Editorial: Trump's picks chart the sharp course he is setting for the US

President-elect Donald Trump waves before turning to enter Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse. Photo / AP
President-elect Donald Trump waves before turning to enter Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse. Photo / AP

The contours of Donald Trump's White House administration are emerging.

The president-elect is marching on with his take-no-prisoners attitude and sending a clear message to the world that a very different United States - at home and abroad - is taking shape from the consensus approach preferred by the departing Barack Obama.

Trump's early choices would appear to reward loyalty and satisfy his political base. He has not shrunk from controversy, naming a divisive figure in the form of Stephen Bannon as his chief White House strategist, and keeping his family close in the loop of power politics despite the ethical issues involved.

Trump's three eldest children - Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric Trump, as well as Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner - all serve on the team guiding the transition to power. This is legal, and the Clintons worked a similar arrangement when President Bill Clinton employed his wife Hillary to get some early traction.

Things could get interesting should the Trump family stay beyond the transition, and become part of their father's ruling clique.

Bannon's appointment was denounced by Democrats, who accused him of racist, anti-Semitic and misogynist views. The veteran Senator Harry Reid went as far as to call Bannon a "champion of white supremacy" whose hiring undermined Trump's election night call for national unity.

As if to confirm the case against Bannon, David Duke, former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, called the choice "excellent" and said Trump's right-hand man was "basically creating the ideological aspects of where we're going."

The man who will have the new president's ear is a former Golden Sachs banker and naval officer who made a fortune investing in Seinfeld, a show which built a big liberal following.

Trump pulled Bannon into his election campaign at a late stage from his role as executive chairman of the Breitbart News Network, parent company of the far-right website Breitbart News, which makes no bones about championing extreme causes.

Its agenda serves young men who believe in white supremacy, have no truck with immigration, feminism or multiculturalism and appear to enjoy baiting Jews, Muslims and other minorities.

Bannon's defenders insist the outrage is confected by election losers still smarting after the White House prize was snatched from their grasp.

Trump has tapped retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn to be his top national security adviser. A former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Flynn has referred to Islam as "a cancer," claimed that a "fear of Muslims is rational" and warned - despite a lack of evidence - that Sharia or Islamic law is spreading throughout the US.

His choice for Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions, has backed Trump's call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigrants and has suggested that a "toxic ideology" lies at the root of Islam.

The politican lined up for the CIA is Mike Pompeo, a hard-nosed Kansas congressman and former Army tank officer who was relentless in his pursuit of Hillary Clinton over the atttack on the US embassy in Libya.

Trump made no secret of his intention to shake up Washington. His early appointments show has laid down markers where he intends to go.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 28 Feb 2017 00:57:49 Processing Time: 779ms