Full Text Political Transcripts December 29, 2016: President Barack Obama issues sanctions against Russia over election interference

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Executive Order — Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency with Respect to Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities

Source: WH, 12-29-16

EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –

TAKING ADDITIONAL STEPS TO ADDRESS THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO SIGNIFICANT MALICIOUS CYBER-ENABLED ACTIVITIES

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in order to take additional steps to deal with the national emergency with respect to significant malicious cyber-enabled activities declared in Executive Order 13694 of April 1, 2015, and in view of the increasing use of such activities to undermine democratic processes or institutions, hereby order:

Section 1. Section 1(a) of Executive Order 13694 is hereby amended to read as follows:

“Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:

(i) the persons listed in the Annex to this order;

(ii) any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged in, directly or indirectly, cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States that are reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States and that have the purpose or effect of:

(A) harming, or otherwise significantly compromising the provision of services by, a computer or network of computers that support one or more entities in a critical infrastructure sector;

(B) significantly compromising the provision of services by one or more entities in a critical infrastructure sector;

(C) causing a significant disruption to the availability of a computer or network of computers;

(D) causing a significant misappropriation of funds or economic resources, trade secrets, personal identifiers, or financial information for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gain; or

(E) tampering with, altering, or causing a misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions; and

(iii) any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State:

(A) to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged in, the receipt or use for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gain, or by a commercial entity, outside the United States of trade secrets misappropriated through cyber-enabled means, knowing they have been misappropriated, where the misappropriation of such trade secrets is reasonably likely to result in, or has materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States;

(B) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, any activity described in subsections (a)(ii) or (a)(iii)(A) of this section or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;

(C) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(D) to have attempted to engage in any of the activities described in subsections (a)(ii) and (a)(iii)(A)-(C) of this section.”

Sec. 2. Executive Order 13694 is further amended by adding as an Annex to Executive Order 13694 the Annex to this order.

Sec. 3. Executive Order 13694 is further amended by redesignating section 10 as section 11 and adding a new section 10 to read as follows:

“Sec. 10. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to determine that circumstances no longer warrant the blocking of the property and interests in property of a person listed in the Annex to this order, and to take necessary action to give effect to that determination.”

Sec. 4. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Sec. 5. This order is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on December 29, 2016.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
December 28, 2016.

Full Text Political Transcripts December 16, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Orlando, Florida

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Orlando, Florida

Full Text Political Transcripts December 16, 2016: President Barack Obama’s last end-of-year press conference

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama’s last end-of-year news conference

Source: WaPo, 12-16-16

OBAMA: All right, everybody. Good afternoon. This is the most wonderful press conference of the year. I have got a list of who has been naughty and nice to call on. But let me first make a couple of quick points and then I will take your questions.

Typically I use this year-end press conference to review how far we have come over the course of the year. Today, understandably, I’m going to talk a little bit about how far we have come over the past eight years.

As I was preparing to take office, the unemployment rate was on its way to 10 percent. Today it is at 4.6 percent, the lowest in nearly a decade. We’ve seen the longest streak of job growth on record, and wages have grown faster over the past few years than at any time in the past 40.

When I came into office, 44 million people were uninsured. Today we have covered more than 20 million of them. For the first time in our history, more than 90 percent of Americans are insured.

In fact, yesterday was the biggest day ever for health care.gov, more than 670,000 Americans signed up to get covered, and more are signing up by the day.

We’ve cut our dependence on foreign oil by more than half, doubled production of renewable energy, enacted the most sweeping reforms since FDR to protect consumers and prevent a crisis on Wall Street from punishing main street ever again.

None of these actions stifled growth as critics are predicted. Instead, the stock market has nearly tripled.

Since I signed Obamacare into law, our businesses have added more than 15 million new jobs, and the economy undoubtedly more durable than it was in the days when we relied on oil from unstable nations and banks took risky bets with your money.

Add it all up, and last year the poverty rate fell at the fastest rate in almost 50 years, while the median household income grew at the fastest rate on record. In fact, income gains were actually larger for households at the bottom and the middle than for those at the top.

And we have done all this while cutting our deficits by nearly two-thirds, and protecting vital investments that grow the middle class.

In foreign policy, when I came into office we were in the midst of two wars. Now nearly 180,000 troops are down to 15,000. Bin Laden, rather than being at large, has been taken off the battlefield, along with thousands of other terrorists.

Over the past eight years no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed an attack on our homeland that was directed from overseas. Through diplomacy, we have ensured Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon without going to war with Iran.

We opened up a new chapter with the people of Cuba. And we have brought nearly 200 nations together around a climate agreement that could very well save this planet for our kids.

And almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago. In other words, by so many measures our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started. It is a situation that I’m proud to leave for my successor. And it’s thanks to the American people, to the hard work that you have put in, the sacrifices you have made for your families and your communities, the businesses that you started or invested in, and the way you looked out for one another. And I could not be prouder to be your president.

Of course, to tout this progress does not mean that we are not mindful of how much more there is to do. In this season in particular, we are reminded that there are people who are still hungry, people who are still homeless, people who still have trouble paying the bills or finding work after being laid off.

There are communities that are still mourning those who have been stolen from us by senseless gun violence, and parents who still are wondering how to protect their kids.

OBAMA: And after I leave office I intend to continue to work with organizations and citizens doing good across the country on these and other pressing issues to build on the progress that we have made.

Around the world as well, there are hotspots where disputes have been intractable, conflicts have flared up, and people, innocent people are suffering as result, and nowhere is this more terribly true than in the city of Aleppo. For years, we’ve worked to stop the civil war in Syria and alleviate human suffering. It has been one of the hardest issues that I’ve faced as president.

The world as we speak is united in horror at the savage assaults by the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies on the city of Aleppo. We have seen a deliberate strategy of surrounding, besieging and starving innocent civilians. We’ve seen relentless targeting of humanitarian workers and medical personnel, entire and neighbors reduced to rubble and dust. There are continuing reports of civilians being executed. These are all horrific violations of international law.

Responsibility for this brutality lies in one place alone, with the Assad regime and its allies, Russia and Iran, and this blood and these atrocities are on their hands. We all know what needs to happen. There needs to be an impartial international observer force in Aleppo that can help coordinate an orderly evacuation through say corridors. There has to be full access for humanitarian aid, even as the United States continues to be the world’s largest donor of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. And beyond that, there needs to be a broader cease-fire that can serve as the basis for a political rather than a military solution.

That’s what the United States is gonna continue to push for, both with our partners and through multilateral institutions like the U.N.

Regretfully, but unsurprisingly, Russia has repeatedly blocked the Security Council from taking action on these issues, so we’re gonna keep pressing the Security Council to help improve the delivery of humanitarian aid to those who are in such desperate need and ensure accountability, including continuing to monitor any potential use of chemical weapons in Syria.

And we’re gonna work in the U.N. General Assembly as well, both on accountability and to advance a political settlement because it should be clear that although you may achieve tactical victories, over the long-term, the Assad regime cannot slaughter its way to legitimacy. That’s why we’ll continue to press for a transition to a more representative government, and that’s why the world must not avert our eyes to the terrible events that are unfolding.

The Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies are trying to obfuscate the truth. The world should not be fooled and the world will not forget.

So even in a season where the incredible blessings that we know as Americans are all around us, even as we enjoy family and friends and are reminded of how lucky we are, we should also be reminded that to be an American involves bearing burdens and meeting obligations to others. American values and American ideals are what will lead the way to a safer and more prosperous 2017, both here and abroad. And by the way, you (ph) embody those values and ideals like our brave men and women in uniform and their families.

So I just want to close by wishing all of them a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

With that, I will take some questions, and I’m gonna start with Josh Lederman of A.P.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

There’s a perception that you’re letting President Putin get away with interfering in the U.S. election and that a response that nobody knows about (inaudible) don’t cut it. Are you prepared to call out President Putin by name for ordering (inaudible)? And do you agree with Hillary Clinton now says, that the hacking was actually partially responsible for her loss?

