Donald Trump appoints former rival Chris Christie to expanded team for presidential battle

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he has chosen New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a rival turned ally, to lead his White House transition team as he prepares for the presidential election campaign.

“Governor Christie is an extremely knowledgeable and loyal person with the tools and resources to put together an unparalleled Transition Team, one that will be prepared to take over the White House when we win in November,” he said.

Mr Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee in the November 8 presidential election, said Mr Christie will oversee an “extensive team”.

Mr Christie endorsed Mr Trump after dropping out of the 2016 Republican primary race in February and has been campaigning with the New York billionaire.

Mr Trump’s campaign said the candidate was moving into a general election mode and “implementing an infrastructure capable of securing a victory including making key hires, building a finance operation to benefit the Republican Party and unifying the party by working with several Republican leaders now voicing their support for Mr Trump and his candidacy”.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump sought to clarify his remarks on raising taxes, saying he would not raise taxes on wealthy Americans but, in any negotiations with Democrats in Congress, this group would most likely pay a higher rate than the one he has proposed.

He told Sunday news shows he was willing to pay more in taxes and so were other wealthy Americans, raising eyebrows because of what would be a clear break with conventional Republican thinking on taxes.

Yesterday, he denied that meant he was open to raising taxes for people in higher income brackets from their current level, saying he had been referring to potential adjustments to his own tax policy proposal.

Mr Trump’s proposal, released in September, included broad tax breaks for businesses and households, with the highest income tax rate reduced to 25% from the current 39.6% rate.

In television interviews yesterday, Mr Trump said he expected some of the tax rates he put forth in that proposal to be raised during any negotiations with Democrats in Congress.

Lowering taxes on the middle class and businesses was his priority, said Mr Trump.


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