All of this means that the 44-year-old Priebus will be at the center of an experiment to determine whether Trump’s singular style of leadership — honed in his family business, displayed on reality television, and used with devastating effect in a presidential campaign that defied every expectation — will transform Washington as Trump promised or prove ineffective when applied to the more complex work of presiding over the massive federal government.
The structure puts Priebus on the same level as Stephen K. Bannon, whom Trump named to be his senior counselor and chief strategist. Bannon is the former chairman of Breitbart News, a media voice of the alt-right, which is a fiery fringe movement that embraces elements of white nationalism. Though the post-election announcement of Trump’s White House team described Bannon and Priebus as “equal partners to transform the federal government,” it listed Bannon first.
Trump’s Twitter feed is a daily, sometimes hourly, testament to his impulsive nature, his disregard for norms and protocol, his bottomless appetite for random information and misinformation.
That, of course, has been the central mission of everyone who has held this post in the past, but it is certain to be a particularly daunting challenge with a president who regards chaos as a management tool.
Reince Priebus says that one of his most important tasks as Donald Trump’s chief of staff will be to establish “some level of order within the White House.”