And is your administration open to correlate with Trump and his team on this issues, tarnishing (ph) the smooth transition of power that you have promised?

OBAMA: Well, first of all, with respect to the transition, I think they would be the first to acknowledge that we have done everything we can to make sure that they are successful, as I promised, and that will continue. And it’s just been a few days since I last talked to the president-elect about a whole range of transition issues. That cooperation’s gonna continue.

OBAMA: There hasn’t been a lot of squabbling. What we’ve simply said is the facts, which are that based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC and that as a consequence, it is important for us to review all elements of that and make sure that we are preventing that kind of interference through cyber attacks in the future. That should be a bipartisan issue, that shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

And my hope is that the president-elect is going to similarly be concerned with making sure that we don’t have a potential foreign influence in our election process. I don’t think any American wants that. And that shouldn’t be a source of an argument.

I think that part of the challenge is that it gets caught up in the carryover from election season. And I think it is very important for us to distinguish between the politics of the election and the need for us as a country, both from a national security perspective but also in terms of the integrity of our election system and our democracy to make sure that we don’t create a political football here.

Now, with respect to how this thing unfolded last year, let’s just go through the facts pretty quickly. At the beginning of the summer, were alerted to the possibility that the DNC has been hacked. And I made (ph) an order, law enforcement, as well as our intelligence teams to find out everything about it, investigate it thoroughly to brief the potential victims of this hacking, to brief on a bipartisan basis the leaders of both the House and the Senate and the relevant intelligence committees.

And once we had clarity and certainty around what in fact had happened, we publicly announced that in fact Russia had hacked into the DNC. And at that time, we did not attribute motives or you know any interpretations of why they had done so.

We didn’t discuss what the effects of it might be. We simply let people know — the public know just as we had let members of Congress know that this had happened.

And as a consequence, all of you wrote a lot of stories about both what had happened and then you interpreted why that might have happened and what effect it was going to have on the election outcomes. We did not — and the reason we did not was because in this hyper-partisan atmosphere, at a time when my primary concern was making sure that the integrity of the election process was not in any way damaged, at a time when anything that was said by me or anybody in the White House would immediately be seen through a partisan lens. I wanted to make sure that everybody understood we were playing this thing straight, that we weren’t trying to advantage one side or another. But what we were trying to do was let people know that this had taken place.

And so if you started seeing effects on the election, if you were trying to measure why this was happening and how you should consume the information that was being leaked, that you might want to take this into account. And that’s exactly how we should have handled it.

Imagine if we had done the opposite, it would become immediately just one more political scrum. And part of the goal here was to make sure that we did not do the work of the leakers for them by raising more and more questions about the integrity of the election right before the election was taking place — at a time, by the way, when the president-elect himself was raising questions about the integrity of the election.

And finally, I think it’s worth pointing out, that the information was already out. It was in the hands of Wikileaks, so that was going to come out no matter what.

What I was concerned about in particular was making sure that that wasn’t compounded by potential hacking that could hamper vote counting, affect the actual election process itself.

And so in early September when I saw President Putin in China, I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that did not happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out, there were going to be some serious consequences if he did not.

And in fact, we did not see further tampering of the election process. But the leaks through Wikileaks had already occurred.

So when I look back in terms of how we handled it, I think we handled it the way it should have been handled. We allowed law enforcement and the intelligence community to do its job without political influence.

We briefed all relevant parties involved in terms of what was taking place. When we had a consensus around what had happened, we announced it, not through the White House, not through me, but rather through the intelligence communities that had actually carried out these investigations.

And then we allowed you and the American public to make an assessment as to how to weigh that going into the election.

And the truth is, is that there was nobody here who did not have some sense of what kind of effect it might have. I am finding it a little curious that everybody is suddenly acting surprised that this looked like it was disadvantaging Hillary Clinton, because you guys wrote about it every day, every single leak about every little juicy tidbit of political gossip, including John Podesta’s risotto recipe.

This was an obsession that dominated the news coverage. So I do think it is worth us reflecting how it is that a presidential election of such importance, of such moment, with so many big issues at stake and such a contrast between the candidates came to be dominated by a bunch of these leaks.

What is it about our political system that made us vulnerable to these kinds of potential manipulations which, as I’ve said publicly before, were not particularly sophisticated. This was not some elaborate, complicated espionage scheme.

They hacked into some Democratic Party e-mails that contained pretty routine stuff, some of it embarrassing or uncomfortable because I suspect that if any of us got our emails hacked into there might be some things that we would not want suddenly appearing on the front page of a newspaper or a telecast, even if there was not anything particularly illegal or controversial about it.

And then it just took off. And that concerns me, and it should concern all of us. But the truth of the matter is, is that everybody had the information. It was out there, and we handled it the way we should have.

Now, moving forward, I think there are a couple of issues that this raises. Number one is just the constant challenge that we are going to have with cyber security throughout our economy and throughout our society.

We are a digitalized culture. And there’s hacking going on every single day. There is not a company, there is not a major organization, there is not a financial institution, there is not a branch of our government were somebody is not going to be fishing for something or trying to penetrate or put in a virus or malware.

And this is why for the last eight years I have been obsessed with how do we continually upgrade our cyber security systems. And this particular concern around Russian hacking is part of a broader set of concerns about how do we deal with cyber issues being used in ways that can affect our infrastructure, affect the stability of our financial systems, and affect the integrity of our institutions like our election process.

I just received, a couple of weeks back, it wasn’t widely reported on, a report from our cyber-security commission that outlines a whole range of strategies to do a better job on this. But it’s difficult because it’s not all housed — the target of cyberattacks is not one entity, but it’s widely dispersed and a lot of it is private, like the DNC. You know, it’s not a branch of government. We can’t tell people what to do.

What we can do is inform them, get best practices. What we can also do is to on a bilateral basis warn other countries against these kinds of attacks, and we’ve done that in the past. So just as I told Russia to stop it and indicated there will be consequences when they do it, the Chinese have in the past engaged in cyberattacks directed at our companies to steal trade secrets and proprietary technology, and I had to have the same conversation with President Xi. And what we’ve seen is some evidence that they have reduced but not completely eliminated these activities, partly because they can use cutouts. One of the problems with the internet and cyber issues is there’s not always a return address, and by the time you catch up to it, you know, attributing what happened to a particular government can be difficult, not always provable in court, even tough our intelligence communities can make an assessment.

What we’ve also tried to do is to start creating some international norms about this to prevent some sort of cyber arms race because we obviously have offensive capabilities as well as defensive capabilities, and my approach is not a situation which everybody’s worse off because folks are constantly attacking each other back and forth, but putting some guardrails around behavior of nation states, including our adversaries, just so that they understand that whatever they do to us, we can potentially do to them.

We do have some special challenges because oftentimes, our economy is more digitalized. It is more vulnerable partly because we’re a wealthier nation and we’re more wired than some of these other countries and we have a more open society and engage in less control and censorship over what happens over the internet, which is also part of what makes us special.

Last point, and the reason I’m going on here is because I know that you guys have a lot of questions about this and I addressed all of you directly about this. With respect to response, my principal goal leading up to the election was making sure that the election itself went off without a hitch, that it was not tarnished and that it did not feed any sense in the public that somehow, tampering had taken place with the actual process of voting and we accomplished that. That does not mean that we are not going to respond, it simply meant that we had a set of priorities leading up to the election that were of the utmost importance.

Our goal continues to be to send a clear message to Russia or others not to do this to us because we can do stuff to you, but it is also important for us to do that in a thoughtful, methodical way. Some of it, we do publicly. Some of it, we will do in a way that they know but not everybody will. And I know that there have been folks out there who suggests somehow that if we went out there and made big announcements and thumped our chests about a bunch of stuff, that somehow that would potentially spook the Russians.

