Trump: No tran­si­tion tur­moil, ef­forts go­ing ‘so smoothly’

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Julie Pace and Ken Thomas

NEW YORK >> Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump and his team on Wed­nes­day vig­or­ously re­jected charges of tur­moil and in­fight­ing roil­ing ef­forts to set up his White House, na­tional se­cu­rity and eco­nomic teams. A week after his up­set vic­tory, Trump said the enor­mous en­deavor was pro­ceed­ing “so smoothly.”

Trump dished out his re­but­tal on Twit­ter, spend­ing yet an­other day en­sconced in his New York sky­scraper, be­yond the public eye. Aides and al­lies vouched for the tran­si­tion ef­forts on his be­half, sug­gest­ing some com­mo­tion was to be ex­pected.

“The be­gin­ning of any tran­si­tion like this has tur­moil be­cause it’s just the na­ture of the process,” for­mer House Speaker Newt Gin­grich said as he left Trump’s tran­si­tion head­quar­ters in Wash­ing­ton. He said the pic­ture of Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion would be­come clearer over the next two or three weeks.

Oth­ers close to the tran­si­tion process de­scribed ad­vis­ers “fight­ing for power.” Trump has long stoked in­ter­nal ri­val­ries among his staff — both in his busi­nesses and his cam­paign — and has cre­ated am­bi­gu­ity in his tran­si­tion about who has author­ity to make key de­ci­sions.

Eric Trump, one of the pres­i­dent-elect’s sons, raised ex­pec­ta­tions of im­mi­nent progress Wed­nes­day, telling re­porters in the morn­ing that ap­point­ments were “likely” to come dur­ing the day. Then, other Trump aides sug­gested a slower pace.

“We’re not go­ing to rush to put names for­ward un­til we’re ab­so­lutely sure,” Trump spokesman Ja­son Miller said hours later. “We’re go­ing to make sure that they’re peo­ple we’re con­fi­dent will pass con­fir­ma­tion and we think can im­ple­ment the pres­i­den­t­elect’s vi­sion.”

Trump’s team noted that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama waited un­til a few weeks after the 2008 elec­tion to an­nounce many of his Cabi­net ap­point­ments.

And for­mer Michi­gan Rep. Pete Hoek­stra, who has in­for­mally ad­vised mem­bers of Trump’s na­tional se­cu­rity team, blamed Trump’s de­trac­tors for the re­ports of drama.

“When you’re do­ing a tran­si­tion that is try­ing to push the kind of change that Mr. Trump wants to be do­ing, it’s go­ing to be even harder,” said Hoek­stra, a for­mer House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee chair­man.

The in­com­ing Repub­li­can ad­min­is­tra­tion also got a boost of sup­port from out­go­ing Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, who met with his suc­ces­sor, Mike Pence, con­tin­u­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s show of public sup­port for the tran­si­tion.

“No ad­min­is­tra­tion is ready on Day One,” Bi­den said fol­low­ing the meet­ing at the Naval Ob­ser­va­tory, which serves as the vice pres­i­den­tial res­i­dence. He ex­pressed con­fi­dence that by Trump’s Jan. 20 in­au­gu­ra­tion, “ev­ery­thing will be in good hands.”

Trump’s team was es­sen­tially start­ing from scratch, scrap­ping much of the pre­lim­i­nary tran­si­tion work New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie con­ducted dur­ing the cam­paign. After win­ning the elec­tion, Trump de­moted Christie and put Pence in charge.

The re­sult has been a se­ries of new ad­di­tions to the tran­si­tion team and sev­eral de­par­tures, mainly among those aligned with Christie. Kevin O’Con­nor, a for­mer senior Jus­tice Depart­ment of­fi­cial, joined that group.

Trump ap­peared to be weigh­ing an eclec­tic mix of in­di­vid­u­als for top Cabi­net posts, in­clud­ing long­time loy­al­ists, for­mer ri­vals and even a Demo­crat. A senior tran­si­tion of­fi­cial said Trump’s team met Wed­nes­day with Eva Moskowitz, a for­mer New York coun­cil­woman and char­ter school founder who is be­ing con­sid­ered for ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary.

Oth­ers who passed through the mar­ble lobby of Trump Tower in­cluded Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., a po­ten­tial pick for Health and Hu­man Ser­vices, and Ray Wash­burne, a Dal­las busi­ness­man and top GOP fundraiser in the mix for Com­merce sec­re­tary. New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots’ owner Robert Kraft also en­tered the gilded el­e­va­tors for meet­ings.

For­mer New York Mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani, who ar­rived Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, has been angling for sec­re­tary of state, though his con­sult­ing work for for­eign gov­ern­ments has emerged as a po­ten­tial road­block. Trump is also said to be se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing John Bolton, a for­mer U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, for the top diplo­matic job.

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