In a surprise shake-up, Donald Trump’s transition team announced that Vice President-elect Mike Pence will take over the reins as the team prepares to enter the White House and begin building a cabinet.
Since May, transition efforts have been led by Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), who will now be demoted to vice-chairman of the transition team, along with retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, reports The New York Times.
By removing Christie from the top spot, the transition team gets to avoid any publicity or controversy surrounding the conviction of some of the New Jersey governor’s top aides for closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge as political payback to a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse Christie’s re-election campaign.
Trump said in a statement that he was appointing Pence to the top job because of his experience as a former Congressman and governor who has strong relationships with Republicans in Congress and Republican governors.
“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,” Trump said in a statement. “Together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding this nation — specifically jobs, security and opportunity.”
Others who have been added to the transition team include Rick Dearborn, the chief of staff to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Stephen Bannon, Trump’s campaign chairman, Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Peter Thiel, the openly gay co-founder of PayPal, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and members of the Trump family, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
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