Donald Trump Stepping Away From Business

President-elect Donald J. Trump announced on Wednesday that he would hold a news conference with his children on Dec. 15 to announce that he would be “leaving” his “great business in total,” but details were scant. More immediately, he will travel to Indiana to announce the saving of 1,000 jobs with the Carrier air-conditioning company.

Mr. Trump said on Wednesday that he would leave his “great business in total” before moving into the Oval Office, promising further details next month about his efforts to avoid conflicts of interest as he becomes the nation’s 45th president.

It is unclear whether the steps Mr. Trump is prepared to take would be enough to satisfy ethics experts who say that putting his children in charge of the business would not be enough to ensure that his official decisions are independent of his personal financial ones. His daughter Ivanka has attended several meetings with heads of state since the election, and she would be one of the main officers of the Trump Organization.

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(Source:nytimes.com)

Mitt Romney May Be Forced to Publicly Apologize to Trump in Exchange For Sec of State Bid

According to Fox News’ Ed Henry, President-elect Donald Trump may make things a little more difficult for Mitt Romney if he hopes to become our nation’s next Secretary of State.

As you may recall, back on March 3rd the former Massachusetts Governor and Republican nominee for President game an impassioned anti-Trump speech to a crowd in Salt Lake City. “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. He gets a free trip to the White House and all we get is this lousy hat,” Romney said famously.

But that was before Trump stunned the world to become President-elect of the United States. Hell, that back before Trump even won his own party’s nomination.

But politics can be tricky in this regard; flash forward to November, the Romney is reportedly under serious consideration to be tapped as the newest Secretary of State, a role that many believe is between Romney and Rudy Giuliani.

A senior transition official tells Henry that they are considering whether he has to issue a public apology for his past severe anti-Trump rhetoric. Romney called the real estate mogul a “phony and a fraud,” in that March address, continuing, “There is a dark irony in his boasts of his sexual exploits during the Vietnam War, while at the same time, John McCain — who he has mocked — was imprisoned and tortured.”

Trump in response called Romney “irrelevant,” and said that the former Massachusetts Gov “failed badly,” in his own quest for the Presidency.

Romney visited with Trump last week in Bedminster, New Jersey and said that the meeting was a “very thorough and in-depth discussion in the time we had.”

Earlier this week, Mike Huckabee appeared on Fox & Friends to call out Mitt Romney directly amid reports of his consideration. “When you go after the person that is the nominee of your party, who has been duly nominated by the voters, and then you’re savaging the voters, you’re not just savaging Donald Trump,” said Huckabee. “It would be a real insult to all those Donald Trump voters who worked really hard.”

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(Source:mediaite.com)
Photo: chicagotribune.com

Donald Trump says he’s trying to save jobs in US

President-elect Donald Trump didn’t take off all of Thanksgiving Day while enjoying a long holiday weekend with his family at his Mar-a-Lago estate, saying he was working to keep the makers of Carrier air conditioners from relocating from Indianapolis to Mexico.

Meanwhile, his transition team was stepping up its effort to raise money for inaugural festivities and Trump offered a holiday prayer for a politically divided nation, even as a controversy swirled around his consideration of onetime fierce critic Mitt Romney for his Cabinet.

After Thanksgiving Day, Trump and his transition team are expected to turn their attention back to building his administration. Two possible appointments loom: retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate Ben Carson as secretary of housing and urban development and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross Jr. as commerce secretary. But a top aide was thinking aloud about this on Thursday, seeming to highlight opposition among some Trump supporters to Romney’s selection as secretary of state.

In a pair of posts on her verified Twitter account @kellyannePolls Thursday, Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway noted that she had been “receiving a deluge of social media & private concerns re Romney Some Trump loyalists war against Romney as sec of state.”

The former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee had vehemently opposed Trump’s nomination during the primary season, assailing the billionaire as a “phony.”

In a second Twitter post, Conway referred to former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, both Cabinet officers in previous Republican administrations, as men who “flew around the world less, counseled POTUS (president of the United States) close to home more. And were loyal. Good checklist.”

