Trump adds two to staff
Jill Stein calls for recounts in close Midwest elections
MADISON, WIS. — President-elect Donald Trump pressed forward Friday with two more administration picks, as failed Green Party candidate Jill Stein took new steps to force recounts across key Midwestern battlegrounds that could complicate Trump’s push for national unity.
Stein, who earned little more than 1 percent of the national vote, formally requested a Wisconsin recount Friday afternoon, vowing to do the same in the coming days in Michigan and Pennsylvania. There is no evidence of election tampering in the states where Trump scored razor-thin victories, but Green Party spokesman George Martin insisted that “the American public needs to have it investigated to make sure our votes count.”
“We’re doing this to ensure the integrity of our system,” he said.
Trump’s team ignored questions about the looming recounts. Set to assume the presidency in 55 days, he was focused instead on the daunting task of building an administration from scratch.
Gathered with family at his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach estate for the holiday weekend, the incoming president made two seniorlevel staff appointments and scheduled meetings with several more prospective administration officials.
He chose Fox News analyst Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland to serve as deputy national security adviser and campaign attorney Donald McGahn as White House counsel. In a statement, Trump cited McFarland’s “tremendous experience and innate talent” and said McGhan “has a McGahn McFarland
brilliant legal mind, excellent character and a deep understanding of constitutional law.”
Having faced criticism about the inexperience of his initial picks, Trump finds in McFarland someone who previously worked under three presidents, although none since Ronald Reagan. McGhan, a veteran Republican election lawyer, served as Trump’s attorney during the campaign.
Neither position requires Senate confirmation.
Trump transition spokesman Sean Spicer said the president-elect scheduled Monday meetings with eight more prospective administration hires, a group that includes several business leaders, Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta, and David Clarke, the Wisconsin sheriff who is an aggressive opponent of the Black Lives Matter movement.
There were also signs of internal discord within the president-elect’s small inner circle as Trump weighed his choices for secretary of state.
The options for the nation’s chief diplomat include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who lacks foreign policy experience but was intensely loyal to Trump, and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who aggressively opposed Trump’s candidacy but is largely regarded as more qualified.
Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway took the unusual step of shining light on the controversy over the Thanksgiving holiday, tweeting that she had been “receiving a deluge of social media & private concerns re: Romney Some Trump loyalists warn against Romney as sec of state.”
Meanwhile, Stein announced on her website she has raised enough money to fund recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and was pursuing additional funding to do the same in Michigan.
Trump’s Nov. 8 victory was unexpected and historic, by some measures.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leads the national popular vote by close to 2 million votes.
Trump scored narrow victories in key battleground states, however, giving him the necessary 270 electoral votes to assume the presidency.
He won in Pennsylvania. He won in Wisconsin, breaking a Democratic winning streak dating back 32 years. He holds a slim lead in Michigan, where a Republican presidential candidate hadn’t won since 1988; the Associated Press still hasn’t officially called that race.
Wisconsin, where Trump leads by little more than 22,000 votes, has never conducted a presidential recount. Even before Stein’s Friday request, Wisconsin elections Commission Elections Supervisor Ross Hein sent a memoto clerks this week telling them to expect one.
In Michigan, Trump’s 10,704-vote lead is expected to be certified by the state elections board Monday. The deadline to ask for a recount is Wednesday.
A statewide recount would cost Stein roughly $790,000, said Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for the Michigan secretary of state.