Donald Trump accused of treating presidency like 'The Apprentice' after calling cabinet favourites 'the finalists'

US President-elect, the former star of The Apprentice, defends team after claims of infighting over appointments

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Donald Trump has referred to potential members of his presidential administration as “the finalists”, leading to accusations the US President-elect is treating the running of the country like a game show. 

Mr Trump tweeted: “Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions. I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!”

Before running for president, the billionaire businessman hosted the US version of reality TV show 'The Apprentice', in which he whittled down potential candidates for a job until only three finalists - and then one winner - remained.

His use of the word “finalists” led observers to point out that the President-elect is choosing senior government officials and not the winner of a reality show.

One Twitter user replied to Mr Trump, saying :"This isn't a contest, dude. You're literally about to run the USA. Are you serious?"

Another called the language "insane".




Mr Trump’s attempt to reassure the American public that presidential appointments are on track comes amid claims of deep divisions in the President-elect’s transitional team.

His new chief of staff, Reince Priebus, is an experienced Washington insider while his Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, is a white nationalist who previously ran far-right news website Breibart News.

One member of the team, Mike Rogers, was removed this week amid claims of a purge of Trump advisers who are close to New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who chaired the transition team before being replaced last week by Mike Pence, the Vice President-elect.

Mr Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, is reported to be at the centre of the infighting.

Mr Kushner’s father was prosecuted by Mr Christie, the then Attorney General, in 2014 on charges of tax evasion, witness tampering and illegal campaign contributions.

A source inside Mr Trump’s team told CNN the situation resembled a “knife fight”, with advisers and the Trump family involved in increasingly bitter disputes.

Others who have had dealings with the transition team also warned about the actions of its members.

Eliot Cohen, a former foreign policy official under George W Bush, wrote on Twitter: “After exchange w[ith] Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They're angry, arrogant, screaming 'you LOST!' Will be ugly”.

Before defending his team over the appointments process, Mr Trump also took to social media to praise the Electoral College voting system after it carried him to victory despite his rival, Hillary Clinton, receiving more public votes.

He said: “The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play.”

It is a significant shift in Mr Trump’s views since 2012, when he called the electoral college “a disaster for democracy” and said it “made a laughing stock of our nation” after mistakenly believing it had held President Obama retain the White House despite losing the public vote. In reality Mr Obama won both the public vote and the Electoral College vote.