ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

All the President's men: Donald Trump's Cabinet picks and closest adviser

Clockwise from top left: Retired army lieutenant-general Michael Flynn, son-in-law Jared Kushner, chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon, Senator Jeff Sessions and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.
Clockwise from top left: Retired army lieutenant-general Michael Flynn, son-in-law Jared Kushner, chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon, Senator Jeff Sessions and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. PHOTOS: AFP, EPA, NYTIMES

US President-elect Donald Trump's picks of staunch conservatives - from a controversial media executive to a retired military man - to fill top posts signal his intention to deliver on his hard-line campaign promises on immigration policy, policing and domestic surveillance of Muslims and others suspected of terrorist ties.

These men and Mr Trump's son-in-law each bring something different - and often controversial - to the team.

Here's a look at five of them. 


The son-in-law 


Mr Trump (far right) has praised Mr Kushner for being "very good at politics", while Ms Trump has been his most effective character witness. PHOTO: NYTIMES

Mr Donald Trump's family members have been key figures in his presidential campaign, but none more so than his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

A property developer and owner of the New York Observer paper who is married to Ms Ivanka Trump, Mr Kushner, 35, has influenced his father-in-law's top hires and digital strategy over the course of the campaign. While he was not a surrogate for Mr Trump and had no official title during the campaign, many say he has Mr Trump's ear.

Mr Kushner is said to be largely responsible for the recent removal of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as chairman of Mr Trump's transition team.

While he was New Jersey Attorney-General, Mr Christie had convicted Mr Kushner's father, Charles, for tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions and witness-tampering; the elder Kushner was given the maximum sentence of two years' jail but released after one.

Mr Kushner, an Orthodox Jew who was born and raised in Livingston, New Jersey, was also known to have clashed with Mr Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewindowski, who was fired in June.

Mr Trump has praised Mr Kushner for being "very good at politics" even though he, like his father-in-law, has no experience in elected office.

Like his father-in-law, he was also born into privilege. Author Daniel Golden, who wrote The Price Of Admissions: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way Into Elite Colleges, said Mr Kushner got into Harvard only after his father donated US$2.5 million to the university.

During Mr Trump's visit to the White House, Mr Kushner was seen speaking intimately with President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff, sparking talk of his interest in the White House position. While it is not clear what role he will ultimately play in the Trump administration, Mr Trump is reported to have expressed a desire for his son-in-law to join his staff. Reports say Mr Kushner is seeking legal advice on that possibility because there are anti-nepotism rules that prevent close relatives of the president from playing an active role in government. He could, however, get around the rules if he does not take a salary and puts his investment fund, his newspaper and his real estate holdings into a blind trust.

Even if Mr Kushner does not have an official role in the Trump administration, observers have speculated that he may be planning to build a pro-Trump media empire. He is said to have spoken to industry experts about setting up "Trump TV", and could play a role in supporting his father-in-law's presidency in this way.

As for Mr Trump's adult children - Donald Trump Jr, 38, Ivanka, 35, and Eric, 32 - while they are expected to helm the family business while their father is in the White House, it seems likely that they, too, will be involved in politics to some degree. Both Ms Trump and her husband, for example, were at the meeting between Mr Trump and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday. But for businessmen to have such access to foreign leaders poses potential conflicts of interest.

Last week, Ms Trump, who has a penchant for posting baby photos on Instagram and has her own fashion line, was criticised for hawking a bangle from her label after wearing it to a televised CBS interview. Responding to criticism that she leveraged her position for commercial gain, the company had to issue a statement saying it is "still making adjustments post-election".

In many ways, Ms Trump has stood in as a proxy First Lady for Mr Trump, adding a touch of glamour to his campaign and providing a female voice.

During the campaign, she was her father's most effective character witness, who vouched for his respect for women. She also helped Mr Trump craft childcare policies, making it more affordable to working-class families, in a bid to repair his image with women voters.


A hard critic of 'radical Islamic terrorism'


Lt-Gen Flynn is well regarded in military and intelligence circles but was fired as head of the Defence Intelligence Agency by Mr Obama. PHOTO: NYTIMES

Retired army lieutenant-general Michael Flynn has shaped President-elect Donald Trump's view on "radical Islamic terrorism" and is likely to continue to do so as his national security adviser.

News of his new position broke on Friday, but reports say that he has already been present at Mr Trump's daily intelligence briefings.

As national security adviser, Lt-Gen Flynn would play a critical role in determining the President's response to such matters as defeating militant groups like ISIS and the possible escalation of tensions in the South China Sea.

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Strategist likens himself to villains


Mr Bannon, who has been associated with bigotry, anti-semitism and sexual assault, will be chief White House strategist. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Controversy swirled over Mr Stephen Bannon's appointment as the next chief White House strategist, as many associate his name with bigotry, anti-semitism and even sexual assault.

One veteran Republican strategist John Weaver tweeted: "The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office. Be very vigilant America."

Before he became the Trump campaign's chief executive, the 62- year-old was chairman of right- wing website Breitbart News, which has become a platform for the Alternative Right - a movement that opposes establishment conservatives and is concerned with issues of white identity.

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An insider able to help change legislation


As chief of staff, Mr Priebus will be in charge of day-to-day operations at the White House. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Reince Priebus, 44, was hailed as a "superstar" in US President-elect Donald Trump's victory speech, so few were surprised when he was selected as Chief of Staff - traditionally the first post that gets filled after election day.

In charge of day-to-day operations at the White House, he will remain one of the top and most trusted advisers to Mr Trump.

As chairman of the RNC, Mr Priebus provided Mr Trump's bare- bones campaign with the support it needed to reach voters across the country. He also stuck by the candidate through the ups and downs of the presidential campaign while other Republicans refused to endorse him or distanced themselves when scandals such as Mr Trump's lewd comments about women in a 2005 tape erupted.

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Conservative with staunch views is a gentleman


Mr Sessions is said to have made offensive remarks, like referring to an official using the N-word, but he said he is not a racist. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

If Senator Jeff Sessions, 69, is to become Attorney-General, he will need to do something he couldn't in 1986: Get past a panel of US lawmakers.

That year, President Ronald Reagan picked him to be a district judge, but he was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee because of alleged racist remarks.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 20, 2016, with the headline 'A key figure who has Trump's ear '. Print Edition | Subscribe