The most recent Trump Cabinet-level picks to be announced were South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and charter school advocate Betsy DeVos to lead the Education Department.

Trump talked of saving jobs on Thanksgiving in his own tweet.

During the presidential campaign he often cited Carrier’s decision last February to relocate some 1,400 jobs to its plant in Mexico as an example of jobs leaving the country — and how he as president would slap a tax on any units manufactured in Mexico and sold in the U.S.

“I am working hard, even on Thanksgiving, trying to get Carrier A.C. Company to stay in the U.S.,” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “MAKING PROGRESS – Will know soon!”

The company confirmed Thursday that it had discussed the move with the incoming administration but that there was nothing to announce.

Putting on inaugural balls and other festivities surrounding the Jan. 20 event will cost millions, and incoming presidents turn to supporters to foot the bill but try not to begin their administrations appearing beholden to donors.

In Trump’s case, he has set $1 million donation limits for corporations and no limits for individual donors, according to an official on the Presidential Inaugural Committee with direct knowledge of tentative fundraising plans. The official was not authorized to disclose private deliberations by name and requested anonymity.

At the same time, Trump’s inaugural committee will not accept money from registered lobbyists, in line with his ban on hiring lobbyists for his nascent administration.

Barack Obama set stricter limits on donations for his first inauguration, in 2009, holding individual donors to $50,000 each and taking no money from corporations or labor unions, as well as none from lobbyists and some other groups. Plenty of corporate executives, though, gave individually and often at the maximum amount. And he opened the spigots for his 2013 inauguration, setting no limits on corporate or individual donations.

On the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday, the president-elect offered a prayer for unity after “a long and bruising” campaign season.

“Emotions are raw and tensions just don’t heal overnight,” Trump said in a video message on social media. He added, “It’s my prayer that on this Thanksgiving we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country strengthened by shared purpose and very, very common resolve.”

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(Source:oregonlive.com)
Photo:chicagotribune.com

Trump’s Newest Addition To Cabinet: Nikki Haley and Betsy DeVos

President-elect Donald J. Trump named two prominent Republican women to cabinet posts on Wednesday, recruiting Betsy DeVos, a prominent Republican philanthropist and educational activist, as education secretary, and Gov. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina as ambassador to the United Nations.

Donald Trump is going with a former critic for a key foreign policy post, picking South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Wednesday to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

nikki_haley_1

Gov.Nikki R. Haley, Photo: NY Times

The president-elect has also picked Betsy DeVos, a businesswoman and charter school advocate from Michigan, to be his secretary of Education, DeVos said in a tweet posted early Wednesday afternoon.

And former Republican primary rival Ben Carson, mentioned as a possible pick for secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said on Twitter and Facebook that “I feel that I can make a significant contribution,” and an announcement is “forthcoming.”

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Donald Trump: First 100 Days Executive Priorities

President-elect Donald Trump released a recorded video message to the nation Monday evening, in which he outlined several executive actions he plans to take on his first day in office.

“I am going to issue our notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Trump began, vowing to withdraw from the trade agreement with 11 other countries that was pushed by President Barack Obama. Trump said he will instead negotiate bilateral trade deals that “bring jobs and industry” back to the country.

Trump also promised to “cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy — including shale energy and clean coal,” though he did not specify which restrictions he planned to eliminate. This step would create “many millions of high-paying jobs,” he said.

Trump vowed to “formulate a rule which says that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated,” repeating a proposal he made near the end of the election.

Notably absent from Trump’s announcement: His campaign promise to build a wall along America’s southern border with Mexico. He did say, however, that he would “direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker.”

Trump also promised to instruct the Pentagon and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to “develop a comprehensive plan to protect America’s vital infrastructure from cyberattacks, and all other form of attacks.”

Trump said he would impose a five-year ban on government officials becoming lobbyists, and a lifetime ban for lobbying on behalf of foreign governments. He made no mention of his previous proposal to introduce term limits for members of Congress.

