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Pence to lead Trump transition team, replacing Christie as chairman

November 11, 2016

Vice President-elect and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will lead President-elect Donald Trump's transition team, replacing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Trump picked his transition chairman and other leaders Friday. It's his biggest staffing announcement since he won the election this week.

Christie will serve as a vice chairman, as will former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

The move comes after Trump’s surprise victory Tuesday gave way to the urgent task of planning how to fill thousands of administration jobs ahead of his January inauguration.

In a statement, 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 took a political hit just before the election when two former allies were convicted on charges stemming from the George Washington Bridge traffic plot.

The statement said more than a dozen other people will also advise Trump on transition matters. They include some of Trump's children and former Breitbart news executive Steve Bannon.

The release said the following will serve as members of the transition team executive committee:

-Congressman Lou Barletta
-Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn
-Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
-Congressman Chris Collins
-Jared Kushner
-Congressman Tom Marino
-Rebekah Mercer
-Steven Mnuchin
-Congressman Devin Nunes
-Anthony Scaramucci
-Peter Thiel
-Donald Trump Jr.
-Eric Trump
-Ivanka Trump
-RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
-Trump Campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon

After ending his own failed campaign for president, Christie emerged as one of Trump's most enthusiastic supporters. He nearly became Trump's running mate but was edged out by Pence.

Trump and Christie grew apart through the last stretch of the campaign. The governor became increasingly frustrated that Trump wouldn't listen to his advice, particularly over the response to the release of a 1995 video in which the businessman is heard making predatory comments about women.

Christie is also facing calls for impeachment in New Jersey following the conviction of two former aides in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial. Christie has denied any knowledge of the lane closures until weeks or months after they occurred in September 2013.

The governor was notably absent from the steady stream of advisers entering Trump's eponymous skyscraper in New York for meetings Friday. Among the first decisions facing the president-elect is whom to choose as chief of staff, a key post that will set the tone for Trump's White House and be a key conduit to Capitol Hill and Cabinet agencies.

Trump is said to be considering Steve Bannon, his campaign chairman and a conservative media executive, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for the role. Neither has significant policy experience, though Priebus is well-liked in Washington and has deep ties with key lawmakers.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, is also said to be in the mix for a senior job. Conway is a veteran Republican pollster who formed a strong rapport with the candidate after taking the helm of his campaign in the general election.

While Trump has long led a large business, the scope of the federal government exceeds any of his previous endeavors. Those around Trump, who is known as a hands-on executive, say he'll likely have to make adjustments in his leadership style and decision-making, including more delegating.

Trump has chafed at that a bit, but he has signaled willingness to relinquish some but not all, personal control. He also seems reluctant to expand his core group of aides beyond the inner circle with whom he feels comfortable.

 

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