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Trump expands inner circle with new security officer, envoy

  • FILE – In this Dec. 21, 2016, file photo, President-elect Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump is questioning the effectiveness of the United Nations, saying: it is simply a club for people “having a good time.” His message on Twitter Monday, Dec. 26, is the president-elect’s last comment since the U. N. security council voted Friday to condemn the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

    (Associated Press)

  • President-elect, Donald Trump, second from left, accompanied by his wife, Melania Trump, center right, leaves after attending a christmas eve service in the Church of Bethesda-by-Sea, in West Palm Beach, Fla., Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

    (Associated Press)

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – President-elect, Donald Trump tapped an experienced hand from the George W. Bush era, and an old Trump Organization officially to become a member of his inner circle when he assumes office next month.

Thomas Bossert will be an assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism. A statement from Trump’s transition team said Bossert advise the president on matters related to national security, counter-terrorism and cybersecurity, and the coordination of the Cabinet process for the making and implementation of policy in these areas.

The president-elect also appointed one of his key advisers on the U.S.-Israeli relations during the campaign and the transition, as special representative for international negotiations. Jason Greenblatt has worked for the Trump Organization for more than two decades and currently serves as executive vice president and chief legal officer.

The homeland security position in particular, “will be lifted and restored to its independent status, in addition to the national security adviser,” the statement said. Policy makers have long debated the question of whether such national security jobs should operate independently of the White House.

Bossert will work closely with the Trump pick for national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Bossert is currently the chairman of the risk management consulting firm, CDS Consulting. He previously worked as the deputy assistant to the president for homeland security under Bush.

Donald Trump’s West Wing is shaping up to have multiple centers of power. Chief-of-Staff Reince Priebus and senior advisor Steve Over will work as “equal partners,” says Trump, and counselor Kellyanne Conway is also expected to have autonomy. Trump’s influential son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will have a direct line to the president.

Trump has long stoked rivalry between the employees in the business, and during his presidential campaign. But some critics fear the White House could sow confusion and slow decision making.

Discussing the appointment of Greenblatt, Trump said: “he has a history of negotiating significant, complex transactions to my name,” and has the expertise to “bring parties together and build consensus on difficult and sensitive topics.”

Trump recently appointed top advisor of Israel, David Friedman, as his choice for the U.S. ambassador to Israel.

The billionaire was, the president-elect is spending the holiday in Florida resort, where he kept up a steady stream of meetings with the senior staff, advisors and managers. A number of important posts in his government; his transition team says he fills that position in the coming days.

Meanwhile the president-elect continued from the debate on the question of whether he would have won an election against President Barack Obama.

Trump posted on Twitter Tuesday, “President Obama campaigned hard (and personally) in very important swing states, and lost. The voters wanted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

It was not immediately clear whether Trump spoke Obama ‘s own presidential runs, or the campaign of the president did, in 2016, Hillary Clinton’s name. Obama swept most of the important swing states in his two bids for the White House, but Clinton fell short, losing to Trump.

A dispute erupted a day earlier between Obama and Trump, encouraged by Obama’s hypothetical musings that he had to walk again, he would have won. Obama stated he still has enough sway over the coalition of voters who elected him twice to get them to vote for him again.

Trump’s response: “NO WAY!”

Later Tuesday, Trump thanked themselves for a surge in a key gauge of consumer confidence. He wrote on Twitter that The Conference Board reported that the consumer confidence index rose to 113.7 in December.

Trump noted that the highest the index has risen in more than 15 years, added: “Thanks Donald!”

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Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman in Washington and Julie Pace in Buffalo, New York, contributed to this report.

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