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Donald Trump Names Republican Party Chair Priebus as Chief of Staff

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Donald Trump has named Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff to his new administration, marking the first major appointment by the president-elect.

Priebus was picked over others said to be under consideration for this key position, including former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon, a firebrand of the far right, whose website has in the past targeted many GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, deriding them as "establishment" figures.

Bannon was named as chief strategist and senior counselor to the president, according to a statement.

Presidents-elect typically name a chief of staff as one of their first and most crucial appointments because the person in this role can help determine a president's style of governing.

The chief of staff often operates as an interlocutor between the president and other top aides, giving this position a tremendous amount of influence for an appointment that does not require confirmation by the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that Trump's "choice of Steve Bannon as his top aide signals that White Supremacists will be represented at the highest levels in Trump's White House."

"It is easy to see why the KKK views Trump as their champion," he adds, "when Trump appoints one of the foremost peddlers of White Supremacist themes and rhetoric as his top aide."

The Anti-Defamation League also opposed Bannon's appointment, saying that "he and his alt-right are so hostile to core American values."

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