President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday tweeted a denial to the reports that his transition team is in turmoil as the scramble continues for some of the most high-profile Cabinet and West Wing staff positions.
His transition team has been marked by some high-profile change-ups since his election last week. Vice President-elect Mike Pence took over the transition team on Friday from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who had been one of Trump’s closest surrogates on the campaign trail. One of Christie’s closest allies on the transition team, Mike Rogers, also left the team Tuesday.
The transition team, sources told CBS News, is “stalled...scrambling...and on pause.”
The Wall Street Journal earlier this week reported that Trump had been blindsided about the sheer magnitude of creating a new West Wing staff.
Meanwhile, a number of reports have surfaced about some of the most high-profile Cabinet positions, and as Mr. Trump pointed out in his tweet, the president-elect is apparently “the only one who knows who the finalists are” for those top positions. While Newt Gingrich had first been floated as a possibility for secretary of state, he is no longer being considered, sources say. With his name off the list of contenders, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are now being considered for the nation’s top diplomat. Christie and Giuliani had been considered top contenders to be attorney general, and now it’s Sen. Jeff Sessions -- another close ally from the campaign trail -- who is the top contender, sources have said. Giuliani, at a Wall Street Journal election forum Monday said he wouldn’t be attorney general.
Trump’s first two major appointments seemed to point to two different indications of what a Trump presidency would be like. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus -- a member of the GOP establishment -- has been named as chief of staff, while Stephen Bannon -- who was the CEO of Brietbart.com before he was named chairman of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign -- has been named as chief White House strategist.