It is our first look at how a President Trump will govern, and it is not comforting at all. The transition team is made up of a merry band of misfits hired not for their political savvy but for their last names and the favors owed them.
The transition team was obviously not a high priority until after the election, and is being put together in a last-minute fashion. Trump appeared not to care very much about it, and Paul Manafort, the adviser most involved, left the campaign over a scandal in August.
Chris Christie was the head of the group, but he was replaced today by Mike Pence. The New Jersey governor will now serve as vice chairman of the group.
Perhaps the biggest news is the addition of Attorney General Pam Bondi. Bondi was the recipient of a very questionable political donation from Trump back in 2013, during the time her Florida office was investigating Trump University for possible fraud charges in the state. After receiving the donation, which was illegally paid out of the Trump Foundation account, Bondi’s office decided not to press charges.
Bondi was active during most of the Trump campaign, serving as an adviser and a prominent female voice after the “hot mic” video was released. Most political insiders are not surprised at her appointment and expect her to play a significant role in the Trump administration.
In a statement Friday, she said: “I’m honored to serve President-elect Donald J. Trump in making this historic transition and assisting in finding the best individuals to bring change to Washington on day one, grow our economy, protect our children and families, and be unafraid to stand up for Americans.” (Source)
Also included on the team are Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump. Their qualifications are their last names.
Actual political “professionals” named to the team are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus and former Breitbart news executive Steve Bannon.
The chief of staff position appears to be down to a choice between Steve Bannon and Reince Preibus.
Trump gave a brief statement:
“Together this outstanding group of advisors, 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,” the president elect said. “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.”
Buckle up everyone, this is going to be a shitshow of an administration.