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Gov. Bryant isn’t packing his bags for Washington just yet

Gov. Phil Bryant talks about the $114 million worth of project in the second round of RESTORE Act funding to repair damage caused by the BP oil disaster.
Gov. Phil Bryant talks about the $114 million worth of project in the second round of RESTORE Act funding to repair damage caused by the BP oil disaster. jphampton@sunherald.com

It looks like Gov. Phil Bryant won’t be joining the Trump team, at least not in Washington.

Bryant tried to end speculation that he would become secretary of agriculture in the administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

“I’ve got the best job in the world,” he said on Tuesday at the Coast Coliseum and Convention Center. “I’m going to be governor as long as my term lasts.”

Bryant was on the Coast to announce $114 million in RESTORE Act projects but the conversation veered off into politics. He said he was disappointed in those protesting Trump’s election but encouraged by the president-elect’s early selections for leadership positions.

“We’ve had a republic for over 200 years now and we’ve had a safe and effective transfer of power,” he said. “For people to protest an election of a president of the United States and a vice president is certainly disappointing and I hope it’ll end soon.”

He gave Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus credit for unifying the two factions of the GOP and said he believed Priebus would be an excellent chief of staff.

“Reince Priebus did a remarkable job, not only chairing the RNC, but I think being able to balance what may have been traditional Republican interests and those new interests of President Trump and his team,” he said. “Reince stood up when he needed to and brought the party together.”

Priebus, Bryant said, is very close to state GOP Chairman Joe Nosef, which will be good for Mississippi.

Bryant also liked Trump’s most controversial choice, Stephen Bannon as chief strategist. Bannon’s critics point to what they call misogynist, anti-black, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic articles on Breitbart News, when Bannon was in charge of the website.

“Steve Bannon is another guy I look forward to working with,” he said. “He’s a unique individual, a brilliant man who not only served his country in the United States Navy, but I think will do an excellent job putting the strategy and policy sessions together for the president to be able to get that legislative agenda moving forward quickly.”

Bryant said he’ll give Trump all the advice he asks for.

“I’ll be working as close as they would like,” he said. “I had an opportunity to interact with the campaign. I talked to the vice president (elect) on Saturday evening. Mike Pence is a dear friend of mine.

“We are going to be offering any advice that we can as Mississippians to help not only a good transition but to work closely with this next administration.”

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