Thursday, November 10, 2016
71 Days Until Inauguration DayI'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
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Transition Update: Mr. Trump Goes to Washington
- President-elect Donald Trump, as well as his wife Melania and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, will arrive in Washington on Thursday, for the first time since the Tuesday election where the Republican businessman triumphed in a shocking upset. Trump's Washington visit is one of the most visible steps of his presidential transition, an effort that was started months ago but now accelerates at full speed ahead.
- Trump's visit to Washington comes one day after his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, conceded the election. “I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it, too, and so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort,” Clinton said before a group of supporters in New York on Wednesday. “This is painful, and it will be for a long time.”
- However, the former Secretary of State urged unity. “We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought,” Clinton said. “But I still believe in America, and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future.”
- She continued: “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”
- Meanwhile, President Barack Obama, who barnstormed the country for Clinton in the days and weeks before the election, campaigning to defend his legacy against a man who not too long ago questioned his place of birth, delivered similar remarks just after Clinton left the stage. "Now, it is no secret that the President-elect and I have some pretty significant differences," Obama said. "But remember, eight years ago, President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences. But President Bush’s team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running. And one thing you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency, and the vice presidency, is bigger than any of us."
- Obama also made a call for Americans to accept the election results: "We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country," the President said. "The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world."
- President Obama also likened the upcoming presidential transition to a relay race: "you take the baton, you run your best race, and hopefully, by the time you hand it off you're a little further ahead, you've made a little progress."
- "I want to make sure that handoff is well-executed," he said, "because ultimately we're all on the same team."
- In that spirit, the President invited the President-elect for a meeting in the Oval Office today. The two will sit down at 11am Eastern Time, and will discuss the transition and the Presidency for a half-hour, sitting for a photo-op at the end. Meanwhile, incoming First Lady Melania Trump will meet with First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House residence, where the Trump family (Donald, Melania, and their 10-year-old son, Barron) will soon reside.
- Also today, Vice President-elect Mike Pence will meet with Vice President Joe Biden at the Naval Observatory, the vice presidential residence, to "help answer any questions the Pences may have to ensure that the offices of the Vice President are turned over to the Pences as smoothly and as graciously as they were handed over to the Bidens."
- As the top echelon of the incoming Trump Administration arrives in the city they will soon lead, a group of staffers is hard at work preparing short lists for the other 4,000+ offices that will need to be filled on January 20 (1,212 of them require Senate confirmation). The first position to be announced will likely be White House Chief of Staff (Obama announced his first Chief of Staff just two days after the election), a post with fierce competition.
- Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who gained Trump's favor by never abandoning him throughout he general election, is considered the frontrunner, although the job is being sought after by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the chairman of Trump's transition team, now marred by the Bridgegate scandal.
- Other candidates for Cabinet positions in the incoming Administration include: for Secretary of State, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; for Secretary of Defense, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Bush-era National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley; for Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs partner and Trump campaign finance chairman Steven Mnuchin; for Attorney General, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sessions, and Christie; for National Security Advisor, Hadley and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
- As members of Trump's transition team (which is now officially located online at www.greatagain.gov) work to fill government jobs, other members of the group are crafting an agenda for the President-elect's first 100 days in office. Coordination with congressional leaders in necessary for that arm of the transition, and Trump and Pence will meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan at 12:30pm at the Capitol Hill Club today.
- The relationship between Trump and Ryan was more than frosty during the campaign; although the Speaker supported Trump from the convention to the election, he frequently condemned statements made by the Republican nominee, who in turn frequently criticized Ryan. Now, Pence, who served in the House with Ryan, will take a large role in bridge building between the two men, who will lead the Republican Party in a new age of control over all three branches of government.
- Speaking to reporters in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin on Wednesday, Ryan said that he and Trump "are going to hit the ground running" after the Republican nominee "earned a mandate" to sign conservative policies into law. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also sounded optimistic, telling reporters that "we intend to work with him to change courses, to change the course of America." McConnell also said that one of the highest priorities for the incoming Administration would be to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
- Trump will enter office with a Senate majority of 52 seats and a House majority of 240, net losses of two and five seats, respectively. The two Democratic pick-ups in the Senate were Tammy Duckworth's victory over incumbent Mark Kirk in Illinois and Maggie Hassan's over incumbent Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire. Ayotte conceded the race on Wednesday afternoon, after losing by about 700 votes, in one of three states that remains to be decided on the presidential level (the others are Arizona and Michigan).
- Besides Kirk and Ayotte, many of the senators first elected in battleground states in the Tea Party wave 2010 were re-elected on Tuesday, including Marco Rubio of Florida, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Those GOP victories, along with the 2018 map (when Democrats will have to defend ten Senate seats in states won by Donald Trump), could spell Republican control of Congress for years to come.
- As Washington adjusts to the new reality of the Republican takeover coming with Donald Trump's election, the nation is also transitioning to the new Chief Executive - and, in some places, it is not being taken well. Despite Hillary Clinton declaring on Wednesday, "Donald Trump is going to be our president," thousands of protesters across the country held signs proclaiming "Not My President" to register their anger after Trump's victory.
- A housekeeping note: first off, there will be no newsletter on Friday, while my family and I are en route to New York - not politics-related, but for a Bar Mitzvah (although maybe we'll stop by Trump Tower and check out the scene).
- Secondly, I'd like to thank all of my readers for making Wednesday's newsletter the most-red in the history of Wake Up To Politics. I am honored by the trust you have put in me throughout this campaign, and now into the presidential transition
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