Donald Trump on Sunday named Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff, rewarding a loyalist to his party and its long-serving chairman by making him his top aide in the Oval Office.
Trump, however, also named Steve Bannon, the head of his campaign and of the far-right website Breitbart, as his “chief strategist and senior counselor”.
The statement that announced Trump’s decision named Bannon first, despite the vague title of his role. It said that Bannon and Priebus would work as “equal partners”.
“Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory,” Trump said. “Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again.”
Bannon mentioned his “very successful partnership” with Priebus, who said in his own statement that the Trump White House would “work to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism”.
Priebus spent months trying to bring Republican leaders to terms with their party’s nominee, who often railed against them and drove several senior senators away with his mockery of disabled people and prisoners of war and boasts of groping women.
A fixture in Washington and Wisconsin politics since the mid-2000s, Priebus led the so-called “autopsy report” after Republicans failed to win the 2012 election, recommending efforts to win over Hispanic voters and women.
Throughout Trump’s chaotic and divisive campaign, he served as his diplomat to senior Republicans and donors, and as manager of the party resources to elect candidates around the country.
White House chief of staff is considered one of the most powerful positions in Washington, charged with helping the president in almost every task and operating the complicated machinery of government.