President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday announced that Steven Bannon, former chairman of Breitbart News, will serve as his chief strategist and senior counsel.
The announcement came by way of a statement sent by Trump’s transition team that said that Bannon and Reince Priebus — who was named chief of staff in the statement — would work as “equal partners” in a continuation of “the effective leadership team they formed during the campaign.”
The chief of staff traditionally sets the tone in the White House, acts as gatekeeper to the Oval Office and is typically the first and last person the president talks to each day. The chief of staff also acts as a liaison for the president and Capitol Hill.
Priebus, the chair of the Republican National Committee and close friend to follow Wisconsinite House Speaker Paul Ryan, is the logical choice for the position. Priebus also has deep ties top congressional leaders by virtue of his chairmanship.
Priebus also has had substantial experience appearing in public, especially in media interviews, a role which does not traditionally make up a large part of the position. However, in Trump’s new approach to the position, that is likely to change.
A Trump campaign source speaking to Yahoo said about Bannon:
“I mean the guy clearly knows how to get things going, how to get a message going, and how to push that and layer it so those things are going to take root. That’s something people are going to like. I mean, clearly, that’s how he’s built Breitbart and how he acts on the morning calls for the campaign. When we’re talking about messages, he’ll say, ‘Let’s jump on this story … Let’s start talking about this. It’s going to be huge and we’ve got to go big on it.”
Bannon is among the most controversial figures in Trump’s campaign and now, his government. As chairman of Breitbart News, he is seen by many as the main connection Trump has to the Alt Right and White Nationalists.