Trump shapes White House, hires establishment figure, firebrand

President-elect Donald Trump was weighing contenders for other top jobs in his administration after choosing Washington insider Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and firebrand outsider Stephen Bannon as senior counselor.

Less than a week after his upset win over Democrat Hillary Clinton in last Tuesday's presidential election, Trump's choice on Sunday of Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman and friend of House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, could help him repair his strained relations with members of the Republican Party establishment.

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White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon speaks with White House chief of staff Reince Priebus before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and White House Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks walk along the colonnade ahead of a joint press conference by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (R) and Senior Counselor Steve Bannon board Air Force One at West Palm Beach International airport in West Palm Beach, Florida U.S., February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon (L) and senior aide Kellyanne Conway speak at meeting hosted by Trump with cyber security experts in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
FILE PHOTO: Chief White House strategist Steve Bannon (L) sits with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (C) and senior advisor Stephen Miller during a swearing-in ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump (L-R), joined by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, senior advisor Steve Bannon, Communications Director Sean Spicer and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump signs a memorandum to security services directing them to defeat the Islamic State in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017. Pictured with him are White House senior advisor Steve Bannon (L-R), National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Vice President Mike Pence, Deputy National Security Advisor K. T. McFarland, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, National Security Council Chief of Staff Keith Kellogg and senior advisor Kellyanne Conway. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist for US President-elect Donald Trump, talks on the phone outside Trump Tower in New York on December 9, 2016.

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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (R) and senior counselor Steve Bannon (L) hold meetings at the Mar-a-lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. December 28, 2016.

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon is pictured backstage during a campaign event in Eau Claire, Wisconsin U.S. November 1, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon (R) is pictured talking to a reporter after a campaign event in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. October 29, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegr's)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon holds a campaign rally the Reno-Sparks Convention Center November 5, 2016 in Reno, Nevada. With less than a week before Election Day in the United States, Trump and his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, are campaigning in key battleground states that each must win to take the White House.

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon (C) listens to Trump speak during his final campaign rally on Election Day in the Devos Place November 8, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Trump's marathon last day of campaigning stretched past midnight and into Election Day.

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Steve Bannon gets off the plane with US President-elect Donald Trump arrives at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Kentucky, for the start of the 'USA Thank You Tour' at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016.

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Steve Bannon, chief strategist for Donal Trump, leaves after the motorcade of US President-elect arrived at Trump Tower on December 10, 2016 in New York.

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Steve Bannon, (L) chief strategist for Donal Trump, exits Trump Tower on December 13, 2016 in New York.

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Steve Bannon, senior counselor to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, arrives to attend meetings between Trump and business leaders at the Mar-a-lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. December 28, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

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But Trump also named Bannon, the combative former head of the right-wing website Breitbart News, as his strategist and senior counselor. The statement said Bannon and Priebus would be "working as equal partners to transform the federal government."

The choice of each man could anger a segment of Trump's supporters. Hardline Trump backers who were counting on Trump to keep his campaign promise to "drain the swamp" of business-as-usual Washington insiders may be disappointed he has named Priebus to the chief of staff position, which serves as a gatekeeper and agenda-setter for the president.

More traditional Republicans may be wary of the pick of rabble-rouser Bannon for a top White House job.

Trump, in a statement, said Bannon and Priebus were both "highly qualified leaders" who helped him win the White House race.

President Barack Obama, whom Trump will succeed on Jan. 20, plans to hold a news conference on Monday at 3:15 p.m. (2015 GMT) before leaving on an international trip. The Democratic president, who has pledged a smooth transition with Trump despite their sharp political differences, is sure to be asked by reporters about Trump's appointments.

Democrats sharply criticized the Bannon appointment. Representative Adam Schiff tweeted: "Selection of Steve Bannon for senior WH role unsurprising but alarming. His alt-right, anti-Semitic & misogynistic views don't belong in WH."

'DON'T BE AFRAID'

Since the election, Trump has softened one of his major campaign promises, the vow to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. In an interview with the CBS program "60 Minutes" that aired on Sunday, Trump said he would accept fencing instead of a brick-and-mortar wall.

"But certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I'm very good at this, it's called construction, there could be some fencing," the New York real estate developer said. In the "60 Minutes" interview, Trump also sought to play down the divisive nature of his candidacy and said Americans alarmed by his election had nothing to fear. "Don't be afraid. We are going to bring our country back. But certainly, don't be afraid," he said.

The president-elect and his transition team must now turn to other key decisions, choosing members of his Cabinet and the heads of federal agencies.

Among those reported to be under consideration for top posts are former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as a possible secretary of state or secretary of health and human services; Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser under President George W. Bush, as a possible defense secretary; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as attorney general; and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as interior secretary.

Priebus is a longtime Wisconsin political operative who was credited with marshaling party resources for Trump's White House bid.

Bannon could hardly be more different. He spearheaded Breitbart's shift into a forum for the so-called alt-right, a loose online confederation of neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Over the past year, the website also repeatedly attacked the Republican Party establishment including Priebus' friend Ryan, alienating many veteran Republicans.

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The Breitbart attacks on Ryan continued even on Sunday, with an article denouncing Ryan's Sunday comment on CNN that "we are not planning on erecting a deportation force."

"Speaker Ryan is now telling voters that he will not enact a central part of Trump's mandate," the Breitbart article by Julia Hahn said.

In the "60 Minutes" interview, Trump said he would move to deport up to 3 million immigrants in the country illegally who have criminal records.

Demonstrators in major U.S. cities took to the streets for a fifth straight day on Sunday to protest against Trump.

(Editing by Caren Bohan and Peter Cooney)

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