Ex-Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers exits Trump transition team amid shake-up

Further evidence of a shake-up in President-elect Donald Trump’s transition to the White House emerged Tuesday when former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers said he was relinquishing his role as a national security adviser to the Trump campaign.

“My team and I are pleased to hand off our work to my friend and former colleague, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Executive Director Rick Dearborn, the Trump family, and the stellar new leadership team,”  Rogers, a Brighton Republican, said in a statement Tuesday.

Rogers was brought into the transition team when it was led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But Trump bumped Christie last week in favor of Pence. Several publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, were reporting that transition team members close to Christie, like Rogers, also were leaving.

Rogers was listed on an organizational chart for the transition as the head of national security planning as late as Friday, according to the Associated Press.

But on Tuesday, Rogers said his work over the last six months will lay a foundation for the new members on the transition team, “which naturally is incorporating the campaign team in New York, who drove President-elect Trump to an incredible victory last Tuesday.”

Rogers represented mid-Michigan in Congress for 14 years and served as chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence before leaving in 2015. He took over as head of the House Intelligence Committee in 2011 and is a former FBI agent who took over as host of his own talk radio program on Westwood One after leaving Congress. He also has remained a commentator on national security measures for CNN and has recently been the host of a multi-part program, "Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies," on that network.

Before his resignation from the transition team, he had been mentioned as a possible appointee in a Trump administration.

“I look forward to continuing to provide advice and counsel as needed to the incoming Trump administration as they work to make America great again," he said, declining to comment beyond his statement.

Other Michiganders who have been mentioned as possible appointees for Trump include former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland, who was a co-chairman of Trump’s campaign in the state and also was a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee; and Ronna Romney McDaniel, who has said she plans to run for re-election as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, but has been mentioned as a possible head of the Republican National Committee. The current head of the RNC — Reince Priebus — has been named Trump’s chief of staff.

“The Trump team is working through their process and I had agreed to work with them on the campaign, so I talked with him on campaign stuff and national security stuff. I served as a surrogate, so I did a lot of TV and radio for him,” Hoekstra said. “My focus was on the campaign and we were successful a week ago and they have now moved into a transition phase, and if they see a role for me and reach out and give me a call, of course I’ll talk to them.”

One person who was widely seen as either an appointee for Democrat Hillary Clinton if she had won the presidency was former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. She was a prominent surrogate for the campaign and was one of the leaders of Clinton’s transition team.

She also was a frequent name in the running to lead the Democratic National Committee after the election. But with Clinton’s loss to Trump, that job is expected to go to someone not so closely associated with Clinton. The most prominent name mentioned this week is U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and Detroit native.

“People want to go in a different direction,” said Lansing-based political consultant and pollster Ed Sarpolus. “When you run for DNC, you have to have people pushing for you, and I don’t see anyone pushing her.”

Contact Kathleen Gray: 313-223-4430 or kgray99@freepress.com 

Detroit Free Press


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