Trump also made no mention of the Affordable Care Act, after repeatedly vowing to repeal and replace it. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, the president-elect said he was considering retaining portions of the law.

Also missing: Any calls to Congress to take action on Trump’s policies. Trump’s team has been in touch with the offices of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell legislative priorities, but he made no mention of either congressional leader.

Trump said he would “provide more updates in the coming days.”

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(Source:politico.com)
Photo: Transition 2017 Youtube Channel/Printscreen

Donald Trump’s staff picks alarm Muslims, illegal immigrants

US President-elect Donald Trump picked three conservative loyalists to lead his national security and law enforcement teams on Friday, underscoring his campaign promise to take a hard line confronting Islamist militancy and curbing illegal immigration.

Trump picked US Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general, rewarding a staunch supporter whose tough and sometimes inflammatory statements on immigration have reflected his own. The choice was applauded by the top Republican in the Senate but drew sharp criticism from civil rights activists.

Retired Army Lieutenant General Mike Flynn , who has championed Trump’s promises to take a more aggressive approach to terrorism, was chosen as his national security adviser.

Trump named Representative Mike Pompeo, a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s security policy, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The three choices, announced by Trump’s transition team, come as the Republican president-elect works to fill key positions in his administration, which will take over from Democratic President Barack Obama on January 20.

The picks could heighten concerns abroad that the Trump administration might carry out campaign promises of banning Muslims from entering the United States or imposing more severe restrictions on migrants from countries or regions with high levels of militant Islamist activity, such as Iraq and Syria.

Sessions and Pompeo seem likely to be confirmed by the Senate despite heavy resistance from Democrats. Republicans will control a majority, with at least 51 seats in the 100-seat chamber, when Congress reconvenes in January. Flynn’s post does not need Senate confirmation.

One of the earliest Republican lawmakers to support Trump’s White House candidacy, Sessions opposes any path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and was an enthusiastic backer of Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico. He has also argued for curbs on legal immigration on the grounds that it drives down wages for US workers.

A former Alabama attorney general and US attorney, Sessions, 69, has been in the Senate for 19 years. Allegations that he made racist remarks led the Senate to deny his confirmation as a federal judge in 1986. The chamber’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, said he would want Sessions to answer “tough questions” about his civil rights positions.

The attorney general acts as the country’s chief law enforcement officer and head of the Justice Department. Civil rights groups slammed Sessions as a poor choice to head a department charged with protecting voting rights and running immigration courts.

“How can we trust someone in that role who has demonstrated he thinks all forms of immigration are bad for America?” said Beth Werlin, head of the American Immigration Council.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he strongly supported Sessions for attorney general, calling him “principled, forthright, and hardworking.”

Sessions has been one of Trump’s most enthusiastic backers on Capitol Hill and the president-elect has hired several of Sessions’ staffers, including policy chief Stephen Miller and Rick Dearborn, who has a top job managing the transition.

Also on Friday, the first set of transition “landing teams” were starting work at the departments of State, Justice, Defense and the National Security Council to begin hashing out the details of shifting to a new administration.

Islamist militants

Flynn, one of Trump’s closest advisers, was fired from the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, a move he has attributed to his outspoken views about fighting Islamist militancy. Other officials who worked with Flynn cited his lack of management skills and leadership style as reasons for his firing.

An Army intelligence veteran of three decades, Flynn was assistant director of national intelligence under Obama. He views the 2003 invasion of Iraq as a strategic blunder and has refused to condemn Trump’s support for the renewed use of waterboarding. This is an interrogation technique that simulates drowning, is widely considered torture and was banned by Obama.

Pompeo, 52, a third-term Republican congressman and former US Army officer who founded an aerospace company, was a surprise pick to lead the CIA.

A member of the House Intelligence Committee, Pompeo has called for a revival and expansion of a now-defunct domestic spying program to include “financial and lifestyle information” as well as phone records. He has said that Edward Snowden, a former government contractor who uncovered the spying program and who now lives in Russia, should get the death penalty if he is ever tried and convicted.

