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Trump transition moving forward with guidance from former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt

FILE: In a webinar hosted by Leavitt Partners, the health care consulting firm founded by Mike Leavitt, the former governor said he has an advisory role with the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service's presidential transition center.
FILE: In a webinar hosted by Leavitt Partners, the health care consulting firm founded by Mike Leavitt, the former governor said he has an advisory role with the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service's presidential transition center.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who ran 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's White House transition team, is also helping advise President-elect Donald Trump on his transition.

In a webinar hosted by Leavitt Partners, the health care consulting firm he founded, the former governor said he has an advisory role with the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service's presidential transition center.

"In that role, I have advised all of the campaigns in quite direct ways in how a transition has to occur and what needs to be done," Leavitt said. "I've continued to advise the Clinton transition and the Trump transition in that way."

"I'm not specifically leading or directing any part of it, but I am involved in giving them guidance where it is necessary and helpful," Leavitt added.

Leavitt said Trump's transition team has three jobs in the next 77 days: Put a team on the ground, prepare and refine an agenda for the first 200 days in office, and continue to support Trump in the period before he takes office.

Leavitt, who endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich, has been critical of Trump and his temperament in the past.

In March, Leavitt called Trump a "controversial, flamboyant candidate, who has captured the attention of the American body politic."

"That doesn't mean he'll be the best president," he told reporters.

Leavitt previously served as President George W. Bush's secretary of Health and Human Services and chief of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Leavitt Partners vice chairman Vince Ventimiglia, a former assistant secretary for legislation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said selection of agency heads is well underway.

"Many of these transition team folks from the Trump side are coming, interestingly enough, from the staff of southern senators and southern congressmen," Ventimiglia said.

The webinar focused mostly on how a Trump administration would tackle health care policy.

"(Trump) is not coming into this with deep policy preferences on health," Leavitt said. "He's established a set of principles."

Leavitt said it's likely that Trump health care policies will piggyback on the legislation proposed by Republicans in Congress to replace the Affordable Care Act.

"If they can make the case that this, in fact, does meet the principles that Donald Trump campaigned on, they're likely to get his signature and it can move rapidly," Leavitt said.