Debates have broken out on various Facebook pages (including our own) about the Greekness of the new Chief of Staff of President-elect Donald Trump who will be assuming one of the most powerful positions in the world come January 21, 2017.
Reince Priebus was born to a father with German ancestry and a mother who was born in Sudan, to Greek parents. Her family hailed from the Greek island of Lesvos and Priebus himself has commented about “half of his family living in Greece.”
Priebus himself mentions his Greek ancestry prominently on his official bio on the Republican National Committee website where he served as chairman of the party since 2011.
Priebus had humble roots and often used his own family’s story as a counter to criticism that being a Republican in some way always equated to having money. That’s an idea Priebus has always rejected.
“I don’t come from a family like that. My dad’s an electrician; my mom was born in Sudan. Half my family lived in Greece. I think what we believe is that everybody should have an opportunity to make good money, and we want people to do well,” Priebus said in an interview with Hellenext.
In that same interview, he shared the story of how his mother and father met.
“Back in the ’60s, northern Africa — as I understood it and as it was explained to me — was sort of the new frontier of southern Europe. So there were a lot of Italians and Greeks and Spanish that lived in northern Africa in the ’60s. My mother was 19 or 20 when she met my dad, and she had lived in Khartoum her entire life. She worked at the American Embassy in Sudan. My dad was in the Army in Ethiopia because the United States had an Army base in, I think it was Eritrea. And then he met my mom when she was in Khartoum.”
Priebus was baptized and raised by his family as a Greek Orthodox Christian.
During an interview with CNN back in April, Priebus noted that the three things he has in his office “that are critical in getting through the day” are the Greek Orthodox liturgy, the Republican Party platform, and the Milwaukee Brewers’ schedule.
Priebus is also a member of the Archons, a lay group of Orthodox Christian men who have devoted service to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
On being Greek, in his own words, he said in the Hellenext interview that “I am proud to be Greek, it is a blessing from God to be Greek.”
Cover photo from Archons’ website.