Tuesday, November 22, 2016
59 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: President-Elect Meets with Administration Prospects, Plans for First 100 Days at Trump Tower President-elect Donald Trump spent Monday holed up at his Manhattan high-rise meeting with allies, onetime rivals, and members of the "crooked media."
- Among the potential appointees who met with the President-elect at Trump Tower on Monday: former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, a candidate for Veterans Affairs secretary; Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a potential Interior secretary; and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a 2016 presidential candidate who is being considered for a number of Cabinet posts, from Defense to VA to Energy to Agriculture. Trump also met with a number of GOP figures to hear their advice, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (a member of his transition team) and former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao (wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell).
- The most interesting meeting that Trump held on Monday was with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a progressive Democrat. Gabbard resigned her post as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee in February to endorse Bernie Sanders' primary campaign, and has split with her party establishment on a number of issues, most prominently on Syria (she favors keeping President Bashar al-Assad in power and having tougher restrictions on Syrian refugees).
- In a statement, Gabbard said she and the President-elect discussed "our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face." According to ABC News, Gabbard is "under serious consideration" for secretary of state, secretary of defense, or United Nations ambassador. Gabbard, who is of mixed race, would be the first woman and the first non-white member of Trump's Cabinet to be announced so far.
- According to the Associated Press, senior transition adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters, "Not all of [the visitors] will be in his Cabinet and his federal government, but they are all incredibly important in offering their points of views, their experience and certainly their vision of the country."
- Trump also held an off-the-record meeting Monday with anchors and executives from NBC, CNN, CBS, ABC, and FOX News. Conway described the meeting as "very cordial, very productive, very congenial," although the New York Times reported that Trump spent much of the meeting labeling the networks as "dishonest," slamming them for "missing the signs of his upset victory," and particularly criticized CNN president Jeff Zucker. Politico further reported that Trump, at one point, turned to NBC News president Deborah Turness to complain about the pictures of him used by the network.
- Trump was set to meet with New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzburger and other representatives of the newspaper for an off-the-record meeting today, and sit with Times reporters and columnists for an on-the-record session, but he suddenly cancelled the meeting this morning.
- "I cancelled today's meeting with the failing @nytimes when the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment. Not nice," the President-elect tweeted this morning. A Times spokeswoman responded, telling CNNMoney: "We did not change the ground rules at all and made no attempt to."
- Trump followed up with another tweet minutes later: "Perhaps a new meeting will be set up with the @nytimes. In the meantime they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone!" This cancellation came after he reprises the moniker "crooked media" on Monday, after meeting with the media executives, as he still bypasses the press. Trump has still not held a press conference since being elected President, which is unprecedented in modern history; in fact, his last presser was in July.
- Instead, Trump's transition team employed YouTube on Monday to take their message directly to the American people, without dilution from reporters. In a two-minute and thirty-second video, the President-elect outlines his agenda for the first 100 days of his Administration. "Our transition team is working for smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. Truly great and talented men and women, patriots indeed, are being brought in and many will soon by a part of our government, helping us to Make America Great Again."
- Trump said that the core principle guiding his agenda would be "putting America first," listing the following policies he said he would enact with executive action his first day in office:
- withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
- rolling back Obama's regulations on shale energy and clean coal
- creating a rule that will require two regulations to be repealed for every new regulation enacted
- introducing a plan to protect America's infrastructure from cybersecurity and other forms of attacks
- investigating absuses of visa programs
- imposing a five-year ban on Administration officials becoming lobbyists, and a lifetime ban on those officials lobbying for foreign governments.
- Trump also tweeted this morning: "Great meetings will take place today at Trump Tower concerning the formation of the people who will run our government for the next 8 years." No announcements have been made yet by the transition team as to who the President-elect will meet with today.
- The President-elect will spend Thanksgiving at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida; Vice President elect Mike Pence will spend the holiday in Mississippi. Soon before or soon after he leaves for the holiday, more announcements are expected on top posts such as Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury.
White House Watch
- The President's Schedule President Obama has two events on his public schedule today:
- At 12:40pm, he will have lunch with Vice President Joe Biden,
- and at 2:55pm, he will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, "presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors," according to the White House.
- The President will bestow the honor on 21 individuals from a number of fields today:
- NBA star Kareem Adbdul-Jabbar
- Blackfeet Tribal leader Elouise Cobell (posthumous)
- daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres
- actor Robert De Niro
- polymath physicist Richard Garwin
- philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates
- architect Frank Gehry
- computer scientist Margaret Hamilton
- actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks
- "first lady of software" Grace Hopper (posthumous)
- NBA star Michael Jordan
- artist and designer Maya Lin
- Saturday Night Live creator and producer Lorne Michaels
- former FCC chairman Newt Minow
- Miami Dade College president Eduardo Padrón
- actor and director Robert Redford
- singer/songwriter Diana Ross
- sportscaster Vin Scully
- singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen
- actress Cicely Tyson
- According to CBS' Mark Knoller, today's ceremony brings the Medals of Freedom awarded by President Obama to 117, more than any Chief Executive in history. President John F. Kennedy established the award in 1963, but was killed before he could award it. He was posthumously awarded with the Medal later in 1963 by Lyndon B. Johnson, along with the individuals Kennedy had been planning to honor. Today is the 53rd anniversary of Kennedy's assassination.
- President Obama will spend his last Thanksgiving in office at the White House, pardoning the National Thanksgiving Turkey on Wednesday, and celebrating with his family on Thursday and Friday (he has no public events scheduled for either day).
Capitol Hill News
- Congressional Schedule After spending the entire month of October and the first two weeks of November on recess, Congress convened for the first time since the election last week. After holding four lame-duck sessions (Monday through Thursday), both houses of Congress are once again leaving town this week for a Thanksgiving break. The Senate will not return until Monday, November 28; the House until Tuesday, November 29.
- As the halls of Congress are quiet, the phones of House Democrats are ringing off the hook as Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) attempts to challenge House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). So far, Ryan only has two public endorsements, while Pelosi claims to be supported by two-thirds of the caucus.
- In an attempt to cement her victory, Pelosi wrote a letter to the entire caucus, promising that more junior members (who are fueling the opposition to her) will be more included in leadership. In the new structure, Pelosi promised that each committee will have a Vice Ranking Member who has been on Congress for eight years or less, the Assistant to the Leader position will become an elected office held by a member who has served in Congress for less than six years, create three elected co-chairs of Policy and Communications reserved for members who have served under ten years, and create five regional vice chairs of the DCCC.
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