Reince Priebus once joked about his job as chairman of the Republican National Committee that people assumed he must be miserable. But Priebus said he didn’t see it that way. “I’m not pouring Bailey’s in my cereal,” he told CNN.
Now, as newly named chief of staff to President-elect Donald Trump, Priebus has his work cut out for him.
Priebus will have a large say in hiring West Wing staff, and will “be in charge of day to day operations,” he told Fox News on Monday morning. He’ll also have the president-elect’s ear as a top adviser.
As head of the RNC, Priebus saw that the party’s apparatus and organization were in place to shore up the bare-bones Trump campaign. And while Trump clashed with many in the GOP establishment, he remained on good terms with the party chairman.
Priebus, 44, has been the longest-serving RNC chairman, winning the job in 2011 after serving as its general counsel. He unseated his boss, Michael Steele, and took over a party that was some $24 million in debt.
Priebus led the famous “autopsy” of the GOP after its loss in the 2012 election, which recommended shortening the primary season and endorsing immigration reform as a way of reaching out to Latino voters.
Born in New Jersey, Priebus was raised in Kenosha, Wis. He made an unsuccessful run for the Wisconsin state senate and in 2007 became chairman of the state GOP. In 2010, he helped elect Republican Scott Walker as governor and a GOP majority in the state Legislature, and it was clear his star was on the rise.
In a statement Sunday, Priebus said, “I am very grateful to the president-elect for this opportunity to serve him and this nation as we work to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism. He will be a great president for all Americans.”
Oh, and the name? Reince is short for Reinhold.