But keep in mind that we already have enormous numbers of sanctions against the Russians. The relationship between us and Russia has deteriorated, sadly, significantly over the last several years. And so how we approach an appropriate response that increases costs for them for behavior like this in the future but does not create problems for us is something that’s worth taking the time to think through and figure out. And that’s exactly what we’ve done.

So, at a point in time where we’ve taken certain actions that we can divulge publicly, we will do so. There are times where the message will be directly received by the Russians and not publicized. And I should point out by the way, part of why the Russians have been effective on this is because they don’t go around announcing what they’re doing. It’s not like Putin’s gone around the world publicly saying, look what we did. Wasn’t that clever? He denies it.

So the idea that somehow public shaming is gonna be effective, I think doesn’t read the — the thought process in Russia very well. OK.

QUESTION: Did Clinton lose because of the hacking?

OBAMA: I’m gonna let all the political pundits in this town have a long discussion about what happened in the election. It was a fascinating election. So, you know, I’m sure there are gonna be a lot of books written about it. I’ve said what I think is important for the Democratic Party going forward, rather than try to parse every aspect of the election.

And I — I’ve said before, I couldn’t be prouder of Secretary Clinton, her outstanding service and she’s worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and I don’t think she was treated fairly during the election. I think the coverage of her and the issues was troubling, but having said that, what I’ve been most focused on — appropriate for the fact I am not going to be a politician in about — what is it, 32 days, 31, 34?

(LAUGHTER)

What I’ve said is that I can maybe give some counsel advice to the Democratic Party. And I think the — the — the thing we have to spend the most time on — because it’s the thing we have most control over — is, how do we make sure that we’re showing up in places where I think Democratic policies are needed, where they are helping, where they are making a difference, but where people feel as if they’re not being heard?

And where Democrats are characterized as coastal, liberal, latte- sipping, you know, politically correct, out-of-touch folks, we have to be in those communities. And I’ve seen that, when we are in those communities, it makes a difference. That’s how I became president. I became a U.S. Senator not just because I had a strong base in Chicago, but because I was driving downstate Illinois and going to fish fries and sitting in V.F.W. Halls and talking to farmers.

And I didn’t win every one of their votes, but they got a sense of what I was talking about, what I cared about, that I was for working people, that I was for the middle class, that the reason I was interested in strengthening unions and raising the minimum wage and rebuilding our infrastructure and making sure that parents had decent childcare and family leave, was because my own family’s history wasn’t that different from theirs even if I looked a little bit different. Same thing in Iowa.

And so the question is, how do we rebuild that party as a whole, so that there’s not a county in any state — I don’t care how red — where we don’t have a presence and we’re not making the argument, because I think we have a better argument. But that requires a lot of work. You know, it’s been something that I’ve been able to do successfully in my own campaigns.

OBAMA: It is not something I’ve been able to transfer to candidates in mid-terms and sort of build a sustaining organization around. That’s something I would have liked to have done more of, but it’s kind of hard to do when you’re also dealing with a whole bunch of issues here in the White House. And that doesn’t mean, though, that it can’t be done, and I think there are gonna be a lot of talented folks out there, a lot of progressives who share my values, who are gonna be leading the charge in the years to come.

Michelle Kosinski (ph) of CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you.

This week we heard Hillary Clinton talk about how she thinks that the FBI director’s most recent announcement made a difference in the outcome of the election. And we also just heard in an op-ed her campaign chairman talk about something being deeply broken within the FBI.

He talked about thinking that the investigation early on was lackadaisical, in his words. So what do you think about those comments? Do you think there’s any truth to them? Do you think there’s a danger there that they’re calling into question the integrity of institutions in a similar way that Donald Trump’s team has done?

And the second part to that is that Donald Trump’s team repeatedly — I guess, given the indication that the investigation of the Russian hack as well as retaliation might not be such a priority once he’s in office.

So what do you think the risk is there? And are you going to talk to him directly about some of those comments he made?

OBAMA: Well, on the latter point, as I said before, the transition from election season to governance season is not always smooth. You know, it’s bumpy. There are still feelings that are raw out there. There are people who are still thinking how things unfolded. And I get all that.

But when Donald Trump takes the oath of office and is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, then he has got a different set of responsibilities and considerations.

And I’ve said this before. I think there is a sobering process when you walk into the Oval Office. And, you know, I haven’t shared previously private conversations I’ve had with the president-elect. I will say that they have been cordial and in some cases have involved me making some pretty specific suggestions about how to ensure that regardless of our obvious deep disagreements about policy, maybe I can transmit some thoughts about maintaining the effectiveness, integrity, cohesion of the office, our various democratic institutions, and he has listened.

I can’t say that he will end up implementing, but the conversations themselves have been cordial as opposed to defensive in any way. And I will always make myself available to him just as previous presidents have made themselves available to me as issues come up.

With respect to the FBI, I will tell you, I’ve had a chance to know a lot of FBI agents. I know Director Comey. They take their job seriously. They work really hard. They help keep us safe and save a lot of lives.

And it is always a challenge for law enforcement when there’s an intersection between the work that they are doing and the political system. It’s one of the difficulties of democracy generally.

We have a system where we want our law enforcement investigators and our prosecutors to be free from politics, to be independent, to play it straight. But sometimes that involves investigations that touch on politics and particularly in this hyper-partisan environment that we’ve been in, everything is suspect, everything you do one way or the other.

One thing that I have done is to be pretty scrupulous about not wading into investigation decisions or prosecution decisions or decisions not to prosecute. I have tried to be really strict in my own behavior about preserving the independence of law enforcement, free from my own judgments and political assessments, in some cases. And I don’t know why it would stop now.

Mike Dorney (ph) of Bloomberg.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

On Aleppo, your views of (ph) what happens there, the responsibility of the Russian government, the Iranian government, the Assad regime (inaudible), but do you, as president of the United States, leader of the free world, feel any personal moral responsibility now at the end of your presidency for the carnage we’re all watching in Aleppo, which I’m sure disturbs you (inaudible)?

Secondly, also on Aleppo, you’ve again made clear your practical disagreements with (inaudible) and President-elect Trump has throughout his campaign, and he said again last night, that he wants to create safe zones in Syria. Do you feel like in this transition, you need to help him toward implementing that or is that not something you need to be doing?

OBAMA: Mike, I always feel responsible. I felt responsible when kids were being shot by snipers. I felt responsible when millions of people had been displaced. I feel responsible for murder and slaughter that’s taken place in South Sudan that’s not being reported on, partly because there’s not as much social media being generated from there.

There are places around the world where horrible things are happening and because of my office, because I’m president of the United States, I feel responsible. I ask myself every single day, is there something I could do that would save lives and make a difference and spare some child who doesn’t deserve to suffer. So that’s a starting point. There’s not a moment during the course of this presidency where I haven’t felt some responsibility.

That’s true, by the way, for our own country. When I came into office and people were losing their jobs and losing their homes and losing their pensions, I felt responsible and I would go home at night and I would ask myself, was there something better that I could do or smarter that I could be that would make a difference in their lives, that would relieve their suffering and relieve their hardship.

So with respect to Syria, what I have consistently done is taken the best course that I can to try to end the civil war while having also to take into account the long-term national security interests of the United States. And throughout this process, based on hours of meetings — if you tallied it up, days and weeks of meetings — where we went through every option in painful detail with maps and we had our military and we had our aid agencies and we had our diplomatic teams, and sometimes, we’d bring in outsiders who were critics of ours.

