Trump plans next moves as protests spread
DONALD Trump huddled with advisers inside his Manhattan residence plotting his next moves as thousands of demonstrators besieged Trump Tower and marched through other US cities in a fourth day of protests on November 12.
President-elect Mr Trump appeared to be making some headway in forming a new administration.
Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told reporters his appointment of a White House chief of staff was “imminent” and that Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus was among the candidates for the key post.
Mr Trump has sought to strike a conciliatory tone since his shock election last week, announcing he no longer intended to completely scrap Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, Obamacare.
“This will prove to be a great time in the lives of ALL Americans. We will unite and we will win, win, win!” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, a swelling crowd of more than 5000 people marched towards Trump Tower in Manhattan amid cries of “Trump is NOT my president”.
In Los Angeles, as many as 10,000 people turned out for a march in the city’s downtown after a night of protests that ended in several hundred arrests. Thousands more marched peacefully in Chicago.
Trump Tower has been the epicentre of furious activity as the Trump team fleshes out his cabinet picks and works to fill hundreds of other top government jobs.
“He’s receiving many visitors,” Ms Conway told reporters. “These are exciting times.”
Among those seen entering the tower on November 12 were Nigel Farage, whose UK Independence Party backed the Brexit vote that stunned Britons just as Mr Trump’s victory did many Americans.
Although Mr Trump’s election has set off alarm bells in many world capitals, it has been warmly welcomed by Europe’s surging far-right movements.
Around the world, Mr Trump’s every move is being scrutinised for clues to how the political novice will govern and change the status quo.
His U-turn on Obamacare – which candidate Trump had branded a “disaster” – was prompted by his White House meeting with the outgoing president a day earlier.
Mr Trump told The Wall Street Journal he may maintain some of the program’s more popular elements, such as a ban on insurance companies denying coverage because of so-called pre-existing health conditions.
This marked one of several moves by Mr Trump away from his more sweeping campaign positions.
Asked by The Journal whether he would, as threatened, name a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server as secretary of state, Mr Trump deflected, saying his priorities were “healthcare, jobs, border control, tax reform”.
Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich also cast doubt on whether Mr Trump would make Mexico fund his proposed border wall – another rallying cry.
“He’ll spend a lot of time controlling the border. He may not spend very much time trying to get Mexico to pay for it, but it was a great campaign device,” Mr Gingrich said.
Despite his more measured tone, the Republican has yet to respond to mounting calls to reassure Americans who fear a xenophobic crackdown under his authority.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors hate groups, tracked more than 200 incidents of election-related harassment in the three days following the election.
More than 47,000 people have signed an SPLC petition urging Mr Trump to clearly distance himself from hate groups.
More Americans are wearing safety pins to symbolise solidarity with those his words have targeted, like Muslims, Latinos and women.
The practice began in Britain following the Brexit vote with its strong anti-immigrant undertones.
Asked whether he thought his rhetoric had gone too far, Mr Trump told The Journal, “No. I won.”
But he added that he would now take a more positive approach.
“I want a country that loves each other,” he said.
In a CBS interview yesterday, Mr Trump credited his use of social media – he claims 28 million followers on Twitter and other platforms – for helping him win the election.
“When you give me a bad story or when you give me an inaccurate story ... I have a method of fighting back,” he said.
Mr Trump also spoke warmly of the election night call he received from Ms Clinton conceding his victory, praising her as “very strong and very smart”. –