Strong opposition following appointment of Stephen Bannon to key White House role

Trump's new chief strategist was formerly the head of the controversial right-wing Breitbart News site

Strong opposition following appointment of Stephen Bannon to key White House role

Stephen Bannon, campaign CEO for President-elect Donald Trump, leaves Trump Tower in New York. Picture by Evan Vucci AP/Press Association Images

Donald Trump has dismayed opponents by appointing the head of Breitbart News as chief strategist of his administration.

Stephen Bannon, who quit as executive chairman of the right-wing American news network to help Mr Trump's campaign, will also act as his senior counsel.

Launched in 2007 by the late Andrew Breitbart with the aim of being "unapologetically pro-freedom and pro-Israel", Breitbart News has evolved into a platform for the burgeoning 'alt-right' movement that is vociferously opposed to multiculturalism and political correctness.

Former Goldman Sachs banker Mr Bannon holds a Masters in National Security Studies and an MBA from Harvard Business School, and he was an officer in the US Navy before joining Breitbart, where he hosted a radio show on its SiriusXM Patriot channel.

America's Anti-Defamation League, which campaigns to fight "all forms of bigotry", condemned Mr Bannon's appointment, describing the alt-right movement supported by Breitbart News as "a loose-knit group of white nationalists, unabashed anti-Semites and racists".

The Southern Poverty Law Centre, which is "dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry", also heavily criticised the appointment, suggesting that Trump should rescind his choice.

John Weaver, a Republican political consultant who was John Kasich's chief strategist, tweeted: 

Former Barack Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer noted: "Nation exhales because white nationalist only gets second most influential job in White House."

Mr Trump has also recruited the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, to be his White House chief of staff, signalling a willingness to work with Congress to advance his agenda when he takes office in January.

Mr Priebus is a Republican Party operative with deep expertise of the Washington establishment that Mr Trump has vowed to shake up, and has close links with House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Mr Priebus will play a significant role in policy making and deciding what information makes it to Mr Trump's desk.
His appointment is seen as an olive branch to the Republicans who control both houses of Congress, to help Mr Trump pass the legislative agenda upon which he campaigned.

"I am very grateful to the president-elect for this opportunity to serve him and this nation as we work to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism," Mr Priebus said.

Commentators expect Mr Trump to consider Republican loyalist Newt Gingrich and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani for the posts of secretary of state and attorney general, while Sarah Palin is also being touted as a candidate for a role in his government.

Mr Trump said: "Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to an historic victory.

"Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again."