Trump, Pence ad­dress po­ten­tial Cabi­net

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Cather­ine Lucey and Lau­rie Kell­man

BEDMINSTER, N.J. >> Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump said Sun­day that he had “made a cou­ple of deals” af­ter spend­ing the week­end meet­ing with a long list of po­ten­tial ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­pointees, but he did not re­veal any more picks.

Trump and the vice pres­i­den­t­elect, Mike Pence, did drop some hints. Pence said that Mitt Rom­ney was “un­der ac­tive and se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion” to be­come the na­tion’s next sec­re­tary of state. Trump said re­tired Marine Corps Gen. James Mat­tis was an “im­pres­sive” prospect for de­fense sec­re­tary.

“I think we have some re­ally in­cred­i­ble peo­ple go­ing to be work­ing for the coun­try,” Trump said Sun­day evening. “We re­ally had some in­cred­i­ble meet­ings. You’ll be hear­ing about them soon.”

Among the visi­tors to the whitepil­lared club­house Sun­day were Kansas Sec­re­tary of State Kris Kobach, bil­lion­aire in­vestor Wil­bur Ross and re­tired Marine Gen. John Kelly, the for­mer com­man­der of U.S. South­ern Com­mand.

Be­tween con­ver­sa­tions, Trump re­vealed he was mak­ing plans for tran­si­tion­ing his fam­ily. He told re­porters that his wife, Me­la­nia, and their 10-year-old son, Bar­ron, would move to Wash­ing­ton when the school year ends.

And Trump turned to Twit­ter to share some of his think­ing. In be­tween crit­i­cisms of “Satur­day Night Live,” the hit mu­si­cal “Hamil­ton,” and Democrats, he wrote that, “Gen­eral James ‘Mad Dog’ Mat­tis, who is be­ing con­sid­ered for sec­re­tary of de­fense, was very im­pres­sive yes­ter­day. A true Gen­eral’s Gen­eral!”

The com­ments were in­di­ca­tions that Trump is look­ing out­side his im­me­di­ate cir­cle as he works to-

ward round­ing out his for­eign pol­icy and na­tional se­cu­rity teams. On Fri­day, he named a loy­al­ist, re­tired Gen. Michael Flynn, as his na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser.

Rom­ney, the for­mer Mas­sachusetts gov­er­nor and 2012 GOP pres­i­den­tial con­tender, and Trump ex­changed bit­ter in­sults dur­ing the cam­paign, and Mat­tis has not been con­sid­ered a Trump con­fi­dante. The ap­point­ment of more es­tab­lish­ment fig­ures could

of­fer some re­as­sur­ance to law­mak­ers and oth­ers con­cerned about Trump’s hard­line po­si­tions on im­mi­gra­tion and na­tional se­cu­rity and his lack of for­eign pol­icy ex­pe­ri­ence.

Trump told re­porters Sun­day that one of his most loyal and pub­lic al­lies, for­mer New York Mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani, was also a prospect for sec­re­tary of state “and other things.” Gi­u­liani at one point had been con­sid­ered for at­tor­ney gen­eral, but Trump gave that job to Sen. Jeff Ses­sions of Alabama.

The busi­ness­man and pres­i­dent-elect also ap­par­ently

was con­sid­er­ing op­tions to lead the Com­merce Depart­ment, meet­ing with Ross.

“Time will tell,” Ross told re­porters when asked if he wanted a post.

More meet­ings are on Trump’s Mon­day sched­ule. His tran­si­tion team said for­mer Texas gov­er­nor and GOP pres­i­den­tial ri­val Rick Perry was ex­pected to meet with Trump on Mon­day.

But even as Trump and his team dis­cussed press­ing is­sues fac­ing the coun­try and how to staff the in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion, the pres­i­dent-elect’s Twit­ter feed sug­gested other is­sues

too were on his mind.

His tar­gets Sun­day in­cluded re­tir­ing Demo­cratic leader Harry Reid. Trump tweeted that in­com­ing Se­nate Demo­cratic leader Chuck Schumer, another me­dia-savvy New Yorker, was “far smarter” than Reid and “has the abil­ity to get things done.”

Trump also com­plained that “Satur­day Night Live,” which thrives on mak­ing fun of politi­cians, is “bi­ased” and not funny. The night be­fore, ac­tor Alec Bald­win por­trayed Trump as Googling, “What is ISIS?”

Trump also in­sisted again that the cast and pro­duc­ers

of “Hamil­ton” should apol­o­gize af­ter the lead ac­tor ad­dressed Pence from the stage Fri­day night, telling the vice pres­i­dent-elect that “di­verse Amer­ica” was “alarmed and anx­ious.” Pence said on CBS’s “Face the Na­tion” that he wasn’t of­fended.

Trump started fill­ing key ad­min­is­tra­tion po­si­tions on Fri­day, pick­ing 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.

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.

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