Vice President-elect Mike Pence ordered all lobbyists out of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team Tuesday.
After signing the documents putting him charge of the team, one of Pence’s first orders of business was to purge it of all lobbyists, a member of the transition team told The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was systematically replacing everyone brought on by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who originally headed up the transition team.
The shakeup is perceived as evidence of a disordered and haphazard transition effort in the press, although the Trump camp says it’s going smoothly. “Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!”
Matthew Freedman, the man heading up the plans for the White House National Security Council, and former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, previously thought to be a candidate to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, were also ousted from the team Tuesday. Frank Gaffney, who worked in the Ronald Reagan administration, was brought on to advise on national security issues, as well as Republican Reps. Pete Hoekstra and Devin Nunes.
Christie was fired from the transition team following Trump’s win in a move that came as a “shock” to people within his circle. Trump’s closest advisers reportedly found him insufficiently loyal in the final weeks of the campaign, reports The Washington Post. Kushner in particular was unhappy with how he was running the transition. Christie prosecuted Kushner’s father in a 2005 trial, when he was sentenced to two years in prison for tax evasion and witness tampering.
Pence will now take the lead on the massive 10-week process of filling Trump’s administration.
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