Trump takes his first steps to­ward gov­ern­ing

Pres­i­dent-elect goes to Wash­ing­ton to meet with Obama, lead­ers of Congress

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Noah Bier­man

WASH­ING­TON — Don­ald Trump’s top ad­vis­ers urged his op­po­nents to grant the pres­i­dent-elect a “fresh start” on Thurs­day, as the man who spent 17 months ma­lign­ing the es­tab­lish­ment took his first for­mal steps in as­sum­ing its reins.

Trump and his aides made a rit­ual jour­ney to the White House to meet with Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, a man whose birth­place he ques­tioned un­til re­cently, be­fore strolling the au­gust cor­ri­dors and ad­mir­ing t he views from the Capi­tol with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, the two Repub­li­cans whose re­la­tion­ships will prove piv­otal to his suc­cess.

Nor­mally, such steps are sym­bolic but rote. For Trump, the sig­nif­i­cance went much fur­ther. Ryan, like many in his party’s es­tab­lish­ment, was re­luc­tant to Obama pol­icy on im­mi­gra­tion is re­versible NEWS PG 6 Bal­ti­more pro­test­ers stage an anti-Trump march down Charles Street to the In­ner Har­bor. AR­TI­CLE, NEWS PG 2

em­brace Trump, and Trump cam­paigned on a prom­ise to re­verse the achieve­ments of Obama, who ex­plic­itly charged that the busi­ness mogul was un­fit to hold the na­tion’s high­est elected of­fice.

In the Oval Of­fice, the men spoke warmly of each other, giv­ing un­spo­ken as­sur­ance that the tran­si­tion of power would not be im­peded by the his­tor­i­cally nasty pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Obama called the meet­ing ex­cel­lent and re­newed his vow to help make Trump suc­cess­ful. Trump only lamented that the sum­mit did not last longer, say­ing it had al­ready been stretched be­yond the planned 10 or 15 min­utes into a full hour and a half due to their easy rap­port.

“I very much look for­ward to deal­ing with the pres­i­dent in the fu­ture, in­clud­ing coun­sel,” he said.

Trump also promised to work quickly with Ryan and other con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans on health care, an is­sue on which they are united in their de­sire to re­peal Obama’s sig­na­ture law, as well as im­mi­gra­tion and “big-league jobs” pro­pos­als.

The pledges to co­op­er­ate, even if many items on his to-do list re­main di­vi­sive, were among sev­eral signs that Trump wants to put some as­pects of the po­lar­iz­ing cam­paign be­hind him and show, as he long promised, a more pres­i­den­tial face.

His blunt call to ban all Mus­lims from en­ter­ing the coun­try, for ex­am­ple, was tem­po­rar­ily ex­punged from his cam­paign web­site af­ter lin­ger­ing there since he is­sued it in De­cem­ber, fol­low­ing the deadly ter­ror­ist at­tack in San Bernardino.

Trump’s staff re­stored it Thurs­day af­ter­noon. Trump walked away from re­porters with­out an­swer­ing when asked dur­ing his Capi­tol visit whether he would con­tinue to pur­sue the pol­icy, which he had seemed to amend over the course of the cam­paign.

Ru­dolph Gi­u­liani, the for­mer New York mayor and Trump con­fi­dant, also sug­gested that Trump may let go of his vow to pros­e­cute Hil­lary Clin­ton, an­other cam­paign ral­ly­ing cry. On Capi­tol Hill, Repub­li­cans have been mum on whether they would press for­ward with in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

“I don’t like to see Amer­ica be­come a coun­try where we pros­e­cute peo­ple be­cause of pol­i­tics,” Gi­u­liani said on Fox News. Yet he gave Trump room to ma­neu­ver, adding that “there are deep and dis­turb­ing is­sues there.”

The day fol­lowed an evening of protests around the coun­try by op­po­nents who came away from the elec­tion an­gry, declar­ing that they would not ac­cept Trump as their pres­i­dent.

“There will be a fresh start,” Michael Co­hen, a lawyer for the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion, said on CNN as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is lead­ing Trump’s tran­si­tion to the White House, de­clared that Trump and the na­tion had moved be­yond the con­tro­versy Trump in­flamed re­gard­ing Obama’s birth­place.

It re­mained un­clear whether such moves rep­re­sent a full or per­ma­nent shift in Trump’s ap­proach.

As a can­di­date, Trump fre­quently re­buffed pub­lic sug­ges­tions from his own cam­paign that he would soften some of his stances or pull back from con­tro­ver­sial prom­ises. He no­tably con­tra­dicted his run­ning mate, Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence, at one point say­ing that Pence did not ac­cu­rately rep­re­sent his Syria pol­icy be­cause the two men had not spo­ken about it. Trump would also fol­low days of scripted pol­icy speeches with late-night tweets or other pub­lic de­nun­ci­a­tions of his crit­ics that would di­lute his ef­forts to ap­pear above the fray.

Trump will also face im­mense pres­sure from the pas­sion­ate back­ers who fu­eled his elec­tion to keep ham­mer­ing at the es­tab­lish­ment.

Yet, as Trump be­gins to grasp the full weight of his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, he may be en­ter­ing a new phase.

His pre­cise pol­icy agenda will take shape over the next sev­eral weeks as he se­lects Cabi­net sec­re­taries and other key ad­vis­ers to help de­ter­mine his pri­or­i­ties. On Thurs­day, one of the na­tion’s most prom­i­nent im­mi­gra­tion hard-lin­ers emerged as a player in Trump’s tran­si­tion. Kansas Sec­re­tary of State Kris Kobach, who helped to craft Ari­zona’s 2010 law that let lo­cal po­lice crack down on im­mi­grants sus­pected of en­ter­ing the coun­try il­le­gally, told a tele­vi­sion sta­tion that he would be help­ing Trump’s team on im­mi­gra­tion is­sues.

“There’s no ques­tion the wall is go­ing to get built. The only ques­tion is, how quickly will it get done and who pays for it?” Kobach told KWCH.

Other names from the lob­by­ing world were also emerg­ing in me­dia re­ports de­tail­ing mem­bers of the tran­si­tion team, in­clud­ing peo­ple with ties to en­ergy, bank­ing and tobacco in­dus­tries.

Trump laid out an ex­ten­sive list for his first days in of­fice dur­ing a speech in Get­tys­burg, Pa., last month, in­clud­ing steep tax re­duc­tions, a bor­der wall with Mex­ico, a freeze in most fed­eral gov­ern­ment hir­ing and the can­cel­la­tion of bil­lions of dol­lars in pay­ments for United Na­tions cli­mate change pro­grams.

He also in­cluded a dozen is­sues on a new tran­si­tion web­site un­veiled Thurs­day, in­clud­ing in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing, trade pol­icy, and the dis­man­tling of the fi­nan­cial rules Obama cre­ated with Congress fol­low­ing the 2008 bank­ing in­dus­try col­lapse.

Some ac­tions can be taken uni­lat­er­ally, but oth­ers will re­quire con­gres­sional ap­proval, with po­lit­i­cally dif­fi­cult votes that not all Repub­li­cans will want to take.

PABLO MARTINEZ MON­SI­VAIS/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump meet with the news me­dia in the Oval Of­fice of the White House af­ter their pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion. What had been sched­uled for 10 to 15 min­utes stretched to an hour and a half as they de­vel­oped a rap­port.

LLOYD FOX/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

ZACH GIB­SON/GETTY IMAGES

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, left, shows Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump and Me­la­nia Trump the view from the Speaker’s Bal­cony at the U.S. Capi­tol.

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