Republicans Reject Rumors on Trump Administration
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — Republicans on Capitol Hill dismissed reports of turmoil in President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team as rumors Wednesday.
Sources have described the transition process to CNN as a “knife fight,” with Trump allies jockeying for top national security positions in his administration.
Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) said nobody really knows what is going on inside the transition effort, and the public needs to have some patience.
“Let’s look at the whole makeup of this new administration once it becomes known,” Jenkins said.
With 4,000 federal jobs for the new administration to fill, there will be a lot more names thrown around in the coming months.
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) also called for patience rather than the boundless speculation that has occupied the media all week.
“We need to give the president-elect and his team some time,” he said.
Having Vice President-elect Mike Pence heading up the transition gives him confidence, but he acknowledged the process will sometimes look disorganized.
“Every transition…has always been at some point considered to be in chaos or turmoil,” Chabot said.
So far, Trump has only announced the appointment of chief of staff Reince Priebus and senior strategist Steve Bannon. Decisions are expected soon on secretary of state and other prominent cabinet positions.
Trump needs to select aides and cabinet members who will work well with his unique style, said Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), and Priebus is a good unifying choice for chief of staff.
“The new president will pick people who represent our country well for all of those positions,” he said.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) met with Priebus on Wednesday morning and gave some advice, but he said Trump will have to make these decisions for himself and choose people he trusts for top positions.
“They’re taking my input, they’re asking me questions,” Nunes said.
Nunes has not been offered a position in the Trump administration, but he is not currently planning to give up his congressional seat.
“What I’ve said to the Trump team is that I’m very happy where I’m at… I have every intention to stay in Congress at this time,” he said.
On Wednesday, Trump denied reports of problems in the transition process on Twitter and accused the media of spreading false stories.
Democrats find some of the names reported for potential cabinet slots, including former New York Gov. Rudy Giuliani, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, disturbing.
“I fear a cabinet of horrors,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA).
Connolly said Trump’s selection of Bannon, former head of Breitbart News, as senior strategist “reaffirms those fears that this isn’t going to be a unity government but instead doubles down on the divisiveness and bigotry we saw in the campaign.”
He listed several racist, misogynistic, and anti-Semitic headlines published on Breitbart and called Trump’s decision to put Bannon in the position Karl Rove held in the George W. Bush White House “troubling.”
“Who can be proud of that? Who can feel the election mandated that?” he said. “I hope nobody.”
Connolly is also concerned by reports of prominent Republican national security experts being rebuffed by the Trump team. Former State Department official Eliot Cohen advised his fellow Republicans to stay away, tweeting, “They're angry, arrogant, screaming ‘you LOST!’”
Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) signed a letter calling for Trump to withdraw Bannon’s appointment.
“I think he’s someone that brings a lot of baggage that’s not helpful…not a great way to start,” she said.
Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) was less diplomatic in her assessment of Bannon.
“This guy is a bigot, he’s a racist, he’s an anti-Semite," she said. "He has no place in the White House at all.”
“Those aren’t American values,” said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR). She added that his selection "does not bode well" for the direction the Trump administration intends to take the country.
Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) said he has no concerns about Trump’s transition team and he expects the new administration to work hard on implementing the agenda Trump laid out in his campaign.
“Elections have consequences,” he said.