NEW YORK, Nov 16 (APP): US President-elect Donald Trump has defended his handling of the transition to the presidency, amid reports of disarray in his team.
Trump, who will be inaugurated on 20 January 2017, has yet to announce any nominations to his cabinet, however, the daunting task appears to be chaotic with competing forces jockeying for position and influence in the incoming administration.
But Trump tweeted that the process of selecting his new cabinet and other positions was very organized.
US media say two senior members of the transition team working on national security have been forced out.
Trump, a billionaire businessman and Republican outsider, won an
unexpected victory against Hillary Clinton in the Nov 8 national elections.
News reports focused on Last week’s ouster of New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie as the head of the transition team set in motion other departures, particularly in the area of national security. Trump replaced Christie with Vice-President-elect Mike Pence.
Pence reportedly purged the transition team of all lobbyists, while Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner dismissed two people with ties to Christie.
Former Republican congressman Mike Rogers stepped down as the
transition’s senior national security adviser late on Tuesday without any explanation.
Rogers, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the
leading candidate for CIA director, was among at least four key transition officials who have been purged this week apparently over perceived ties to Christie, The New York Times said.
The disarray has left government agencies unable to communicate with
Trump transition team officials tasked with replacing them and their staff.
It also caused senior Republicans to question Trump’s handling of the
task and his choices for top positions. While Trump has yet to announce any nominations,
sources have named a number of allies who stuck with the businessman throughout his bombastic campaign.
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is among Trump’s most loyal allies, wants to be in charge of Trump’s State Department. The New York Times published a strong editorial, saying Giuliani lacked experience in foreign affairs and was unfit for the job.
A source told The Hill that Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson has
been strongly advocating for Giuliani to have a top position inside the Trump administration. Giuliani is a pro-Israel hawk, which would make him a top choice for the Jewish casino owner.
Adelson is also advocating for John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, to assume a major foreign policy or national security role under Trump.
Trump’s transition team is considering Senator Ted Cruz, an ultra conservative, as the next attorney general, Bloomberg Politics reported.
Cruz, who ran a bitter presidential primary campaign against Trump, has visited the president-elect to offer assistance during the transition talks.
Media reports say Mr Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser Jared
Kushner was behind the change in the leadership of the transition team. Christie was New Jersey attorney general when Kushner’s father was tried and jailed in the state for tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions and witness tampering in 2004.
Donald Trump has spent the week since his election holed up in the
Manhattan skyscraper that bears his name. He’s been looking to fill key posts in his cabinet, but the early indications are it’s proving a less- than-straightforward task. There have already been calls for Trump to rescind one of the appointments he has made that of the former head of the right wing Breitbart website Steve Bannon as senior White House adviser. Following a day of meetings, and a reassurance from his press spokesman that he would be staying in for the evening, Trump took to a New York steak house for dinner with his family last night a break with protocol which left some reporters speculating that he might not be fully comfortable with the sort of scrutiny that comes with the presidency.