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President-elect Donald Trump faces a daunting challenge as he prepares for his move to the White House: Selecting the men and women who will fill his administration.
Trump must choose thousands of appointees and nominees who will oversee the nation’s security, economy, foreign affairs and domestic policies.
His picks so far suggest that loyalty is paramount. Early backers and those who served key roles in Trump’s campaign will continue to form the inner circle of a Trump administration filled with a combination of experienced Washington insiders and controversial outsiders, including some whose selection has sparked anger and alarm.
Here’s who he’s chosen so far.
— WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Reince Priebus
The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Priebus earned Trump’s trust and confidence during the campaign. The 44-year-old Wisconsin political operative, who has spent his career as a Republican party official, is poised to be one of Trump’s most important gatekeepers, controlling access to the president and providing counsel.
— CHIEF STRATEGIST and SENIOR COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Steve Bannon
One of Trump’s most controversial hires to date, Bannon joined Trump’s campaign as CEO in August after serving as the head of Breitbart News — a far-right media outlet that is one of Trump’s biggest backers. Bannon, 62, worked for Goldman Sachs, then started his own media-focused boutique investment banking firm. After selling the business, he became a film producer, which introduced him to conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart and author Peter Schweizer. Jewish groups and a long list of Democratic leaders have denounced Bannon’s hiring and called on Trump to reconsider.
— ATTORNEY GENERAL: Sen. Jeff Sessions
The first senator to endorse the president-elect, Alabama’s Sessions is known for his tough stance on immigration enforcement policies.
Sessions, who served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama and Alabama attorney general before his election to the U.S. Senate, is expected to push the Justice Department to the right. Sessions, 69, could face confirmation hiccups, however: His last confirmation hearing, in 1986 for a federal judgeship, was derailed over allegations that he’d made racially charged remarks while U.S. attorney in Alabama.
— ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL SECURITY: Michael Flynn
A retired Army lieutenant general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Flynn was another early Trump backer and served as the president-elect’s top military adviser during the campaign. After retiring in 2014, Flynn quickly turned on the Obama administration and accused it of being soft on terrorism. In recent public comments, Flynn has emphasized his view that Islamic State extremists pose an existential threat on a global scale and demanded a far more aggressive U.S. military campaign against the group. In August, he declared that Islam “is a political ideology” and that it “definitely hides behind being a religion.”
DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Rep. Mike Pompeo
— The Kansas congressman is a relatively new face in Trump’s circle. The hard-line Republican shares much of Trump’s worldview. He has heavily criticized the landmark Iran nuclear deal, blasted Hillary Clinton over the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya and her use of a private email server, and believes Edward Snowden is a traitor who deserves a death sentence.
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