Pres. Elect Trump taps Spicer as press secretary, picks Conway for West Wing role

In this Nov. 14, 2016 photo, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chief Strategist and Communications Director Sean Spicer appears at a post-election press briefing to discuss the RNC's role in the election, at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington. President-elect Donald Trump has named his senior communications team, choosing Sean Spicer as press secretary, Jason Miller as communications director, Hope Hicks as director of strategic communications and Daniel Scavino as director of Social Media. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump has named close adviser Kellyanne Conway as his White House counselor, elevating the woman who led his campaign to victory to a senior West Wing position.

In this Dec. 1, 2016 photo, Kellyanne Conway, Trump-Pence campaign manager, is shown prior to a forum at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass.  Conway is headed to the White House, where she'll serve as counselor to the president.  The announcement was made by the president-elect's transition team early Thursday.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
In this Dec. 1, 2016 photo, Kellyanne Conway, Trump-Pence campaign manager, is shown prior to a forum at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass. Conway is headed to the White House, where she’ll serve as counselor to the president. The announcement was made by the president-elect’s transition team early Thursday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Mr. Trump — who also announced his senior White House communications staff, including naming former Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer as press secretary — has a strong rapport with Conway and she was seen as a positive influence on his often chaotic campaign. Conway, who took over as campaign manager in the summer, has been one of Trump’s most visible advisers, making frequent television appearances on his behalf.

“She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message,” Mr. Trump said in a statement Thursday announcing the position.

Mr. Trump is creating another power center in the West Wing by tapping Conway for the senior White House role.

He’s already named outgoing Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff and conservative media executive Steve Bannon as a senior adviser. Mr. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner will also be an influential adviser, though his exact role is still to be determined.

Internal rivalries have long been a hallmark of Mr. Trump’s businesses and campaign as well as his transition team. Conway and Priebus have been at odds over some major decisions, including who should serve as Mr. Trump’s secretary of state. He ultimately chose Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson.

Conway irritated some Mr. Trump aides with her outspoken opposition to the prospect of the president-elect picking Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, to head the State Department. She panned the idea in public, though she said she had also made her feelings known to Mr. Trump privately.

Conway, a longtime Republican pollster, considered not joining the White House staff and turned down offers to serve in a communications role. She also expressed a desire to help Trump set up an outside political organization to promote his agenda.

Conway said Thursday that she was “humbled and honored to play a role in helping transform the movement he has led into a real agenda of action and results.”

Meanwhile, Spicer’s elevation was championed by Priebus, his longtime ally at the RNC.

FILE - In this May 12, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign communications manager Hope Hicks, right, and Daniel Scavino Jr., Director for Social Media for Trump Campaign walk to their motorcade vehicle after Trump's visit to Jones Day's D.C. law offices in Washington.  President-elect Donald Trump has named his senior communications team, choosing Sean Spicer as press secretary, Jason Miller as communications director, Hope Hicks as director of strategic communications and Daniel Scavino as director of Social Media.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
FILE – In this May 12, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign communications manager Hope Hicks, right, and Daniel Scavino Jr., Director for Social Media for Trump Campaign walk to their motorcade vehicle after Trump’s visit to Jones Day’s D.C. law offices in Washington. President-elect Donald Trump has named his senior communications team, choosing Sean Spicer as press secretary, Jason Miller as communications director, Hope Hicks as director of strategic communications and Daniel Scavino as director of Social Media. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Additionally, the transition team announced that Jason Miller will be the director of communications. Hope Hicks, the longtime campaign spokeswoman, was appointed Director of Strategic Communications while Dan Scavino will be Director of Social Media.

Hicks and Scavino were original members of Mr. Trump’s skeletal staff, joining the Republican businessman’s campaign in its early days. Miller joined after Mr. Trump became the presumptive nominee.

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