It has been generations since there has been so much uncertainty over how a president-elect would govern. There was little in the campaign to give us much comfort. We saw a stream of outrageous statements, a nasty, bullying demeanor and ridiculous proposals like rounding up 11 million people and excluding Muslims from entering the country. Meanwhile campaign managers came and went with regularity and it often appeared that he was primarily relying on his children.
Recently there have been some hopeful signs. Mike Pence replaced Chris Christie as head of the transition team. The volatile Christie had very limited Washington experience. The much calmer Pence served twelve years in the House, much of it in the leadership.
Far and away the most important pick is chief of staff. Among the many duties are running the White House staff, serving as gatekeeper to the President and dealing with Congress. We hear a lot about the cabinet, but their primary responsibility is to execute decisions made by the White House. He selected Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Keeping the party together this year was a baptism of fire and excellent training for his new position.
I was disappointed that he chose Stephen Bannon to be his chief strategist. Bannon, a former Breitbart executive, is known for his caustic style and association with the far Right fringe. Pence and Priebus will appeal to Trump’s better instincts while Bannon could have the opposite effect.
We still have little idea of what he will be like as president but I think he will be more responsible than he was as a candidate. Of course that is setting the bar pretty low.