Vice President-elect Mike Pence has purged lobbyists placed in key transition leadership roles by Chris Christie, the former head of Trump’s transition team. With Christie demoted and his work erased, the VP-elect promises to build a cabinet in line with Trump’s outsider campaign.
FOX News Pence signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday, formally placing him in charge of the transition team after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was removed from the position by Donald Trump last week.
During his time heading the transition team, Christie placed a number of lobbyists, former bureaucrats, academics and corporate lawyers in key leadership positions, alienating many Trump allies who felt their inclusion conflicted with Trump’s pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington, DC.
Upon replacing Christie, Pence immediately ordered the removal of lobbyists and other Christie-appointed figures from the transition team. The decision to remove the lobbyists “makes good on [Trump’s] vision of how he wants his government constructed.”
Among those who departed Trump’s transition team Tuesday was former Rep. Mike Rogers, a former Representative from Michigan and chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence recruited by Christie, left his position advising the transition team on national security issues. Corporate and foreign government lobbyist Matthew Freedman was also removed.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Frank Gaffney, a former defense official in the Reagan administration, had been brought in to assist on national security issues, along with Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and former Rep. Pete Hoekstra.
Trump’s transition team was also reviewing secretary of state candidate Rudy Giuliani’s paid consulting work for foreign governments, which could delay a nomination or bump Giuliani to a different position, according to a person briefed on the matter but not authorized to speak publicly about it. It is reported that Sen. Ted Cruz is also being considered for Attorney General.
Richard Bagger, Christie’s former chief of staff who had been executive director of the transition, and New Jersey Republican William Palatucci, who served as the transition’s general counsel, were also removed from their positions. Former GOP national security official Eliot Cohen blasted Trump’s team on Twitter, calling them “angry, arrogant.”
The mainstream media has been quick to pounce on the transition team’s “state of disarray” due to “firings, infighting,” rather than praise Trump’s efforts to purge his transition team of lobbyists placed in positions by an establishment Republican.
The mainstream media’s glee in covering the supposed turmoil in the transition would be less ridiculous had that very same mainstream media not flipped out over Donald Trump’s decision to go for dinner with his family in New York City without first informing the press.