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Trump’s Picks: Sean Spicer for Press Secretary, Mick Mulvaney for OMB, Kellyanne Conway for Senior Counselor

The latest round of Trump picks

Sean Spicer, Reince’s buttboy, got Press Secretary:

“Top transition aides will serve as senior members of the incoming White House communications staff, including Republican National Committee strategist Sean Spicer as press secretary, President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday.

Spicer, Hope Hicks, Jason Miller and Dan Scavino will all serve in the West Wing as assistants to the president. Hicks will merge Trump’s legislative agenda with communications, with her formal role being strategic communications director. Miller will lead the administration’s communications efforts as communications director, and Scavino is in charge of social media as social media director …”

I’m not exactly thrilled about it, but it is only White House Press Secretary. Trump’s core team – Hope Hicks, Jason Miller and Dan Scavino – all got communications posts.

Kellyanne Conway will be a senior counselor:

“WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Kellyanne Conway, the Republican pollster and strategist who helped guide President-elect Donald J. Trump to victory in November, will be appointed counselor to the president, becoming the highest-ranking woman in his White House, the transition team announced early Thursday.

Ms. Conway, who took over as campaign manager in August, shortly after Mr. Trump clinched the Republican nomination, guided her candidate through a brutal and divisive campaign, often appearing on television to vouch for him during periods of scandal or controversy.

In a statement, Mr. Trump said Ms. Conway would continue her role as a “close adviser,” responsible for helping to carry out his priorities and deliver his message from inside the White House. …”

No real surprise here. This is already the status quo.

Carl Icahn will advise Trump on regulatory reform:

“Wall Street maven Carl Icahn will advise President-elect Trump on matters of regulatory reform, giving the famed investor a key say in how his own industry is monitored.

Icahn will advise Trump on regulatory topics as an individual, not as a federal employee and won’t have any specific duties, according to a release from the Trump transition team. But it’s clear Icahn and Trump agree on what needs to be done – reduce rules. …”

Trump repeatedly name dropped Carl Icahn as one of his “killers” during the primaries. So, this too doesn’t really come as a surprise. It is nothing to be upset or outraged about.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a Tea Party/Freedom Caucus fiscal conservative, got OMB:

“WASHINGTON — When the government was hours away from shutting down in 2011, Representative Mick Mulvaney gathered with his three fellow South Carolina Republican freshmen in a Capitol Hill chapel to seek spiritual guidance on how to vote on a measure to keep the lights on. The verdict: Vote “no.”

These tight-knit South Carolinians have since gone their own ways professionally. Tim Scott is now a senator. Trey Gowdy became a conservative hero as he led a House committee to study the 2012 attack in Benghazi. And Jeff Duncan has become a social media voice for the right.

On Saturday, President-elect Donald J. Trump said he would nominate Mr. Mulvaney, a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — the group that led the takedown of John A. Boehner as speaker — to be his budget director. “He’s a tremendous talent, especially when it comes to numbers and budgets,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.

In Mr. Mulvaney, Mr. Trump has chosen for the Office of Management and Budget a spending hard-liner to join an economic team that could be ideologically in conflict, setting up possible collisions during major policy-making next year. …”

Mulvaney sucks on immigration. This could be a problem if he becomes a penny pincher on the Trump Wall. Then again, it is unlikely that key issue will come down to a Mulvaney budget.

Peter Navarro is the most interesting new pick:

“WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald J. Trump on Wednesday named a strident China critic, Peter Navarro, to lead a new White House office overseeing American trade and industrial policy, in the latest sign that Mr. Trump is moving to reshape relations between the world’s two largest economies. …

Mr. Navarro, 67, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, who holds a doctorate from Harvard, is the only credentialed economist in Mr. Trump’s inner circle. He is the author of a series of jeremiads, including a 2012 documentary film, “Death by China,” in which an animation of a Chinese knife stabs a map of the United States and causes blood to run freely. Mr. Navarro has said that China is effectively waging an economic war by subsidizing exports to the United States and impeding imports from it. Mr. Trump, influenced by Mr. Navarro’s work, described this on the campaign trail as “the greatest theft in the history of the world.”

Mr. Trump has said he will persuade Beijing to change its policies by applying pressure, including designating China a currency manipulator; enforcing existing trade laws more vigorously; and, if necessary, imposing a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports. In a statement, Mr. Trump described Mr. Navarro as “a visionary economist” and said he would “develop trade policies that shrink our trade deficit, expand our growth and help stop the exodus of jobs from our shores.” …

A wide range of economists have warned that curtailing trade with China would damage the American economy, forcing consumers to pay higher prices for goods and services. Experts on manufacturing also doubt that the government can significantly increase factory employment, noting that mechanization is the major reason fewer people are working in factories.

Mr. Navarro’s appointment reinforces a basic division among Mr. Trump’s economic advisers. The people he has chosen to oversee trade policy, Mr. Navarro and Wilbur Ross, another billionaire investor, both favor increased trade restrictions. …”

Sounds exciting.

Erick Erickson was bitching this morning that Trump appears to be serious about his views on free-trade.

Note: Michael Brendan Dougherty and David French are right though that the #TruCons got a lot more out of the Cabinet than we expected. We will wait and see how that plays out next year. If Trump, Bannon and Miller are calling the shots on strategy and policy, it might not matter much.