President-elect Donald Trump tapped an experienced hand from the George W Bush era and a longtime Trump Organisation official to become members of his inner circle when he assumes office next month. Thomas Bossert will become an assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism.
A statement from Trump’s transition team said Bossert will advise the president on issues related to homeland security, counterterrorism and cybersecurity, and coordinate the Cabinet’s process for making and executing policy in those areas.
The president-elect also appointed one of his main advisers on US-Israel relations during the campaign and transition as special representative for international negotiations.
Jason Greenblatt has worked for the Trump Organisation for over two decades and currently serves as its executive vice president and chief legal officer.
The homeland security position notably “is being elevated and restored to its independent status alongside the national security adviser,” the statement said. Policymakers have long debated whether such national security jobs should operate independently from the White House.
Bossert will work closely with Trump’s pick for national security adviser, retired Lt Gen Michael Flynn.
Bossert is currently president of the risk management consulting firm CDS Consulting. He previously served as deputy assistant to the president for homeland security under Bush.
Donald Trump’s West Wing is shaping up to have multiple power centers. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Steve Bannon will work as “equal partners,” according to Trump, and counsellor Kellyanne Conway is also expected to have autonomy.
Trump’s influential son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will have a direct line to the president as well.
Trump has long stoked rivalries among his staff in business and during his presidential campaign. But some critics fear doing so in the White House could sow confusion and slow decision-making.
Discussing the appointment of Greenblatt, Trump said he “has a history of negotiating substantial, complex transactions on my behalf,” and has the expertise to “bring parties together and build consensus on difficult and sensitive topics.”
Trump recently named his other top adviser on Israel, David Friedman, as his pick for US ambassador to Israel.
The billionaire-turned-president-elect is spending the holidays at his Florida resort, where he’s held a steady stream of meetings with senior staffers, advisers and business executives. A number of key posts in his administration remain; his transition team says he will fill those positions in the coming days.