As Donald Trump transitions into the White House, those familiar with the process are describing sharp internal disagreements over key cabinet appointments and direction.
The in-fighting consumes all facets of the transition both for internal West Wing positions and key national security posts, according to sources speaking to CNN.
One of the sources with internal knowledge described the process as a “knife fight.” The split has put traditional Republican operatives such as Reince Priebus, Trump’s newly named chief of staff, against the non-government people deeply involved in the campaign, such as Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart News chief who is now Trump’s senior counsel.
The lack of clarity about the division of power among Priebus, Bannon and Jared Kushner — Trump’s son in law — is receiving particular attention. For his part, Donald Trump has said publicly that Priebus and Bannon are to work as equal partners, which does not help the rife.
Another source close to the transition has described the resulting problems as nothing short of “buffoonery.”
Mike Pence, the vice-president elect and new leader of the transition team, will be at Trump Tower in new York on Tuesday to meet with Trump and discuss the possible nominees.
At the same time, Trump is considering key appointments in the national security and diplomatic sectors, including secretary of state, with mainstream conservatives pushing John Bolton and Trump seemingly loyal to Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and former Department of Justice prosecutor. And that’s just the beginning of the numerous top government positions, such as attorney general and national security advisor, that are subject to significant infighting among widely contrasting ideologies.
No matter who gets what job, the process is sure to be nothing short of a ‘knife fight,’ and the resulting appointments to be nothing short of unconventional to say the least.