A Bipolar White House
By Isaac Cohen*
The appointment by President-elect Donald Trump of his closest collaborators, Reince Preibus and Stephen Bannon, indicates the decision making style that may prevail during his mandate.
Mr. Preibus has been the chairman of the Republican National Committee since 2011 and is from Wisconsin, as is the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Appointed White House Chief of Staff, Mr. Priebus is a party cadre who will occupy one of the most powerful positions in government, which supervises staff, sets strategy, executes the President’s vision, controls access and serves as adviser.
Mr. Bannon was appointed chief strategist and senior counselor. He is a former naval officer and Goldman Sachs partner, producer of conservative documentaries and executive chairman of Breibart News, a nativist, pugnacious website supportive of the President-elect throughout the campaign. Mr. Bannon joined the last leg of the Trump campaign as chief executive, or as described by colleagues as “the general of the campaign.” In the White House, as chief strategist and senior counselor, Mr. Bannon’s job will be less operative, more conceptual. As he did during the campaign, he will provide an outsider’s perspective, including alternative rightist views to those of the Republican Party elite.
Appointing these two providers of different perspectives, one close to the Republican elite and the other representing alternatives to the right of the party leadership, certainly looks like a bipolar structure, which apparently worked smoothly during the campaign.
The only way such a setup can work is if the President-elect functions as “supreme arbiter,” according to the ancient saying “divide et impera.”
*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, TELEMUNDO and UNIVISION.. Former Director, UNECLAC Washington.