Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus
Reince Priebus (L), Donald Trump (C) and Stephen Bannon (R)Reuters

United States President-elect Donald J. Trump chose the first top two positions in his administration, picking Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as the White House Chief of Staff and his presidential campaign manager Stephen Bannon as the Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President.

A statement was released on Sunday announcing Trump's decision stating that Priebus and Bannon "will continue the effective leadership team they formed during the campaign, working as equal partners to transform the federal government, making it much more efficient, effective and productive."

"Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory. Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again," Trump said in the statement.

Priebus' appointment as the chief of staff suggests that Trump wants to consider a more conventional approach of governing compared to the one taken in his rebellious presidential campaign. Priebus, an attorney, is viewed as a deal maker by grassroots activists who would push Trump to make compromises when it comes to key issues like immigration, trade, taxes, environment and healthcare.

Priebus said that he looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and Bannon "to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism."

Priebus is also good friends with House Speaker Paul Ryan, which could mean speedy legislative victories for the Trump administration. Bannon, however, has consistently criticised Ryan and the Republican "establishment."

Bannon, former Goldman Sachs banker and investor in television shows, is also the executive chairman of Breitbart News website, which is notorious for sending out racist messages and is popular among white nationals who are deemed "alt-right".

"We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda," Bannon said in a statement.

Controversies involving Stephen Bannon

  • The news may not be in favour of women's issues as the United States is soon going to have a President who has been accused of sexual assault, and Bannon as his chief advisor who was once formally charged for domestic abuse.
  • Bannon's has published several provocative and at times factually incorrect articles targeting immigrants, women, gays, minorities and overweight people. The website also carries a section titled 'Black Crime.' The website has also accused President Barack Obama for "importing more hating Muslims" and has compared Planned Parenthood's work to the Holocaust.