President-elect Donald Trump is shaking up his transition team as he plunges into setting up his administration, an enormous undertaking that likely requires him to alter his hands-on management style and consider going outside his small, insular group of loyalists.
Source: 1 NEWS
Vice President-elect Mike Pence is now heading the operations, a demotion for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who had been running the Republican's transition planning for months.
The scramble is on to identify people for top White House jobs and Cabinet posts, a herculean task that must be well in hand by the time Trump is inaugurated on January 20.
For Trump, who ran on a pledge to "drain the swamp" of Washington insiders, the team is strikingly heavy on those with long political resumes.
Another apparent contradiction emerged this week as Trump, who repeatedly vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act "on Day One," said he would be open to maintaining portions of President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement.
In a statement on Friday, Trump said Pence would "build on the initial work" done by Christie.
"Together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding this nation — specifically jobs, security and opportunity," Trump said.
Christie was a loyal adviser to Trump for much of the campaign, offered a key early endorsement and came close to being the businessman's pick for running mate.
But Trump ultimately went with Pence, Indiana's governor and a former congressman with Washington experience and deep ties to conservatives.
In a statement, Christie said he was "proud to have run the pre-election phase" of the transition team and thanked Trump for the "opportunity to continue to help lead."
Christie will still be involved in the transition, joining a cluster of other steadfast Trump supporters serving as vice chairs: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.
In addition, three of Trump's adult children — Don Junior, Eric and Ivanka — are on the transition executive committee, along with Jared Kushner, Ivanka's husband.
The children's inclusion raises questions about the role the Trump family will play in the White House — as well as Trump's ability to sever ties between the administration and the sprawling family business — after the celebrity businessman repeatedly said during the campaign that his grown children would not follow him to Washington and instead run the Trump Organisation.