advise him on how to wield his new executive powers.
Jeff Sessions, Attorney general nominee
Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump in February of last year and quickly won a place in the businessman’s inner circle.
His fingerprints can be seen on many of Trump’s policy proposals, especially on immigration and trade, where the president-elect is seeking to move the GOP in a new direction.
If confirmed to lead the Justice Department, the Alabama Republican will have broad authority on issues like voting rights and enforcing immigration laws.
Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State nominee
As chief diplomat, Tillerson will have his hands full soothing the concerns of U.S. allies abroad as Trump takes the reins of U.S. foreign policy.
The former Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO had a rocky confirmation hearing, during which senators questioned, among other things, his ties to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.
Assuming he’s confirmed, Tillerson will have to hit the ground running as Trump seeks to renegotiate trade deals, overhaul alliances and forge stronger ties with Russia.
Wilbur Ross, Commerce secretary nominee
A business associate of Trump’s dating back to the 1990s, Ross is expected to have a leading role on one of Trump’s top priorities: overhauling U.S. trade policy.
Trump’s trade team will also include U.S. Trade Representative nominee Robert Lighthizer, National Trade Council head Peter Navarro, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and likely special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt — but transition officials have made clear that Ross will be running the show.
Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary nominee
The former Goldman Sachs executive took on a pivotal role in the Trump campaign, helping it become a fundraising force to match Hillary Clinton.
Now he’s in to lead the Treasury Department, giving him clout in the push for tax reform.
He’ll be one of at least five — and likely six, if Anthony Scaramucci is given a White House position— former Goldman employees in the White House, giving the major investment bank a large footprint in the new administration.