OBAMA: Whenever we went through it, the challenge was that short of putting large numbers of U.S. troops on the ground uninvited, without any international law mandate, without sufficient support from Congress, at a time when we still had troops in Afghanistan and we still had troops in Iraq and we had just gone through over a decade of war and spent trillions of dollars and when the opposition on the ground was not cohesive enough to necessarily govern a country and you had a military superpower in Russia prepared to do whatever it took to keep its (inaudible) involved and you had a regional military power in Iran that saw their own vital strategic interests at stake and were willing to maintain that territory in the absence of consent from the Syrian government and now the Russians or the Iranians.

So it may be that with Aleppo’s tragic situation unfolding that in the short term, if we can get more of the tens of thousands who are still trapped there out , that so long as the world’s eyes are on them and they are feeling pressure, the regime in Russia concludes that they are willing to find some arrangement, perhaps in coordination with Turkey, whereby those people can be safe.

Even that will probably be temporary, but at least it solves a short-term issue that’s going to arise.

Unfortunately we are not there yet because right now we have Russians and Assad claiming that basically all the innocent civilians who were trapped in Aleppo are out when international organizations, humanitarian organizations who know better and who are on the ground, have said unequivocally that there are still tens of thousands who are trapped and prepared to leave under pretty much any conditions.

And so right now our biggest priority is to continue to put pressure wherever we can to try to get them out.

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: Mike, I can’t have too much…

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) but do you see, responsibility notwithstanding, moving in that direction or help President-elect Trump move in that direction?

OBAMA: I will help President Trump — President-elect Trump with any advice, counsel, information that we can provide so that he, once he’s sworn in, can make a decision.

Between now and then, these are decisions that I have to make based on the consultations that I have with our military and the people who have been working this every single day.

Peter Alexander (ph).

QUESTION: Mr. President, thank you very much.

Can you, given all the intelligence that we have now heard, assure the public this was once and for all a free and fair election? And specifically on Russia, do you feel any obligation now as they have been insisting that this isn’t the case to show the proof, as it were? They say, put your money where your mouth is and declassify some of the intelligence and the evidence that exists.

And more broadly, as it relates to Donald Trump on this very topic, are you concerned about his relationship with Vladimir Putin, especially given some of the recent cabinet picks, including his selection for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who toasted Putin with champagne over oil deals together? Thank you.

OBAMA: I may be getting older because these multipart questions, I start losing track.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: I can assure the public that there was not the kind of tampering with the voting process that was our concern and will continue to be of concern going forward, that the votes that were cast were counted, they were counted appropriately.

We have not seen evidence of machines being tampered with, so that assurance I can provide.

That doesn’t mean that we find every single, you know, potential probe of every single voting machine all across the country, but we paid a lot of attention to it. We worked with state officials, et cetera, and we feel confident that that didn’t occur and that the votes were cast and they were counted.

And so that’s on that point. What was the second one?

QUESTION: Say more about declassification.

OBAMA: Declassification. Look, we will provide evidence that we can safely provide, that doesn’t mean, though, that it can’t be done, and I think there are going to be a lot of talented folks out there, a lot of progressives who share my values who are going to be leading the charge in the years to come.

Michelle Kosinski (ph) of CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you.

This week we heard Hillary Clinton talk about how she thinks that the FBI director’s most recent announcement made a difference in the outcome of the election. And we also just heard in an op-ed her campaign chairman talk about something being deeply broken within the FBI.

He talked about thinking that the investigation early on was lackadaisical, in his words. So what do you think about those comments? Do you think there’s any truth to them? Do you think there’s a danger there that they’re calling into question the integrity of institutions in a similar way that Donald Trump’s team has done?

And the second part to that is that Donald Trump’s team repeatedly — I guess, given the indication that the investigation of the Russian hack as well as retaliation might not be such a priority once he’s in office.

So what do you think the risk is there? And are you going to talk to him directly about some of those comments he made?

OBAMA: Well, on the latter point, as I said before, the transition from election season to governance season is not always smooth. You know, it’s bumpy. There are still feelings that are raw out there. There are people who are still thinking how things unfolded. And I get all that.

But when Donald Trump takes the oath of office and is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, then he has got a different set of responsibilities and considerations.

And I’ve said this before. I think there is a sobering process when you walk into the Oval Office. And, you know, I haven’t shared previously private conversations I’ve had with the president-elect. I will say that they have been cordial and in some cases have involved me making some pretty specific suggestions about how to ensure that regardless of our obvious deep disagreements about policy, maybe I can transmit some thoughts about maintaining the effectiveness, integrity, cohesion of the office, our various democratic institutions, and he has listened.

I can’t say that he will end up implementing, but the conversations themselves have been cordial as opposed to defensive in any way. And I will always make myself available to him just as previous presidents have made themselves available to me as issues come up.

With respect to the FBI, I will tell you, I’ve had a chance to know a lot of FBI agents. I know Director Comey. They take their job seriously. They work really hard. They help keep us safe and save a lot of lives.

And it is always a challenge for law enforcement when there’s an intersection between the work that they are doing and the political system. It’s one of the difficulties of democracy generally.

We have a system where we want our law enforcement investigators and our prosecutors to be free from politics, to be independent, to play it straight. But sometimes that involves investigations that touch on politics and particularly in this hyper-partisan environment that we’ve been in, everything is suspect, everything you do one way or the other.

One thing that I have done is to be pretty scrupulous about not wading into investigation decisions or prosecution decisions or decisions not to prosecute. I have tried to be really strict in my own behavior about preserving the independence of law enforcement, free from my own judgments and political assessments, in some cases. And I don’t know why it would stop now.

Mike Dorney (ph) of Bloomberg.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

On Aleppo, your views of (ph) what happens there, the responsibility of the Russian government, the Iranian government, the Assad regime (inaudible), but do you, as president of the United States, leader of the free world, feel any personal moral responsibility now at the end of your presidency for the carnage we’re all watching in Aleppo, which I’m sure disturbs you (inaudible)?

Secondly, also on Aleppo, you’ve again made clear your practical disagreements with (inaudible) and President-elect Trump has throughout his campaign, and he said again last night, that he wants to create safe zones in Syria. Do you feel like in this transition, you need to help him toward implementing that or is that not something you need to be doing?

OBAMA: Mike, I always feel responsible. I felt responsible when kids were being shot by snipers. I felt responsible when millions of people had been displaced. I feel responsible for murder and slaughter that’s taken place in South Sudan that’s not being reported on, partly because there’s not as much social media being generated from there.

There are places around the world where horrible things are happening and because of my office, because I’m president of the United States, I feel responsible. I ask myself every single day, is there something I could do that would save lives and make a difference and spare some child who doesn’t deserve to suffer. So that’s a starting point. There’s not a moment during the course of this presidency where I haven’t felt some responsibility.

That’s true, by the way, for our own country. When I came into office and people were losing their jobs and losing their homes and losing their pensions, I felt responsible and I would go home at night and I would ask myself, was there something better that I could do or smarter that I could be that would make a difference in their lives, that would relieve their suffering and relieve their hardship.

So with respect to Syria, what I have consistently done is taken the best course that I can to try to end the civil war while having also to take into account the long-term national security interests of the United States. And throughout this process, based on hours of meetings — if you tallied it up, days and weeks of meetings — where we went through every option in painful detail with maps and we had our military and we had our aid agencies and we had our diplomatic teams, and sometimes, we’d bring in outsiders who were critics of ours.

OBAMA: Whenever we went through it, the challenge was that short of putting large numbers of U.S. troops on the ground uninvited, without any international law mandate, without sufficient support from Congress, at a time when we still had troops in Afghanistan and we still had troops in Iraq and we had just gone through over a decade of war and spent trillions of dollars and when the opposition on the ground was not cohesive enough to necessarily govern a country and you had a military superpower in Russia prepared to do whatever it took to keep its (inaudible) involved and you had a regional military power in Iran that saw their own vital strategic interests at stake and were willing to send in as many of their people or proxies to support the regime.

