Ex-foes Trump, Rom­ney meet

Pres­i­dent elect talks with 2012 GOP hope­ful as process of fill­ing posts con­tin­ues

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Cather­ine Lucey

BED­MIN­STER, N.J. >> Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump and Mitt Rom­ney met Satur­day at the bil­lion­aire’s golf club in New Jer­sey, putting a year of con­flict aside for a smil­ing hand­shake — though they did not in­di­cate what, if any, role the 2012 GOP hope­ful might play in the new ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Trump flashed a thumb­sup and said the sit down “went great.” Rom­ney said the two had a “far reach­ing con­ver­sa­tion with re­gards to the var­i­ous the­aters in the world where there are in­ter­ests of the United States of real sig­nif­i­cance.”

The ami­able tone was a marked con­trast to a ran­corous year, in which Rom­ney at­tacked Trump as a “con man” and a “phony.” But the two have started to mend fences since the Trump’s vic­tory over Democrat Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Rom­ney was only one of a pa­rade of of­fi­cials pour-

ing through Trump’s door as the pres­i­dent-elect tries to fill more mem­bers of his ad­min­is­tra­tion. He met Satur­day with ed­u­ca­tion ac­tivists Michelle Rhee and Betsy DeVos, as well as re­tired Gen. James Mat­tis, con­sid­ered a con­tender to lead the Pen­tagon.

Emerg­ing from the white-pil­lared club­house on the rolling green golf course late in the day, Trump said: “we’re see­ing tremen­dous tal­ent. Peo­ple that, like I say, we will ‘Make Amer­ica Great Again.’ Th­ese are re­ally great peo­ple. Th­ese are re­ally, re­ally tal­ented peo­ple.”

Asked about ap­point­ments, Trump said: “You’ll hear some things to­mor­row.”

Trump’s Sunday sched­ule in Bed­min­ster in­cludes New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie, for­mer New York City Mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani and Kansas Sec­re­tary of State Kris Kobach.

On Fri­day, Trump picked Alabama Sen. Jeff Ses­sions for at­tor­ney gen­eral and Kansas Rep. Mike Pom­peo to head the CIA, sig­nal­ing a sharp right­ward shift in U.S. se­cu­rity pol­icy as he be­gins to form his Cabi­net. Trump also named re­tired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn as his national se­cu­rity ad­viser.

Host­ing the stream of vis­i­tors wasn’t Trump’s first pub­lic act of the day. First, there was Twit­ter.

He rushed to the de­fense

of Mike Pence on Satur­day af­ter “Hamil­ton” ac­tor Bran­don Vic­tor Dixon chal­lenged the in­com­ing vice pres­i­dent from the Broad­way stage af­ter the show Fri­day night. “Apol­o­gize!” Trump tweeted to the ac­tor. “Our won­der­ful fu­ture V.P. Mike Pence was ha­rassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamil­ton, cam­eras blaz­ing. This should not hap­pen!”

Dixon tweeted back: “Con­ver­sa­tion is not ha­rass­ment sir. And I ap­pre­ci­ate @MikePence for stop­ping to lis­ten.”

Trump also bragged on Twit­ter about agree­ing to set­tle a trio of law­suits against Trump Univer­sity, claim­ing: “The ONLY bad thing about win­ning the pres­i­dency is that I did not have the time to go through a long but win­ning trial on Trump U. Too bad!”

Trump then turned to the meet­ings, per­haps about posts in his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Trump’s an­nounce­ment on Fri­day of Ses­sions, Pom­peo and Flynn formed the first out­lines of Trump’s Cabi­net and national se­cu­rity teams. Given his lack of gov­ern­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and vague pol­icy pro­pos­als dur­ing the cam­paign, his se­lec­tion of ad­vis­ers is be­ing scru­ti­nized both in the U.S. and abroad.

Trump’s ini­tial de­ci­sions sug­gest a more ag­gres­sive mil­i­tary in­volve­ment in coun­tert­er­ror strat­egy and a greater em­pha­sis on Is­lam’s role in stok­ing ex­trem­ism. Ses­sions, who is best known for his hard line im­mi­gra­tion views,

has ques­tioned whether ter­ror­ist sus­pects should ben­e­fit from the rights avail­able in U.S. courts. Pom­peo has said Mus­lim lead­ers are “po­ten­tially com­plicit” in at­tacks if they do not de­nounce vi­o­lence car­ried out in the name of Is­lam.

Pom­peo’s nom­i­na­tion to lead the CIA also opens the prospect of the U.S. re­sum­ing tor­ture of de­tainees. Trump has backed harsh in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Congress have banned, say­ing the U.S. “should go tougher than wa­ter­board­ing,” which sim­u­lates drown­ing. In 2014, Pom­peo crit­i­cized Obama for “end­ing our in­ter­ro­ga­tion pro­gram” and said in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials “are not tor­tur­ers, they are pa­tri­ots.”

Ses­sions and Pom­peo would both re­quire Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion; Flynn would not.

In a sep­a­rate mat­ter Fri­day, it was an­nounced that Trump had agreed to a $25 mil­lion set­tle­ment to re­solve three law­suits over Trump Univer­sity, his for­mer school for real es­tate in­vestors. The law­suits al­leged the school mis­led stu­dents and failed to de­liver on its prom­ises in pro­grams that cost up to $35,000.


Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump and Mitt Rom­ney shake hands as Rom­ney leaves Trump National Golf Club Bed­min­ster in Bed­min­ster, N.J., on Satur­day.

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