Trump sees ‘tremen­dous ta­lent’ but gives no new cabi­net picks ‘You’ll hear some things to­mor­row’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

BED­MIN­STER, United States: US Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump said Satur­day he saw “tremen­dous ta­lent” in a stream of cabi­net hope­fuls-in­clud­ing for­mer critic Mitt Rom­ney-in­vited to his golf club for talks, but did not re­veal any new nom­i­na­tions. “You’ll hear some things to­mor­row,” the 70-year-old Repub­li­can bil­lion­aire pres­i­dent-in-wait­ing told re­porters af­ter a marathon day of meet­ings at his golf re­treat in New Jersey, a 90-minute drive out­side Man­hat­tan. Trump is build­ing his new ad­min­is­tra­tion af­ter his shock Novem­ber 8 elec­tion win over Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton, with an eye on his in­au­gu­ra­tion on Jan­uary 20.

Rom­ney, the failed Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in 2012, is re­port­edly in the run­ning to be Trump’s sec­re­tary of state, even though the two men traded harsh barbs through­out the White House cam­paign.

Other high-level can­di­dates who trekked out to Trump’s golf re­sort in­cluded re­tired gen­eral James Mat­tis, a po­ten­tial Pen­tagon chief his team called a “‘real deal’ and “Amer­i­can hero,” and Michelle Rhee, the con­tro­ver­sial for­mer head of schools in the US cap­i­tal.

Trump-with Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence at his side-said his meet­ings had gone “re­ally ef­fi­ciently. Tremen­dous ta­lent. We’re see­ing tremen­dous ta­lent.” This in­cluded talks with Rom­ney, who emerged from the ses­sion say­ing noth­ing about whether he was of­fered the job or was in­ter­ested in it. “We had a far-reach­ing con­ver­sa­tion with re­gards to the var­i­ous the­aters in the world where there are in­ter­ests of the United States of real sig­nif­i­cance,” Rom­ney said. “We dis­cussed those ar­eas and ex­changed our views on those top­ics.”

Trump’s team de­scribed a “substantive and in­depth con­ver­sa­tion about world af­fairs, na­tional se­cu­rity and the fu­ture of Amer­ica.” “It was an ex­tremely pos­i­tive and pro­duc­tive con­ver­sa­tion,” a state­ment added. Dur­ing their dis­cus­sions with Rhee, Trump and Pence dis­cussed “the pos­si­bil­ity for in­creas­ing com­pe­ti­tion through char­ter and choice schools. They also brought the idea of merit pay for teach­ers go­ing above and beyond in their class­rooms into the con­ver­sa­tion,” a state­ment read.

The huge, ex­clu­sive Trump Na­tional Golf Club in Bed­min­ster is one of the pres­i­dent-elect’s fa­vorite sanc­tu­ar­ies, where he likes to spend week­ends and where he pre­pared for cam­paign de­bates against Clin­ton. Trump saw sev­eral busi­ness lead­ers in­clud­ing Lew Eisen­berg, An­drew Puzder, Betsy DeVos and Todd Rick­etts, the owner of the Chicago Cubs base­ball team. When asked if the cabi­net was be­ing formed, Trump replied: “Yes. Par­tially. We’re do­ing this again to­mor­row.”

Rom­ney ap­pears to be on the short­list for the State Depart­ment, along with for­mer New York mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani. Rom­ney would bring a more ortho­dox Repub­li­can world­view to for­eign pol­icy. He de­scribed Rus­sia in 2012 as the main Amer­i­can geopo­lit­i­cal threat-a sharp con­trast to Trump, who has ex­changed com­pli­ments with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. Dur­ing Trump’s cam­paign, Rom­ney de­scribed him as a “fraud,” re­buk­ing the ty­coon for pro­pos­als such as ban­ning the en­try of all for­eign Mus­lims.

Trump, who was spend­ing his first week­end out­side Man­hat­tan since his elec­tion, had not ap­peared in pub­lic since he gave re­porters the slip to take his fam­ily to din­ner in New York on Tues­day. He has, how­ever, been ac­tive on Twit­ter, a fo­rum he has won fans-and de­trac­tors-with his off-the-cuff mes­sage style.

Trump also tweeted that he had set­tled three class ac­tion law­suits over his now-de­funct Trump University for $25 mil­lion so that all his en­ergy could be fo­cused on his new job, dis­miss­ing any hint of guilt. “The ONLY bad thing about win­ning the Pres­i­dency is that I did not have the time to go through a long but win­ning trial on Trump U. Too bad!” he tweeted.

Cabi­net takes shape

So far, Trump has an­nounced a hand­ful of gov­ern­ment nom­i­na­tions, in­clud­ing ul­tra-conservative Sen­a­tor Jeff Ses­sions as at­tor­ney gen­eral, hawk­ish con­gress­man Mike Pom­peo as CIA di­rec­tor and re­tired lieu­tenant gen­eral Michael Flynn as his na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor.

Flynn’s ap­point­ment does not re­quire Se­nate ap­proval. But that of Ses­sions as at­tor­ney gen­eral does, and he has bag­gage: racially charged com­ments he made in the 1980s that cost him a chance for a job for life as a fed­eral judge. With some 15 se­nior po­si­tions in his cabi­net still to fill, the prop­erty mogul will re­main in Bed­min­ster un­til Sun­day night, far from the pro­test­ers be­sieg­ing his New York build­ing.

More than 1,000 demon­stra­tors marched from Queens-the New York bor­ough where Trump was born-to Trump Tower in mid­town Man­hat­tan on Satur­day, de­cry­ing what they see as a threat to demo­cratic val­ues un­der a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion. Demon­stra­tors, many wav­ing rain­bow flags in sup­port of the gay com­mu­nity, car­ried such signs as “No to fas­cism” and “Stop racism.” —AFP

BED­MIN­STER, United States: US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump and US Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence de­part af­ter a day of meet­ings at the club­house of Trump Na­tional Golf Club on Satur­day.—AFP

WASH­ING­TON: At­ten­dees ar­rive at Met­ro­pol­i­tan A.M.E. Church for the me­mo­rial ser­vice for jour­nal­ist Gwen Ifill on Satur­day.—AP

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