ANALYSIS: Priebus, Bannon Appointments Point Toward Split Approach to Trump Presidency
Donald Trump once famously declared that there are two Donald Trumps. If that carries through to his presidency, both will be represented at the highest levels of the Trump White House.
Sunday’s unusual announcement of Steve Bannon as chief strategist and chief counselor, and Reince Priebus as chief of staff, suggests that the president-elect is crafting a split approach to governance.
The inside game is set to be run by Priebus, whose savvy as a manager was cemented by the wide election gains by Republicans last week. The Republican National Committee chairman warred on and off with Trump during the campaign. Yet he maintained strong relationships with GOP insiders and elected officials – and proved his loyalty to Trump in the end.
The outside game appears likely to be the territory of Bannon, whose stewardship of the late-stage campaign found Trump the stride he carried to victory. Bannon brings a more confrontational nature along with solid credentials in right-wing media circles, stemming from his leadership at Breitbart News.
The two men’s relationships with a third man – House Speaker Paul Ryan – tells the story of the split approach Trump seems to be crafting. Priebus is close friends and allies with his fellow Wisconsinite. Bannon has led efforts to oust Ryan from power.