And in that circumstance, unless we were all in and willing to take over Syria, we were going to have problems. And everything else was tempting because we wanted to do something and it sounded like the right thing to do but it was going to be impossible to do this on the cheap. And in that circumstance, I have to make decision as president of the United States as to what is best — I’m sorry.

What’s going on? Somebody’s not feeling good. All right. Why don’t we have — we got — we can get our doctors back there to help out. Somebody want to go to my doctor’s office and just send them — all right. Where was I? So we couldn’t do it on the cheap. Now, it may be —

QUESTION: Can we get a doctor in here? Can that be arranged?

OBAMA: Can somebody help out, please, and get Doc Jackson in here? Somebody grabbing our doctor?

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

OBAMA: Of course. In the meantime, just give her a little room. Doctor will be here in a second. You guys know where the doctor’s office is? So just go through the palm doors. Its right — its right next to the map room. There he is. All right. There’s Doc Jackson. He’s all right. OK. The doctor — the doctor’s in the house.

So — And I don’t mean that — I mean that with all sincerity. I understand the impulse to want to do something, but ultimately what I’ve had to do is to think about, what can we sustain, what is realistic? And my first priority has to be, what’s the right thing to do for America? And it has been our view that the best thing to do has been to provide some support to the moderate opposition so that they could sustain themselves. And that you wouldn’t see anti-Assad regime sentiments just pouring into Al- Nusra and Al-Qaeda or ISIL that we engaged our international partners in order to put pressure on all the parties involved. And to try to resolve this through diplomatic and political means. I cannot claim that we’ve been successful. And so that’s something that, as is true with a lot of issues and problems around the world, I have to go to bed with every night.

But I continue to believe that it was the right approach given what realistically we could get done. Absent a decision, as I said, to go into much more significant way. And that, I think would not have been a sustainable or good for the American people because we had a whole host of other obligations that we also had to meet, wars we had already started and that were not yet finished.

With respect to the issue of safe zones , it is a continued problem, a continued challenge with safe zones is if you are setting up those zones on Syrian territory, then that requires some force that is willing to maintain that territory in the absence of consent from the Syrian government and now the Russians or the Iranians.

So it may be that with Aleppo’s tragic situation unfolding that in the short term, if we can get more of the tens of thousands who are still trapped there out , that so long as the world’s eyes are on them and they are feeling pressure, the regime in Russia concludes that they are willing to find some arrangement, perhaps in coordination with Turkey, whereby those people can be safe.

Even that will probably be temporary, but at least it solves a short-term issue that’s going to arise.

Unfortunately we are not there yet because right now we have Russians and Assad claiming that basically all the innocent civilians who were trapped in Aleppo are out when international organizations, humanitarian organizations who know better and who are on the ground, have said unequivocally that there are still tens of thousands who are trapped and prepared to leave under pretty much any conditions.

And so right now our biggest priority is to continue to put pressure wherever we can to try to get them out.

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: Mike, I can’t have too much…

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) but do you see, responsibility notwithstanding, moving in that direction or help President-elect Trump move in that direction?

OBAMA: I will help President Trump — President-elect Trump with any advice, counsel, information that we can provide so that he, once he’s sworn in, can make a decision.

Between now and then, these are decisions that I have to make based on the consultations that I have with our military and the people who have been working this every single day. Peter Alexander (ph).

QUESTION: Mr. President, thank you very much.

Can you, given all the intelligence that we have now heard, assure the public this was once and for all a free and fair election? And specifically on Russia, do you feel any obligation now as they have been insisting that this isn’t the case to show the proof, as it were? They say, put your money where your mouth is and declassify some of the intelligence and the evidence that exists.

And more broadly, as it relates to Donald Trump on this very topic, are you concerned about his relationship with Vladimir Putin, especially given some of the recent cabinet picks, including his selection for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who toasted Putin with champagne over oil deals together? Thank you.

OBAMA: I may be getting older because these multipart questions, I start losing track.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: I can assure the public that there was not the kind of tampering with the voting process that was our concern and will continue to be of concern going forward, that the votes that were cast were counted, they were counted appropriately.

We have not seen evidence of machines being tampered with, so that assurance I can provide.

That doesn’t mean that we find every single, you know, potential probe of every single voting machine all across the country, but we paid a lot of attention to it. We worked with state officials, et cetera, and we feel confident that that didn’t occur and that the votes were cast and they were counted.

And so that’s on that point. What was the second one?

QUESTION: Say more about declassification.

OBAMA: Declassification. Look, we will provide evidence that we can safely provide, that does not compromise sources and methods. But I’ll be honest with you, when you are talking about cybersecurity, a lot of it is classified and we’re not going to provide it, because the way we catch folks is by knowing certain things about them that they may not want us to know and if we’re gonna monitor this stuff effectively going forward, we don’t want them to know that we know.

So, this is one of those situations where, unless the American people genuinely think that the professionals in the CIA, the FBI, our entire intelligence infrastructure, many of whom — by the way, served in previous administrations and who are Republicans — are less trustworthy than the Russians. Then people should pay attention to what our intelligence agencies say.

This is part of what I meant when I said we’ve got to think what is happening to happening to our political culture here. The Russians can’t change us or significantly weaken us. They are a smaller country, they are a weaker country, their economy doesn’t produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil and gas and arms. They don’t innovate.

But they can impact us if we lose track of who we are. They can impact us if we abandon our values. Mr. Putin can weaken us just like he’s trying to weaken Europe if we start buying into notions that it’s OK to intimidate the press, or lock up dissidents, or discriminate against people because of their faith or what they look like.

And what I worry about — more than anything — is the degree to which because of the fierceness because of the partisan battle, you start to see certain folks in the Republican Party and Republican voters suddenly finding a government and individuals who stand contrary to everything that we stand for as being OK, because that’s how much we dislike Democrats.

I mean, think about it. Some of the people who historically have been very critical of me for engaging with the Russians and having conversations with them, also endorsed the president-elect, even as he was saying that we should stop sanctioning Russia and being tough on them and work together with them against our common enemies.

It was very complimentary of Mr. Putin personally. Now that — that wasn’t news. The president-elect during the campaign said so. And some folks who had made a career out of being anti-Russian, didn’t say anything about it. And then after the election, suddenly they’re asking, oh, why didn’t you tell us that maybe the Russians were trying to help our candidate? Well, come on.

There was a survey some of you saw where — not this just one poll, but pretty credible source, 37 percent of Republican voters approve of Putin. Over a third of Republican voters approve of Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB. Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave. And how did that happen? It happened in part because for too long, everything that happens in this town, everything that’s said is seen through the lens of does this help or hurt us relative to Democrats or relative to President Obama. And unless that changes, we’re going to continue to be vulnerable to foreign influence because we’ve lost track of what it is that we’re about and what we stand for.

With respect to the president-elect’s appointments, it is his prerogative, as I have always said, for him to appoint who he thinks can best carry out his foreign policy or his domestic policy. It is up to the Senate to advise and consent. There will be plenty of time for members of the Senate to go through the record of all his appointees and determine whether or not they’re appropriate for the job.

Martha (inaudible).

QUESTION: Mr. President, I want to talk about Vladimir Putin again. Just to be clear, do you believe Vladimir Putin himself authorized the hack? And do you believe he authorized that to help Donald Trump?

And on the intelligence, one of the things Donald Trump cites is Saddam Hussein and the weapons of mass destruction and that they were never found. Can you say unequivocally that this was not China, that this was not a 400-pound guy sitting on his bed as Donald Trump says? And do these types of tweets and kinds of statements from Donald Trump embolden the Russians?

OBAMA: When the report comes out before I leave office, that will have drawn together all the threads, and so I don’t want to step on their work ahead of time. What I can tell you is that the intelligence that I’ve seen gives me great confidence in their assessment that the Russians carried out this hack.

QUESTION: Which hack?

OBAMA: The hack of the DNC and the hack of John Podesta.

