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ASU historian: Donald Trump’s transition at a key crossroads

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

PHOENIX — As President-elect Donald Trump continues to appoint people to his administration, a presidential historian believes he is facing a key moment.

“Because, on one hand, if he sticks with his people and continues to be an outsider, he may find himself like Jimmy Carter in the 1970s without a lot of access to the people who can get things done within the District of Columbia,” Dr. Brooks Simpson, an Arizona State University Foundation professor of history, said.

But on the other hand…

“If he begins to bow to establish figures and populate this administration with them, then that base of his support through the primaries and the general election will say, ‘Wait a minute. You were going to drain the swamp. You’re now swimming in it.'”

Simpson said Trump’s transition is showing signs of being poorly planned, especially given the hire of Steve Bannon to be the White House strategic advisor, because it does little to assuage fears about the new administration.

“At the same time, they’ve already overhauled their transition team several times, which tells me they really aren’t ready for prime time despite all the bravado, all the brave talk and the like,” Simpson said.

Simpson said the next weeks to come will be interesting, as he hopes people begin to focus on the policies of the Trump administration, not just the new hires.

“Whether we continue to look at outward trappings and the curiosities of this transition, exemplified by focusing on Trump’s personality or where he’s eating dinner or whatever, and start to focus much more carefully on issues of policy.”



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