US: Trump’s transition to White House in shambles
Donald Trump’s transition to the White House is in a state of disarray marked by firings and infighting, causing concerns that the president-elect would be ill-prepared once he is inaugurated, according to media reports. Trump has yet to announce any nominations to his cabinet, however, the daunting task appears to be chaotic with competing forces jockeying for position and influence in the incoming administration.
Last week’s ouster of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as the head of the transition team set in motion other departures, particularly in the area of national security. Trump replaced Christie with Vice-President-elect Mike Pence. Pence reportedly purged the transition team of all lobbyists, while Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner dismissed two people with ties to Christie.
Former congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) stepped down as the transition’s senior national security adviser late on Tuesday without any explanation.
Rogers, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the leading candidate for CIA director, was among at least four key transition officials who have been purged this week apparently over perceived ties to Christie, The New York Times said.
The disarray has left government agencies unable to communicate with Trump transition team officials tasked with replacing them and their staff. It also caused senior Republicans to question Trump’s handling of the task and his choices for top positions.
Trump, however, is pushing back against the reports that his transition to the White House has been chaotic. In a tweet on Tuesday, the president-elect said a “very organized process [is] taking place as I decide cabinet and many other positions.” “I am the only one who knows who the finalists are,” he noted. While Trump has yet to announce any nominations, sources have named a number of allies who stuck with the businessman throughout his bombastic campaign.
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is among Trump’s most loyal allies, wants to be in charge of Trump’s State Department.
A source told The Hill that Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson has been strongly advocating for Giuliani to have a top position inside the Trump administration. Giuliani is a pro-Israel hawk, which would make him a top choice for the Jewish casino owner.
Adelson is also advocating for John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, to assume a major foreign policy or national security role under Trump.
Trump’s transition team is considering Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as the next attorney general, Bloomberg Politics reported. Cruz, who ran a bitter presidential primary campaign against Trump, has visited the president-elect to offer assistance during the transition talks.
Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner Steven Mnuchin, who became Trump’s national finance chairman, has been recommended by the transition team to serve as the head of the Treasury Department.