Trump may be look­ing to di­ver­sify ap­pointees

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE -

His nascent ad­min­is­tra­tion al­ready un­der at­tack, Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump was con­sid­er­ing Mon­day whether to in­ject new di­ver­sity into the GOP by rec­om­mend­ing a woman to lead the Repub­li­can Party and a gay man to rep­re­sent the United States at the United Na­tions. The moves, among dozens un­der con­sid­er­a­tion from his tran­si­tion team, fol­low an in­tense and ex­tended back­lash from Trump’s de­ci­sion on Sun­day to ap­point Steve Ban­non, a man cel­e­brated by the white na­tion­al­ist move­ment, to serve as his chief strate­gist and se­nior ad­viser.

“Af­ter win­ning the pres­i­dency but los­ing the pop­u­lar vote, Pres­i­dent-elect Trump must try to bring Amer­i­cans to­gether — not con­tinue to fan the flames of di­vi­sion and big­otry,” said House Demo­cratic leader Nancy Pelosi. She called Ban­non’s ap­point­ment “an alarm­ing sig­nal” that Trump “re­mains com­mit­ted to the hate­ful and di­vi­sive vi­sion that de­fined his cam­paign.”

His in­au­gu­ra­tion just 66 days away, how­ever, Trump fo­cused on build­ing his team and speak­ing to for­eign lead­ers. He re­mained se­questered in Trump Tower in New York.

In­ex­pe­ri­enced on the in­ter­na­tional stage, the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent-elect spoke to Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on the phone. His tran­si­tion of­fice said in a read­out that “he is very much look­ing for­ward to hav­ing a strong and en­dur­ing re­la­tion­ship with Rus­sia and the peo­ple of Rus­sia.” Trump has spo­ken in re­cent days with the lead­ers of China, Mex­ico, South

Korea and Canada.

At the same time, Trump was con­sid­er­ing tap­ping Richard Grenell as U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions. He would be the first openly gay per­son to fill a Cab­i­net-level for­eign pol­icy post. Grenell, known in part for ag­gres­sive crit­i­cism of ri­vals on Twit­ter, pre­vi­ously served as U.S. spokesman at the U.N. un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

Trump also was weigh­ing whether to se­lect Michi­gan GOP Chair­woman Ronna Rom­ney Mc­Daniel, a niece of chief Trump critic and 2012 pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Mitt Rom­ney. She would be the se­cond woman ever to lead the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee — and the first in four decades.

“I’ll be in­ter­ested in what­ever Mr. Trump wants,” Mc­Daniel told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Mon­day, adding that she was plan­ning to seek the Michi­gan GOP chair­man­ship again.

Ap­point­ing Mc­Daniel to run the GOP’s po­lit­i­cal arm could be an ef­fort to help the party heal the anger

af­ter a cam­paign in which Trump de­meaned women. The ap­point­ment of Grenell, who has openly sup­ported same-sex mar­riage, could be­gin to ease con­cerns by the gay com­mu­nity about Vice Pres­i­den­t­elect Mike Pence’s op­po­si­tion to same-sex mar­riage dur­ing his time as In­di­ana gover­nor.

The per­son­nel moves un­der con­sid­er­a­tion were con­firmed by peo­ple with di­rect knowl­edge of Trump’s think­ing who were not au­tho­rized to pub­licly dis­close pri­vate dis­cus­sions. They stressed that the de­ci­sions were not fi­nal.

In­ter­nal de­lib­er­a­tions about staffing come a day af­ter Trump made over­tures to war­ring Repub­li­can cir­cles by ap­point­ing Ban­non and RNC Chair­man Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff.

The for­mer me­dia ex­ec­u­tive, who led a web­site that ap­pealed to the so-called “alt-right” — a move­ment of­ten as­so­ci­ated with ef­forts on the far right to pre­serve “white iden­tity,” op­pose mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and de­fend “Western val­ues.”

Priebus on Mon­day de­fended the me­dia mogul, say­ing the two made an ef­fec­tive pair as they steered

Trump past Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton and to­ward the pres­i­dency. He sought to dis­tance Ban­non from the in­cen­di­ary head­lines on his web­site, say­ing they were writ­ten by un­spec­i­fied oth­ers.

“To­gether, we’ve been able to man­age a lot of the de­ci­sion mak­ing in re­gard to the cam­paign,” Priebus told NBC’s “To­day.” ‘’It’s worked very, very well.”

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama avoided any di­rect crit­i­cism of Trump’s per­son­nel moves dur­ing an af­ter­noon news con­fer­ence, sug­gest­ing that the new pres­i­dent de­serves “room to staff up.”

“It’s im­por­tant for us to let him make his de­ci­sions,” Obama said. “The Amer­i­can peo­ple will judge over the course of the next cou­ple of years whether they like what they see.”

The out­go­ing pres­i­dent en­cour­aged Trump, how­ever, to em­brace a uni­fy­ing tone.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant to try to send some sig­nals of unity and to reach out to mi­nor­ity groups or women or oth­ers that were con­cerned about the tenor of the cam­paign,” Obama said. “And I think that’s some­thing he will — he will want to do.”

Trump’s hires were, at

first glance, con­tra­dic­tory, though they fit a pat­tern of the celebrity busi­ness­man cre­at­ing a ver­i­ta­ble Rorschach test that al­lowed his sup­port­ers to see what they wanted. Priebus, who lashed the RNC to Trump this sum­mer de­spite some in­tra­party ob­jec­tions, is a GOP op­er­a­tive with deep ex­per­tise of the Wash­ing­ton es­tab­lish­ment that Trump has vowed to shake up. He has close ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan, a fel­low Wis­con­si­nite.

Ban­non, mean­while, helped trans­form the Bre­it­bart News site into the lead­ing mouth­piece of the party’s anti-es­tab­lish­ment wing, which helped fuel the busi­ness­man’s po­lit­i­cal rise. Ryan has been one of his most fre­quent tar­gets.

Jonathan Green­blatt, CEO and na­tional di­rec­tor of the Anti-Defama­tion League, called Ban­non’s selec­tion “a sad day.”

Ban­non, Green­blatt said, “presided over the rise of Bre­it­bart as a haven on­line” for the “alt-right.” The web­site un­der Ban­non’s lead­er­ship “traf­ficked in the some of the worst tropes, not just only against Jews — but the anti-Semitism is real — but also against other mi­nori­ties, par­tic­u­larly Mex­i­cans and Mus­lims.”

Grenell

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