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Trump election: The people around the president-elect

November 16, 2016 1:16 PM
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As US President-elect Donald Trump makes his transition to the White House, we look at the family members and associates who are part of the team and could have key roles in decision-making during his presidency.

The Indiana governor, 57, is charged with leading the team deciding the key appointments in the new administration.

He is a favourite among social conservatives who boasts considerable experience in Washington.

Mr Pence was raised Catholic along with his five siblings in Columbus, Indiana.

He told the Indianapolis Star in 2012 that liberal icons John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr had inspired him to begin a career in politics.

Describing himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order", he voted for Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1980.

He has said it was not until college when he met his future wife, Karen, at an evangelical church that his views began to shift.

Mr Pence has served as governor of Indiana since 2013 but also has 12 years of legislative experience as a member of the House of Representatives.

During his final two years in Washington, he served as the chair of the House Republican Conference, the third highest-ranking Republican leadership position.

He also chaired the Republican Study Group, a coalition of conservative House Republicans, which could give him a boost with some evangelicals of the party that have questioned Mr Trump's ideological purity, according to the BBC's Anthony Zurcher.

As chairman of the Republican National Committee, he was a bridge between the Republican nominee and a party establishment that was embarrassed by its own presidential standard-bearer.

But he has never held elected office and brings no policy experience to the White House in a role serving as a liaison to cabinet agencies.

Mr Priebus is close to House Speaker Paul Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite, who could be instrumental in steering the new administration's legislative agenda.

Though not a cabinet appointment, Mr Bannon, 62, could wield immense influence behind the scenes as one of Mr Trump's key advisers.

The Breitbart News executive will be the president's senior counsellor, though he will work as "equal partners" with Mr Priebus, creating twin power bases in the West Wing.

A number of critics have accused Mr Bannon, a former Goldman Sachs banker, of promoting extreme views.

The firebrand conservative helped transform Breitbart into the leading mouthpiece of the party's fringe, anti-establishment wing.

The combative site serves up an anti-establishment agenda that critics accuse of xenophobia and misogyny. Under Mr Bannon, it has become one of the most-read conservative news and opinion sites in the US.

Born in Virginia in 1953, Mr Bannon spent four years in the navy before completing an MBA at Harvard. He then went into investment banking and, after a spell with Goldman Sachs, moved successfully into media financing.

He shifted into film production, working in Hollywood before branching out into independent political documentary making, paying homage to former US President Ronald Reagan, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement.

Through this work he met Andrew Breitbart, a staunchly conservative media entrepreneur who wanted to create a site that challenged what he saw as liberal-dominated mainstream media.

When Andrew Breitbart died of a heart attack in 2012, Mr Bannon took over as head of Breitbart News and drove it forward.

At 67, the former US ambassador to the United Nations has years of foreign policy experience.

But he has raised eyebrows with some of his hawkish stances, calling last year for Iran to be bombed in order to halt its nuclear programme.

One of Mr Trump's most ardent surrogates, Mr Giuliani is being mentioned for the post of America's top prosecutor or, more recently, secretary of state.

As New York Mayor during 9/11, he became the face of the city's resilience amid the rubble of the World Trade Center.

He also introduced a police stop-and-frisk policy, which critics said was a form of racial profiling.

Mr Trump, who ran as the law-and-order candidate, has championed the tactic.

Mr Giuliani, a former New York prosecutor, ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

After his own Republican presidential campaign foundered this year, the New Jersey governor promptly endorsed Mr Trump.

The 54-year-old has been mentioned for various posts in the administration, including commerce secretary.

Since presidential cabinet appointments must go before the Senate, confirmation could be problematic while this cloud hangs over him.

The US senator from Alabama is being touted as a possible Pentagon chief.

At his victory bash in New York, Mr Trump said of Mr Sessions, "he is highly respected in Washington because he is as smart as you get".

The 69-year-old was a supporter of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, which Mr Trump recently called "a terrible and stupid thing".

Mr Sessions sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Budget Committee.

The retired three-star US Army lieutenant-general helped Mr Trump connect with veterans despite the candidate's lack of military service.

He says he was forced out of his role as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012-14 because of his views on radical Islam.

During the campaign, he pilloried the Obama administration's approach to the threat posed by the Islamic State group.

Mr Trump himself floated the idea of naming his finance chairman for the post of treasury secretary.

