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Spicer picked for U.S. press secretary

AP file photo

Sean Spicer appears at a press briefing in Washington on Nov. 14.

Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer will serve as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s press secretary in the White House when he takes office next month, Trump announced on Thursday.

To round out his communications team, the president-elect appointed loyalists from his upstart presidential campaign. Hope Hicks, Trump’s sole spokeswoman when he began what was considered a longshot candidacy in June 2015, will be director of strategic communications.

Jason Miller was appointed director of communications and Dan Scavino was named director of social media.

Spicer, 45, served as RNC spokesman during Trump’s presidential campaign, alongside party chairman Reince Priebus, who stood by Trump amid furious opposition from establishment Republicans and was rewarded with the chief of staff position.

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  • AP file photo

    Kellyanne Conway is shown prior to a forum at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on Dec. 1.

Acerbic and professional, Spicer, a Navy Reserve commander, has been openly critical of media coverage of Republican candidates and the president-elect, but insists the future U.S. leader has a high regard for press freedom.

“We understand and respect the role that the press plays in a democracy. It is healthy, it’s important. But it’s a two-way street,” Spicer told Politico recently, before bashing the news outlet for what he said was exclusively negative coverage.

Spicer, who has been a spokesman for the Trump transition team, has a long background in public affairs.

He led a turnaround in the RNC’s public affairs operation after taking over as communications director in 2011. He beefed up social media operations, built an in-house TV production team and created a rapid response effort to reply to attacks.

Spicer worked in President George W. Bush’s administration as the assistant U.S. Trade Representative for media and public affairs. Before that, he was communications director for the Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Conway named as counselor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster who was widely credited with bringing a more disciplined approach to Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign, will become White House counselor when he takes office next month.

In her new post, Conway will play a key advisory role, helping to manage Trump’s messaging and legislative priorities, the transition team said in a statement on Thursday. It praised Conway, 49, as the first woman campaign manager to guide a winning U.S. presidential campaign.

Both before the Nov. 8 election and after, Conway, as a senior adviser on the transition team, has been a frequent presence on U.S. television news programs, often called upon to defend or explain Trump’s thinking.

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