Speed Reads

Playing politics

Early Trump picks signal hard-line security policy and GOP loyalty

President-elect Donald Trump's initial nominations signal a hard-line approach to security issues at home and abroad, as well as the new administration's willingness to smooth a historically rocky relationship with the Republican Party establishment.

The selections of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as attorney general, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) as CIA director, and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser suggest Trump is serious about the aggressive national security rhetoric of his campaign. The Sessions pick has been particularly controversial among critics including the NAACP, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and civil libertarians like Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.).

But for much of the GOP, this is "a message not just about him following through on his campaign promises, but it's about partisanship," Princeton's Julian Zelizer told The Associated Press. "He's giving a signal to the Republicans to stick with him because he'll deliver."

Upcoming additional nominations are rumored to include former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown for secretary of veterans affairs and NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers for director of national intelligence.