President-elect Trump is poised to name a White House chief of staff as early as Sunday, but conservative groups that stood behind him all along are mobilizing against a decision to tap Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, one of Trump’s top two choices.

Voices on the right, many of whom stood by him during his toughest moments during the campaign, are up in arms over the possible selection of Priebus to become the top adviser and right-hand man to the incoming president.

White House chiefs of staff usually have out-sized sway in other staffing decisions, not to mention playing the role of top counsel and adviser to the president on policy decisions and overall strategy.

Even though Priebus walked a tight rope during the general to endorse him, Trump loyalists are arguing that Priebus worked to undermine Trump during the primary and didn’t devote the RNC’s get-out-the-vote resources in the final month, and that should disqualify Priebus from the chief-of-staff role.

The forces organizing an anti-Priebus protest favor Steve Bannon, the CEO of the Trump campaign and former chairman of Breitbart News, as a far better choice to ensure a conservative agenda true to Trump’s campaign. But there are several other choices they would readily accept, including the selection of campaign adviser Kellyanne Conway or former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., an early and outspoken Trump supporter.

Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, said late Saturday that his heart sank when he read a “leaked report” that forces at the highest levels of the Trump operation were supporting Priebus for chief of staff over Bannon and others.

“This election was a rejection of the inside-the-beltway elites and Preibus’ appointment to this critical role would bring many of those who ridiculed and undercut Mr. Trump and his supporters into positions of influence,” Manning told the Washington Examiner Saturday night. “That would be a real disappointment.”

Other voices on the right were equally upset that some advisers at the highest levels of the Trump campaign are pushing Priebus for one of the top White House roles.

“Conservatives have not forgotten Reince Priebus heralding the so-called 2012 RNC ‘autopsy’ report, blaming Romney’s loss on us and our failure to support amnesty and embrace gay marriage,” Sandy Rios, director of governmental affairs for American Family Radio, said in a statement Saturday.

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“Mr. Trump. I’m here! I want to talk to you,” the filmmaker wrote in a note.

11/12/16 11:46 PM

“After such a hard fought battle, how can Priebus be trusted to lead the Trump team?”

Daniel Horowitz, senior editor of the Conservative Review, said positioning the right people around Trump is “akin to establishing a beachhead during an invasion.”

“Failure to flush out the elites from the system on day one will throw our movement back into the sea and prevent us from fighting on any of the important issues,” he said in an emailed statement to the Examiner. “Some of the names being floated for key cabinet and advisory positions are not only divorced from conservative principles, they represent the very D.C. insiders that Trump railed against from the very beginning.”

“To paraphrase [National Review founder] Bill Buckley, it would be better to appoint the first 10 names in the telephone book that those who have been in power and have failed us for years,” Horowitz said.

Conway on Saturday said a Trump decision about who would serve as his chief of staff is “imminent,” spurring conservatives who helped him on the ground with get-out-the vote efforts in key battlegrounds into action to push against Priebus’ selection.

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Nicholas Kristof surprised his readers on social media Saturday by announcing on Twitter, “I interrupted an intruder in my hotel room in Philadelphia. A chase. A fight. Restrained him. Police have just arrived.”

Kristof clarified moments later that that it was not just his room in the Franklin Hotel but rather “our hotel room” and the intruder was “just a thief” who had “been arrested.” Kristof let on that he had a “wrenched thumb from the fight” but was in good working order otherwise.

Big excitement. I interrupted an intruder in my hotel room in Philadelphia. A chase. A fight. Restrained him. Police have just arrived.

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One conservative organizer who helped organize door-to-door efforts in North Carolina to mobilize Trump voters said Priebus’ selection would infuriate activists who helped get him elected.

“One thing that puzzled activists on the ground, was the absence of the RNC on the ground in get-out-the-vote efforts,” the GOP organizer told the Examiner Saturday night. “They were nowhere to be seen and we knocked on 200,000 doors and I never ran into them.”

“Party officials were working hard to re-elect Sen. Richard Burr [in North Carolina], but not so much on winning the top of the ticket,” the source said. “It was disconcerting that the party was seemingly M.I.A. … If the chief of staff is the face of the establishment, Donald Trump loses all credibility with all those who worked to elect him.”

Another knowledgeable Trump supporter told the Examiner that Priebus “threw his body in front of the Trump nomination every step of the way.”

“It is stunning that he is being considered for this position.”

The same source argued that appointing Priebus would guarantee instant division within the top leadership positions in the Trump White House that the Washington “liberal media elite” would “gleefully” write about day after day.

The conservatives rallying against Priebus blame him for trying to pin Trump down to a GOP loyalty pledge during the primary season in 2015, a promise to support whichever candidate won the Republican presidential primary and not run as an independent.

Early in the campaign, Priebus pushed the Republican candidates — 17 in all at the time — to sign a loyalty oath to the party — that they would not run as an independent if they didn’t win the nomination.

At the first GOP debate, in Cleveland in August 2015, the party leadership was put off by Trump’s refusal to say he would not endorse the eventual nominee for president and not launch an independent run for the White House if they lost the primary.

Priebus later visited with Trump in New York and at the end of the their private meeting, Trump produced a new message. “I have signed the pledge,” he told reporters at Trump Tower. “So I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and to the conservative principles for which it stands.”

In return for his commitment, Trump said at the time, Priebus assured him that he would be “treated fairly” as the primary contest ensued.

A few months later in December, 2015, Trump said a third-party run was unlikely but he wouldn’t rule it out if the RNC didn’t hold up to their end of the bargain, noting that the agreement was a “two-way street.”

“I think it’s highly unlikely unless they break the pledge to me, because it’s a two-way street,” Trump said. “They said they would be honorable. So far, they, I can’t tell you if they are, but the establishment is not exactly being very good to me.”

Then in February, during a press conference in Hananhan, S.C., after another debate, Trump told reporters that his pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee was void because the RNC was stacking debate audiences with establishment Republicans.

“The RNC is in default,” Trump said at the press conference. “Just so you understand, the RNC is in default. When somebody is in default, that means the other side can do what they have to do. The RNC is in default.”

Trump supporters also blame Priebus for Trump’s crushing primary delegate losses in Colorado, Ohio and Louisiana.

“There is no way these states do this without Reince’s approval and Trump just has to know that,” a key Trump backer told the Examiner. “Reince was behind the rigged election before it really began — and he couldn’t even deliver Wisconsin, his own state, to Republicans in 2012 when Speaker Paul Ryan, also from Wisconsin, was on the ticket.”

That Trump is now considering Priebus, is “just mind-boggling,” said the Trump supporter.

Keith Ellison could double down on Democrats' city strategy

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Pols familiar with Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison are unsurprised that he is gaining traction as a candidate to helm the Democratic National Committee, noting his progressive credentials, loyalty to the party, and the prospect that he could help to devise strategies for retaining the sort of progressive urban voters the party has become reliant upon.

“I’m intrigued by the thought of Rep. Ellison running the DNC,” said Thom Petersen, director of government relations for a Minnesota farmers’ group and a longtime Democratic activist. “I have known him since he was first elected to the Minnesota State House in 2002.

“His thing has always been voter turnout,” Petersen said. “He made it a top priority. He didn’t have to, because he

11/12/16 6:20 PM

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