Trump dines with Rom­ney, plans new vic­tory tour

‘Trump will lead us to a bet­ter fu­ture’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Donald Trump dined Tues­day at one of New York’s swanki­est restau­rants with Mitt Rom­ney, his erst­while foe turned po­ten­tial fron­trun­ner in the race to be­come Amer­ica’s next sec­re­tary of state. The din­ner came as the pres­i­dent-elect got a shot in the arm by a man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany an­nounc­ing a deal to keep nearly 1,000 jobs in the Rust Belt and as the New York bil­lion­aire pre­pared to switch his at­ten­tions from job in­ter­views to a post-elec­tion vic­tory tour. “We will keep our com­pa­nies and jobs in the US. Thanks Car­rier,” Trump tweeted late Tues­day, re­fer­ring to the In­di­ana-based air con­di­tion­ing com­pany that an­nounced the deal.

The choice of Jean-Ge­orges, a three-starred Miche­lin restau­rant over­look­ing Cen­tral Park run by celebrity French chef Jean-Ge­orges Von­gerichten and pop­u­lar with New York high so­ci­ety, was the clear­est in­di­ca­tion yet that Trump may se­lect Rom­ney as his chief diplo­mat. Af­ter the din­ner, Rom­ney of­fered words of praise for Trump that con­trasted sharply with his past crit­i­cisms, say­ing he had been “im­pressed” by his ac­cep­tance speech and sub­se­quent prepa­ra­tions for of­fice, call­ing it “a won­der­ful evening.”

“I think you’re go­ing to see Amer­ica con­tinue to lead the world in this cen­tury,” Rom­ney told re­porters, say­ing he had “in­creas­ing hope that pres­i­dent-elect Trump is the very man who can lead us to that bet­ter fu­ture.” The brash real es­tate ty­coon and the for­mer Repub­li­can nom­i­nee who lost the 2012 elec­tion to Barack Obama were joined by Trump’s in­com­ing chief of staff Reince Priebus in full view of other din­ers, who in­cluded CNN’s se­nior White House cor­re­spon­dent.

In a restau­rant where din­ner starts at $148 a head, the Trump team said they feasted on gar­lic soup with thyme, sauteed frog legs and scal­lops with caramelized cau­li­flower and a ca­per raisin emul­sion. For their main course, both the pres­i­dent-elect and Priebus opted for prime sir­loin with a cit­rus glaze and car­rots, and Rom­ney for lamb chops with the mush­room bolog­nese sauce. All three had choco­late cake. Asked by a reporter briefly al­lowed to ob­serve the meal whether it was go­ing well, the pres­i­dent-elect flashed a thumbs up.

It was the sec­ond face-to-face meet­ing in 10 days be­tween Trump and the 69-year-old for­mer Mas­sachusetts gover­nor, who sav­aged him as a “con­man” and a “fraud” dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign. Trump’s sec­re­tary of state will be Amer­ica’s pub­lic face to the world who could face the del­i­cate task of re­as­sur­ing for­eign al­lies alarmed by the pres­i­dent-elect’s rhetoric on the cam­paign trail. Other key posts yet to be an­nounced are the sec­re­taries of de­fense and trea­sury-for which US me­dia re­ported that Trump was ex­pected to name for­mer Gold­man Sachs banker Steven Mnuchin.

But the search for the right diplo­mat has proved con­tentious with some of Trump’s in­ner cir­cle hor­ri­fied at the prospect of re­ward­ing a prom­i­nent critic with such a plum job. Rom­ney’s dis­trust of Rus­sia-at odds with a pres­i­dent-elect who has spo­ken ad­mir­ingly of Vladimir Puti­nand the re­spect he gen­er­ally com­mands have been touted as qual­i­ties by estab­lish­ment Amer­i­cans. It re­mains un­clear how in­flu­en­tial the sec­re­tary of state would be on craft­ing for­eign pol­icy with Trump loy­al­ist and re­tired gen­eral Michael Flynn al­ready nom­i­nated as na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser.

Be­sides Rom­ney, other po­ten­tial can­di­dates are cel­e­brated gen­eral yet scan­dal-clad for­mer CIA di­rec­tor David Pe­traeus, Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee chair­man Bob Corker and for­mer New York mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani. Ear­lier Tues­day, Trump met Corker, 64, who said that he thought Trump had nar­rowed the choice “to a very small group of peo­ple” and it was im­por­tant that he se­lects some­body on the same wave length.

Pe­traeus, who met the pres­i­dent-elect on Mon­day, has by far the most for­eign pol­icy ex­pe­ri­ence, but was forced to re­sign from the CIA af­ter show­ing clas­si­fied ma­te­rial to his mis­tress Paula Broad­well. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to a mis­de­meanor charge of mis­han­dling clas­si­fied ma­te­ri­als, and was put on pro­ba­tion and fined $100,000.

Jobs to stay

Help­ing Trump claim suc­cess on his elec­tion pledge to save Amer­i­can jobs from go­ing over­seas, air-con­di­tion­ing com­pany Car­rier Corp an­nounced it had reached a deal with the pres­i­dent-elect and vice pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence “to keep close to 1,000 jobs.” Trump had tweeted on Amer­ica’s Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day last week that he was seek­ing to per­suade the com­pany to stay in the United States.

The New York Times re­ported that Trump and Pence plan to ap­pear at the com­pany’s In­di­anapo­lis plant on Thursday to an­nounce they have struck a deal af­ter the com­pany had threat­ened to move 2,000 jobs to Mex­ico.The same day, both Trump and Pence are also sched­uled to lead a post-elec­tion rally in Cincin­nati, Ohio. The evening event at the home of the Cincin­nati Cy­clones, with a max­i­mum ca­pac­ity of more than 17,000, is ex­pected to be sim­i­lar to those that drew en­thu­si­as­tic crowds of thou­sands dur­ing the cam­paign. The tran­si­tion team has dubbed it a “thank you tour.” — AFP

NEW YORK CITY: Pres­i­dent-elect Donald Trump and Mitt Rom­ney dine at Jean Ge­orges restau­rant. — AFP

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