Now, the — but again, I think this is exactly why I want the report out, so that everybody can review it. And this has been briefed and the evidence in closed session has been provided on a bipartisan basis, not just to me, it’s been provided to the leaders of the House and the Senate and the chairmen and ranking members of the relevant committees. And I think that what you’ve already seen is, at least some of the folks who’ve seen the evidence don’t dispute I think the basic assessment that the Russians carried this out.

QUESTION: But specifically, could (ph) you not say that…

OBAMA: Well, Martha, I think what I want to make sure of is that I give the intelligence community a chance to gather all the information.

But I’d make a larger point, which is, not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin. This is a pretty hierarchical operation. Last I checked, there’s not a lot of debate and democratic deliberation, particularly when it comes to policies directed at the United States. We have said and I will confirm that this happened at the highest levels of the Russian government and I will let you make that determination as to whether there are high-level Russian officials who go off rogue and decide to tamper with the U.S. election process without Vladimir Putin knowing about it.

QUESTION: So I wouldn’t be wrong in saying the president thinks Vladimir Putin authorized the hack?

OBAMA: Martha, I’ve given you what I’ve — what I’m gonna give you.

What was your second question?

QUESTION: Do the tweets and do the statements by — by Donald Trump embolden Russia?

OBAMA: As I said before, I think that the president-elect, you know, is still in transition mode from campaign to governance. I think he hasn’t gotten his whole team together yet. He still has campaign spokespersons sort of filling in and appearing on cable shows. And there is just a whole different attitude and vibe when you’re not in power as when you are in power.

So rather than me sort of characterize the appropriateness or inappropriateness of what he is doing at the moment, I think what we have to see is how will the president-elect operate and how will his team operate when they’ve been fully briefed on all these issues. They have their hands on all the levers of government. And they have got to start making decisions.

One way I do believe that the president-elect can approach this that would be unifying is to say that we welcome a bipartisan independent process that gives the American people an assurance not only that votes are counted properly, that the elections are fair and free, but that we have learned lessons about how internet propaganda from foreign countries can be released into the political bloodstream and that we have got strategies to deal with it for the future.

The more this can be non-partisan, the better served the American people are going to be, which is why I made the point earlier and I’m going to keep on repeating this point, our vulnerability to Russia or any other foreign power is directly related to how divided, partisan, dysfunctional our political process is. That’s the thing that makes us vulnerable.

If fake news that’s being released by some foreign government is almost identical to reports that are being issued through partisan news venues, then it’s not surprising that that foreign propaganda will have a greater effect. It doesn’t seem that far-fetched compared to some of the other stuff that folks are hearing from domestic propagandists.

To the extent that our political dialogue is such where everything is under suspicion, and everybody is corrupt, and everybody is doing things for partisan reasons, and all of our institutions are, you know, full of malevolent actors, if that’s the story line that is being put out there by whatever party is out of power, then when a foreign government introduces that same argument, with facts that are made up, voters who have been listening to that stuff for years, who have been getting that stuff every day from talk radio or other venues, they’re going to believe it.

So if we want to really reduce foreign influence on our elections, then we had better think about how to make sure that our political process, our political dialogue is stronger than it has been.

Mark Langley (ph).

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

I wonder whether I could move you from Russia to China for a moment.

OBAMA: Absolutely.

QUESTION: Your successor spoke by phone with the president of Taiwan the other day, and declared subsequently that he wasn’t sure why the United States needed to be bound by the One China Policy.

He suggested it could be used as a bargaining chip perhaps to get better terms on a trade deal or more cooperation on North Korea. There’s already evidence that tensions between the two sides have increased a bit, and just today, the Chinese have seized an underwater drone in the South China Sea.

Do you agree, as some do, that our China policy could use a fresh set of eyes and what’s the big deal about having a short phone call with the president of Taiwan? Or do you worry that these types of unorthodox approaches are setting us on a collision course with perhaps our biggest geopolitical adversary?

OBAMA: That’s a great question.

I’m somewhere in between. I think all of our foreign policy should be subject to fresh eyes. I think one of the — I’ve said this before, I am very proud of the work I’ve done. I think I’m a better president now than when I started. But you know, if you’re here for eight years in the bubble, you start seeing things a certain way and you benefit from — the democracy benefits, America benefits from some new perspectives.

And I think it should be not just the prerogative, but the obligation of a new president to examine everything that’s been done and see what makes sense and what doesn’t. That’s what I have done when I came in and I’m assuming any new president’s gonna undertake those same exercises.

And given the importance of the relationship between United States and China, given how much is at stake in terms of the world economy, national security, our presence in the Asia-Pacific, China’s increasing role in international affairs, there’s probably no bilateral relationship that carries more significance and where there’s also the potential if that relationship breaks down or goes into full conflict mode that everybody is worse off. So I think it’s fine for him to take a look at it. What I have advised the president-elect is that across the board on foreign policy, you want to make sure that you’re doing it in a systematic, deliberate, intentional way.

And since there’s only one president at a time, my advice to him has been that before he starts having a lot of interactions with foreign governments other than the usual courtesy calls, that he should want to have his full team in place, that he should want his team to be fully briefed on what’s gone on in the past and where the potential pitfalls may be, where the opportunities are, what we’ve learned from eight years of experience so that as he’s then maybe taking foreign policy in a new direction, he’s got all the information to make good decisions, and by the way, that all of government is moving at the same time and singing from the same hymnal.

And with respect to China — and let’s just take the example of Taiwan, there has been a longstanding agreement essentially between China and the United States, and to some agree the Taiwanese, which is to not change the status quo. Taiwan operates differently than mainland China does. China views Taiwan as part of China, but recognizes that it has to approach Taiwan as an entity that has its own ways of doing things.

OBAMA: The Taiwanese have agreed that as long as they’re able to continue to function with some agree of autonomy, that they won’t charge forward and declare independence. And that status quo, although not completely satisfactory to any of the parties involved, has kept the peace and allowed the Taiwanese to be a pretty successful economy and — of people who have a high agree of self-determination. What I understand for China, the issue of Taiwan is as important as anything on their docket.

The idea of One China is at the heart of their conception as a nation. And so if you are going to upend this understanding, you have to have thought through what the consequences because the Chinese will not treat that the way they’ll treat some other issues. They won’t even treat it the way they issues around the South China Sea, where we’ve had a lot of tensions. This goes to the core of how they see themselves.

And their reaction on this issue could end up being very significant. That doesn’t mean that you have to adhere to everything that’s been done in the past, but you have to think it through and have planned for potential reactions that they may engage in. All right. Isaac Dovere, Politico.

QUESTION: Thank you Mr. President. Two questions on where this all leaves us.

OBAMA: What leaves us? Where my presidency leaves us? It leaves us in a really good spot.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: If we make some good decisions going forward.

QUESTION: What do you say to the electors who are going to meet on Monday and are thinking of changing their votes? Do you think they should be given an intelligence briefing about the Russian activity or should they bear in mind everything you have said and have said already (ph)? Should they — should votes be bound by the state votes as they’ve gone? And long-term, do you think that there is need for Electoral College reform that was tied to the popular vote?

OBAMA: Sounded like two but really was one.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: I love how these start. I’ve got two questions, but each one has four parts.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: On the Democratic Party, your labor secretary is running for — to be the chair of the Democratic National Committee. Is the vision that you’ve seen him putting forward what you think the party needs to be focused on? And what do you think about the complaint that say that the future democratic committee shouldn’t be a continuation of some of your political approach? Part of that is complaints that decisions that you have made as president and leader of the party has structurally weakened the DNC and the Democratic Party and they think that that has led to or has help lead to some of the losses in elections around the country. Do you regret any of those decisions?