Pompeo has been one of the most aggressive critics of the Obama administration’s handling of a 2012 attack on US diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans.

Nevertheless, Democrats who have worked with him joined Republicans in describing Pompeo as knowledgeable and hard working.

“While we have had our share of strong differences – principally on the politicization of the tragedy in Benghazi – I know that he is someone who is willing to listen and engage,” Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said on Friday.

Trump met on Friday with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a possible pick to head the Department of Homeland Security, and US Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a possible candidate for defense secretary.

Trump is considering retired General David Petraeus, who resigned as CIA chief in 2012 after an extra-marital affair, is being considered for the post of defense secretary, the Wall Street Journal said.

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(Source:indiatimes.com)
Photo: Reuters

Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks, so far

President-elect Donald Trump faces a daunting challenge as he prepares for his move to the White House: Selecting the men and women who will fill his administration.

Trump must choose thousands of appointees and nominees who will oversee the nation’s security, economy, foreign affairs and domestic policies.

His picks so far suggest that loyalty is paramount. Early backers and those who served key roles in Trump’s campaign will continue to form the inner circle of a Trump administration filled with a combination of experienced, Washington insiders and controversial outsiders, including some whose selection has sparked anger and alarm.

Here’s who he’s chosen so far.

WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Reince Priebus
reince_priebus

Reince Priebus, Photo:Wikipedia

The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Priebus earned Trump’s trust and confidence over the campaign. The 44-year-old Wisconsin political operative, who has spent his career as a Republican party official, is poised to be one of Trump’s most important gatekeepers, controlling access to the president and providing counsel.

CHIEF STRATEGIST and SENIOR COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Steve Bannon
CEO of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump campaign Stephen Bannon is pictured during a meeting with Trump's Hispanic Advisory Council at Trump Tower in the Manhattan borough of New York

Steve Bannon, Photo:AP

One of Trump’s most controversial hires to date, Bannon joined Trump’s campaign as CEO in August after serving as the head of Breitbart News — a far-right outlet that is one of Trump’s biggest backers. Bannon, 62, worked for Goldman Sachs, then started his own media-focused boutique investment banking firm. After selling the business, he became a film producer, which introduced him to conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart and author Peter Schweizer. Jewish groups and a long list of Democratic leaders have denounced Bannon’s hiring and called on Trump to reconsider.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: Sen. Jeff Sessions
jeff_sessions

Jeff Sessions, Photo:Getty

The first senator to endorse the president elect, Alabama’s Sessions is known for his tough stance on immigration enforcement policies.

Sessions, who served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama and Alabama attorney general before his election to the U.S. Senate, is expected to push the Justice Department to the right. Sessions, 69, could, however, face confirmation hiccups: His last confirmation hearing, in 1986 for a federal judgeship, was derailed over allegations that he’d made racially charged remarks while U.S. attorney in Alabama.

ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL SECURITY: Michael Flynn
michael_flynn

Michael Flynn, Photo: NBC News

A retired Army lieutenant general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Flynn was another early Trump backer and served as the president-elect’s top military adviser during the campaign. After retiring in 2014, Flynn quickly turned on the Obama administration and accused it of being soft on terrorism.In recent public comments, Flynn has emphasized his view that Islamic State extremists pose an existential threat on a global scale and demanded a far more aggressive U.S. military campaign against the group. In August, he declared that Islam “is a political ideology” and that it “definitely hides behind being a religion.”

DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Rep. Mike Pompeo
pompeo

Mike Pompeo, Photo:AFP

The Kansas congressman is a relatively new face in Trump’s circle. The hard-line Republican shares much of Trump’s worldview. He has heavily criticized the landmark Iran nuclear deal, blasted Hillary Clinton over the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya and her use of a private email server, and believes Edward Snowden is a traitor who deserves a death sentence.

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(Source:mcclatchydc.com)