“Personnel is policy,” said Scott Reed, a Washington establishment fixture and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s top political strategist. “We’re going to be watching those first couple of appointments. It will set the tone on what kind of relationship the president-elect will have with the town.”
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Saturday that a chief of staff announcement was “imminent,” telling reporters that Priebus was interested in the job and is one of several candidates Trump is considering.
So far, Trump has sent mixed signals. He selected Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who is regarded as an advocate of inclusion and a bridge to the Washington establishment and conservative think tanks, to lead the transition. He has populated his transition teams with experienced hands for areas including national security, intelligence and military.
“You don’t want to get in an echo chamber, where you only have ‘yes’ people and you don’t have any contrary thinking,” said former Republican congressman Benjamin Quayle.