OBAMA: I’ll take the second one first and say that Tom Perez has been, I believe one of the best secretaries of labor in our history. He is tireless. He is wicked smart. He has been able to work across the spectrum of you know, labor, business, activists. He has produced. I mean, if you look at his body of work on behalf of working people, what he’s pushed for in terms of making sure that workers get a fair deal, decent wages, better benefits, that their safety is protected on the job. He has been extraordinary.

Now others who have declared are also my friends and fine people as well. And the great thing is, I don’t have a vote in this. So – so – so we’ll let the process unfold, I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon. I described to you earlier what I think needs to happen, which is that the democratic party, whether that’s entirely through the DNC or through rebuilding of state parties, or some other arrangement, has to work at the grassroots level, has to be present in all 50 states, has to have a presence in counties.

Has to think about in that extension (ph) how are we speaking directly to voters.

I will say this, and I’m not going to engage in too much punditry. But that I could not be prouder of the coalition that I put together in my — each of my campaigns. Because it was inclusive and it drew in people who normally weren’t interested in politics and didn’t participate.

But I’d like to think — I think I can show that in those elections, I always cast a broad net. I always said first and foremost we’re Americans, that we have a common creed, that there’s more that we share than divides us. And I want to talk to everybody and get a chance to get everybody’s vote.

I still believe what I said in 2004 which is this red state-blue thing is a construct. Now it is a construct that has gotten more and more powerful for a whole lot of reasons from gerrymandering, to big money, to a way that the media is splintered.

And so people are just watching what reinforces their existing biases as opposed to having to listen to different points of view. So there are all kinds of reasons for it. But outside the realm of electoral politics, I still see people the way I saw them when I made that speech, full of contradictions and some regional differences but basically, folks care about their families.

They care about having meaningful work. They care about making sure their kids have more opportunity than they did. They want to be safe. They want to feel like things are fair.

And whoever leads the DNC and any candidate with the Democratic brand going forward, I want them to feel as if they can reach out and find that common ground and speak to all of America. And that requires some organization.

And you’re right that — and I said this in my earlier remarks, that what I was able to do during my campaigns, I wasn’t able to do during midterms. It’s not that we didn’t put in time and effort into it. I spent time and effort into it. But the coalition I put together didn’t always turn out to be transferable.

And the challenge is that — you know, some of that just has to do with the fact that when you are in the party in power and people are going through hard times like they were in 2010, they are going to punish to some degree the president’s party regardless of what organizational work is done.

Some of it has to do with just some deep standing traditional challenges for Democrats like during off-year elections the electorate is older and we do better with the younger electorate. But we know those things are true.

And I didn’t crack the code on that. And if other people have ideas about how to do that even better, I’m all for it.

So with respect to the electors, I’m not going to wade into that issue. Because, again, it’s the American people’s job and now electors’ job to decide my successor. It is not my job to decide my successor.

And I have provided people with a lot of information about what happened during the course of the election, but more importantly, the candidates themselves I think talked about their beliefs and their vision for America.

The president-elect I think has been very explicit what he cares about and what he believes in. And so it’s not in my hands now, it’s up to them.

QUESTION: what about long term about the Electoral College?

OBAMA: Long term with respect to the Electoral College, the Electoral College is a vestige, it’s a carry-over from an earlier vision of how our federal government was going to work that put a lot of premium on states, and it used to be that the Senate was not elected directly, it was through state legislatures. And it’s the same type of thinking that gives Wyoming two senators and — with about half a million people and California with 33 million get the same two.

So there’s — there are some structures in our political system as envisioned by the founders that sometimes are going to disadvantage Democrats, but the truth of the matter is is that if we have a strong message, if we’re speaking to what the American people care about, typically, the popular vote and the electoral college vote will align.

And I guess — I guess part of my overall message here as I leave for the holidays is that if we look for one explanation or one silver bullet or one easy fix for our politics, then we’re probably going to be disappointed. There are just a lot of factors in what’s happened, not just over the last few months, but over the last decade that has made both politics and governance more challenging. And I think everybody’s raised legitimate questions and legitimate concerns.

I do hope that we all just take some time, take a breath, that’s certainly what I’m going to advise Democrats, to just reflect a little bit more about how can we — how can we get to a place where people are focused on working together based on at least some common set of facts? How can we have a conversation about policy that doesn’t demonize each another? How can we channel what I think is the basic decency and goodness of the American people so it reflects itself in our politics, as opposed to it being so polarized and so nasty that in some cases, you have voters and unelected officials who have more confidence and faith in a foreign adversary than they have in their neighbors?

And those go to some bigger issues. How is it that we have some voters or some elected officials who think that Michelle Obama’s healthy eating initiative and school nutrition program is a greater threat to democracy than, you know, our government going after the press if they’re issuing a story they don’t like? I mean, that’s — that’s an issue that I think, you know, we’ve got to — we’ve got to wrestle with. And we will.

People have asked me how you feel after the election and so forth and I say well, look, this is a clarifying moment. It’s a useful reminder that voting counts, politics counts. What the president- elect is going to be doing is gonna be very different than what I was doing and I think people will be able to compare and contrast and make judgments about what worked for the American people. And I hope that building off the progress we’ve made, that what the president-elect is proposing works.

What I can say with confidence is that what we’ve done works. That I can prove. I can show you where we were in 2008 and I can show you where we are now. And you can’t argue that we are not better off, we are.

And for that, I thank the American people and then more importantly I thank — well, not importantly, as importantly — I was going to say Josh Earnest…

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: … for doing such a great job. For that, I thank the American people, I thank the men and women in uniform who serve. I haven’t gotten to the point yet where I’ve been overly sentimental. I will tell you that when I was doing my last Christmas party photo — I know many of you have participated in these, they’re pretty long.

Right at the end of the line, the President’s Marine Corps Band comes in, those who have been performing. And I take a picture with them. And that was the last time that I was going to take a picture with my Marine Corps Band after an event. And I got a little choked up.

Now I was in front of marines so I had to like tamp it down. But it was just one small example of all of the people who have contributed to our success. I am responsible for where we’ve screwed up, the successes are widely shared with all of the amazing people who have been part of this administration.

OK? Thank you, everybody. Mele Kalikimaka!

 

Full Text Political Transcripts December 15, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Full Text Political Transcripts December 14, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump’s Introductory Remarks With Tech Executives

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump’s Introductory Remarks With Tech Executives

Source: WSJ, 12-14-16

Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Inc.:

“Tim Cook, very good to be here. And I look very forward to talking to the president-elect about the things that we can do to help you achieve some things you want.”

Donald Trump, President-elect:

“Great, Tim.”

Safra Catz, co-CEO, Oracle Corp.

“I’m Safra Catz, I’m CEO of Oracle. I’m actually privileged and honored to even be here, and we are looking forward to helping you, and your administration.”

Donald Trump:

“Thank you. Thank you, Safra.”

Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla Motors Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Inc.:

“Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, building rockets and cars and solar stuff in the U.S. I’m really excited about expanding our manufacturing footprint in the U.S.”

Gary Cohn:

“Gary Cohn, here as the delegate for NEC (National Economic Council), working with the president on driving his economic policy.”

Wilbur Ross, investor, appointed U.S. Commerce Secretary:

“Wilbur Ross, nominee for commerce secretary.”

Stephen Miller, appointed Senior Adviser to the President for Policy:

“Stephen Miller, senior adviser for policy, and everyone thank you for being here.”

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft Corp.:

“Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.”

Ginni Rometty, CEO, International Business Machines Corp.:

Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM, and also great to be here to work on that [inaudible] agenda.”

Chuck Robbins, CEO, Cisco Corp.:

“Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco. Likewise, everything has been said, we’re happy to be here and happy to help and happy to work with you.”

Jared Kushner:

“Jared Kushner.”

Reince Priebus:

“Reince Priebus.”

Steve Bannon, senior counsel and chief strategist of the President-elect:

“Steve Bannon, chief strategist and senior counselor for the President-elect.”