But it is unclear whether Mr Trump's supporters would welcome the idea of handing the levers of national tax policy to a consummate Wall Street insider.

Mr Mnuchin amassed a fortune during his 17 years at Goldman Sachs before founding a movie production company that was behind such box office hits as the X-Men franchise and American Sniper.

However, a Trump aide has also confirmed they have asked JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon to be US Treasury Secretary; it's not clear how he responded.

A former model, born in Slovenia, Melania married Donald Trump in January 2005.

She stood by her husband after video footage emerged during the campaign in which he boasted about groping women. In July 2016 she made headlines after making a speech at the Republican National Convention, which she was accused of plagiarising from one made by Michelle Obama in 2008.

In an October interview with CNN, the 46-year-old was asked what she would change about her husband. She replied: "His tweeting".

Perhaps the best-known of Donald Trump's children, the only daughter of his marriage to Ivana, his first wife. A model in her early years, she is now a vice-president at The Trump Organization and was also a judge on her father's reality TV show The Apprentice.

Her brother Donald Junior says Ivanka, 35, is the favourite child and is referred to as "Daddy's little girl".

She has been given a level of authority in the family business that none of his wives have ever had and she is said to handle some of the company's biggest deals.

As a successful businesswoman and mother, she appealed to female voters who may have been put off by some of Mr Trump's comments about women.

In a speech to the Republican National Congress, she backed her father to support women's rights: "As a mother myself, of three young children, I know how hard it is to work while raising a family. And I also know that I'm far more fortunate than most. American families need relief. Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties, they should be the norm."

Ivanka's husband is the son of a prominent New York property developer and has been the owner of the weekly Observer paper in New York for 10 years.

The quietly spoken 35-year-old has become one of Mr Trump's closest advisers. He exerted a powerful influence over the Trump campaign - including digital strategy and top-level hires - and looks set to carry that clout into the White House.

Usually camera-shy and happy to operate behind the scenes, Mr Kushner is a vastly wealthy property developer and publisher. He owns 666 Fifth Avenue, a skyscraper a few blocks down from Trump Tower, and in 2006, at just 25, he bought the once-venerable New York Observer newspaper.

He has not been given an official position within the Trump administration but Mr Kushner has been named alongside three of Mr Trump's children in the transition team and he is said to have the president-elect's ear.

An Orthodox Jew, he is reported to have angered members of his own family when he wrote a defence of Donald Trump's use of the Star of David in a tweet attacking Hillary Clinton.

Jared Kushner was born and raised in comfort in Livingston, New Jersey, alongside two sisters and a brother. His grandparents had escaped Poland during the war, arriving in the US in 1949, and his father Charles made his fortune as a New Jersey property mogul.

The young Jared won a place at Harvard despite poor grades, according to Daniel Golden, author of The Price of Admissions: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges. In the year of his admission, according to Mr Golden's book, Charles Kushner donated $2.5m to the university, along with similar one-off donations to Cornell and Princeton.

Mr Kushner and Mr Trump share a complete lack of political experience. In his New York Observer editorial, Mr Kushner offered a politics-as-business approach instead.

Donald Trump's daughter by his second wife Marla Maples is a former actress and TV personality.

The 23-year-old is an avid user of both Twitter and Instagram, where her posts depict a glamorous lifestyle.

She kept a relatively low profile during the election campaign but earned her father's praise for her "fantastic" convention speech, in which she said her father was a "natural-born encourager".

Donald Trump's eldest son from his first marriage to Ivana. Now executive vice-president of The Trump Organization, the 38-year-old married Vanessa Haydon after being introduced to her at a fashion show by his father.

His rise has not been free from controversy. His and brother Eric's taste for hunting big game was criticised after photos emerged showing them posing with dead animals including a leopard and a crocodile. Donald Jr was also holding the severed tail of an elephant.

The third child of Mr Trump's marriage to Ivana. Like his siblings, he is also an executive vice-president of the Trump Organization.

He is president of the Trump Winery in Virginia and oversees Trump golf clubs. In 2006, he also set up the Eric Trump Foundation, which has pledged $28m to a research hospital which helps children battling life-threatening diseases.

He may have broken the law on election day by tweeting a picture of his ballot paper, saying it was an "incredible honour to vote for my father".


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