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Chaos Reigns in Trump Transition: 'You Lost!'

Chaos Reigns in Trump Transition: 'You Lost!'


By    |   Tuesday, 15 November 2016 07:09 PM

From reports of transition team infighting to people leaving or declining positions in a Trump administration to a failure to sign a document to allow communication with the Obama White House, a sense of chaos in what already is a hurried process appears to be dogging Donald Trump's transition to power just one week into his surprise victory.

Then there is the case of former State Department official Eliot Cohen, who has changed his advice to fellow Republicans thinking of taking jobs in the Trump White House from do-so-but-carefully to a flat-out "Stay Away."

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers quit the transition team on Tuesday, but disagreed with a report in The Washington Post that he was kicked out, instead saying all his work was finished and the "landing teams" were getting ready to go in.

The Post suggested Rogers might actually have suffered from his tie, albeit very loosely, to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was ousted as head of the transition team on Friday. He was replaced by Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Reports at the time suggested Trump was unhappy that his longtime friend had allowed top aide Bridget Kelly to take the fall for the Bridge-gate scandal. But the Post suggested problems with Christie could have come from his role in prosecuting the father of Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Other people tied to Christie also have been moved out, according to the Post.

Also on Tuesday, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson took his name out of the running for any Cabinet appointments. Carson and Christie were among Trump's rivals for the GOP nomination and ended up joining his team, but Carson said he preferred working as an outside adviser.

Speculation from outside was that Carson wanted to be Health and Human Services secretary or surgeon general, but was instead being considered for Education secretary because someone with more understanding of how bureaucracies work was needed to help repeal and replace Obamacare.

Carson denied in a Facebook post that the "complexity of the job" had anything to do with his decision.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, once considered a top prospect for attorney general, is now considered a leading contender for secretary of state instead.

"I won't be attorney general," the Post quoted Giuliani as saying at a Wall Street Journal event on Monday.

The New York Times reported also that Trump also removed Matthew Freedman, a top defense and foreign policy official, from his team. Freedman had coordinated Trump's calls to world leaders after his election.

Then there is Cohen, the former State Department official who served during the George W. Bush administration.

Cohen has long been among a group of Republicans who publicly expressed disdain for Trump's rise to the party's nomination, but after Trump was elected president on November 8, he wrote at The American Interest that those younger than himself who end up having jobs "dangled in front of them" should say yes, but out of a sense of duty rather than to advance their careers.

But, he added, they should "accept that they will enter an administration likely to be torn by infighting and bureaucratic skullduggery."

Also, he said, they should do as he did when in government and "keep a signed but undated letter of resignation in their desk office" and "not recant a word of what they have said thus far." 



But Cohen changed his advice after what he described as a testy exchange with a friend who is a member of Trump's transition team who had contacted him for suggestions to Trump's national security team.



Cohen told The New York Times that when he "suggested the caveat that many foreign policy hands would enlist only if there were credible people leading national security agencies and departments, he said he received a vituperative email in response."

Cohen said he was surprised by the email's tone, sounding vengeful rather than focusing on filling vital national security jobs with qualified staffers.

"It was accusations that 'you guys are trying to insinuate yourselves into the administration … all of YOU LOST,'" Cohen told The Washington Post of the exchange. "[I]t became clear to me that they view jobs as lollipops, things you give out to good boys and girls."

Cohen also retweeted Foreign Affairs Deputy Managing Editor Justin Vogt's response: 



Fears that infighting might become a hallmark of Trump's administration began on Sunday when he named RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, part of the GOP establishment Trump has railed against, as his chief of staff, while also naming former Breitbart News CEO Stephen Bannon to the essentially co-equal post as chief strategist and chief adviser.

Priebus has sought to calm those fears, defending the media executive against accusations his website played to white nationalist concerns.

"He was a force for good on the campaign," Priebus told "Fox & Friends on Monday. "I haven't seen any of these things that people are crying out about. ... It's a good team, it works."

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From reports of transition team infighting to people leaving or declining positions in a Trump administration to a failure to sign a document to allow communication with the Obama White House, a sense of chaos in what already is a hurried process appears to be dogging...
chaos, donald trump, transition
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 07:09 PM
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