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, Alphabet Inc.:

“Eric Schmidt, Alphabet/Google, and completely agree with what’s been said.”

Alex Karp, CEO, Palantir Technologies Inc.:

“Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir hoping to help bolster national security and [inaudible].”

Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel Corp.:

“Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel.”

Donald Trump, Jr., executive vice president, The Trump Organization:

“Donald Trump, Jr.”

Ivanka Trump, executive vice president, The Trump Organization:

“Ivanka Trump.”

Eric Trump, executive vice president, The Trump Organization:

“Eric Trump, and welcome.”

Brad Smith, president, Microsoft:

“Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, and like Satya [Nadella], please to be here.”

Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon.com Inc.:

“Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com. I’m super excited about the possibility that this could be the innovations administration.”

Larry Page, CEO, Alphabet:

“Larry Page, Alphabet and Google, probably the youngest company here.”

Donald Trump:

“Looks like the youngest person.” [Laughs]

Mr. Page:

“Really excited to be here.”

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, Facebook Inc.:

“Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook. Excited to talk about jobs.”

Mike Pence, Vice President-elect:

“Mike Pence, governor of Indiana for a few more days, and Vice President-elect of the United States.”

Donald Trump:

“Well I just want to thank everybody. This is a truly amazing group of people. I won’t tell you the hundreds of calls we’ve had asking to come to this meeting, and I will say, and I will say Peter was sort of saying, ’No, that company’s too small.’ And these are monster companies. But I want to thank — I want to start by thanking Peter because he saw something very early, maybe before we saw it and of course he’s known for that in a different way. But he’s been so terrific and so outstanding and he got just about the biggest applause at the Republican National Convention. He’s ahead of the curve, and I want to thank you, man, you’re a very special guy.

So I want to add that I’m here to help you folks do well. And you’re doing well right now and I’m honored by the bounce. They’re all talking about the bounce, so right now everybody in this room has to like me at least a little bit, but we’re going to try and have that bounce continue and perhaps even more importantly we want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. There’s nobody like you in the world. In the world, there’s nobody like the people in this room.

And anything we can do to help this go along, and we’re going to be there for you and you’ll call my people, you’ll call me, it doesn’t make any difference, we have no formal chain of command around here. I’m honored to have Gary, the president of Goldman Sachs, left Goldman Sachs to do this, and Wilbur, everybody knows Wilbur, they never call him Wilbur Ross on Wall Street, they just say “Oh, it’s Wilbur.” There’s nobody like him.

And we’re gonna do fair trade deals. We’re going to make it a lot easier for you to trade across borders because of a lot of restrictions, a lot of problems that I think you’ll see. And if you have any ideas on that, that would be, that would be great because there are a lot of border restrictions and a lot of border problems, you probably have less of a problem than some companies, some companies have—you have some problems.”

Full Text Political Transcripts December 13, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in West Allis, Wisconsin with House Speaker Paul Ryan

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in West Allis, Wisconsin with House Speaker Paul Ryan

Vice President-elect Mike Pence and President-elect Donald Trump Speeches

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/6kBYuugkvtY&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen><!–iframe>

Wisconsin  Governor Scott Walker and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan Speeches

 

Full Text Political Transcripts December 9, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Full Text Political Transcripts December 9, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump Get-Out-the-Vote Rally in Baton Rouge, LA

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump Get-Out-the-Vote Rally in Baton Rouge, LA

Full Text Political Transcripts December 8, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Des Moines, Iowa

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Des Moines, Iowa

Full Text Political Transcripts December 6, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Full Text Political Transcripts December 1, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Cincinnati, Ohio

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Cincinnati, Ohio

Source: Independent UK, 12-1-16

Or how about North Carolina? How well did we do in North Carolina? Right?

[cheers]

Remember what they said. “He cannot win North Carolina. So we had just won Ohio, Iowa. And we had just won Florida. “Breaking news! Donald Trump has won Florida” They’re saying: “Woah!”

[cheers]

And we won it big. But then the people back there, the extremely dishonest press aid, right?

[boos]

Very dishonest people. How about, how about, I mean how dishonest? How about when a major anchor who hosted a debate started crying? When she realised we won?

[cheers]

Tears! “No, tell me this isn’t true!” And you know what she doesn’t understand? Things are gonna be much better now! She doesn’t understand.

[cheers]

I mean think of it. We won a landslide. That was a landslide. And we didn’t have the press. The press was brutal. Youb know what? Hey, in the great state of Ohio, we didn’t have the upper echelon of politicians either, did we?

[boos]

And was very nice. He said: “Congratulations. That was amazing.” He couldn’t believe how much we won Ohio by or the election by. Remember? “You cannot get to 270!” The dishonest press. “There is so road!” Folks, how many times did we hear this? “There is no path to 270. There is no path. There is no path.

[cheers]

“There is no path for Donald Trump”, “Texas is in play”. Do you remember that one? Now, as a Republican, I’m supposed to win Texas. As a Republican, I’m supposed to win Georgia. As a Republican, I’m supposed to win the great state of Utah. I love Utah. Love those states.

Remember when they said: “Donald Trump is gonna lose to – “some guy I had never even heard of. Who is that guy? “He is going to lose to this guy!”

But the people of Utah were amazing and we trounced them. We trounced. And, by the way, Hillary came in second and that guy came in third. I was still trying to figure it out. I’m still trying to figure out what was he going to prove?

Did he want to –  wanted to find, what the hell was he trying to prove? I guess he wanted us to lose the Supreme Court. That’s about the only thing he was going to get. But think of it. They said: I’ll tell you what. This is two, three weeks before the election. And my friends were telling me just the opposite. They live in Texas and Georgia. They said: ‘Georgia is in play. Texas is in play.’

That means like we’re even. And then we won in a landslide, both states. I said: ‘What happened?’ Right? They go for weeks. ‘Texas is in Play!’ Then you turn on the television, like two minutes later. ‘Donald Trump won Texas!’ You know it’s like..

[cheers]

These are very, very dishonest people.

[boos]

Okay. I love this stuff. Should I go on with this just a little ebit longer? I love it. How about it’s like 12 o’clock in the evening and Pennsylvania, I’m leading by a lot. And we couldn’t just get off 98 per cent. They didn’t want to call it. We’re leading by so much. And it’s impossible, if I lost every other vote, and they refuse to call. Then at 3 o’clock, I’ll never forget, I watched a particular person.

And we won Wisconsin. And we won Michigan. And we won Pennsylvania. Right? And that person is doing the map, and that person was saying for months that there’s no way Donald Trump can break the blue wall. Right?

We didn’t break it. We shattered that sucker. Shattered it, man. That poor wall is busted up. So, I’ll never forget it though because it felt so good. You know, more so because they kept saying there’s no path and all this nonsense.

So – and I go out and I see the people, like this. And I’d say: “How are we gonna lose?” I mean how are we gonna lose? But what happened? So, they’d say – we win Wisconsin. Donald Trump, 38 years or so, Donald Trump has won Michigan.

And then they’re looking at the map. They’re saying: ‘Oh, wow. There’s no way for Hillary Clinton to become president. Donald Trump is President of the United States.”

Full Text Political Transcripts December 1, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump, VP-elect Mike Pence Speeches at Indianapolis Carrier Plant

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump, VP-elect Mike Pence Speeches at Indianapolis Carrier Plant

Source: Time, 12-1-16

PENCE: How about another round applause for Greg Hayes, the chairman and CEO of United Technologies? It is great to have him in the Hoosier State.

(APPLAUSE)

To the executives at United Technologies who are with us, executives with Carrier, to the great Carrier team here in Indiana.

(APPLAUSE)

To our honored guests, Governor-elect Eric Holcomb, Indiana Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, my fellow Hoosiers.

It is great to be back home again in Indiana.

(APPLAUSE)

And this is a great day for Indiana. And it’s a great day for working people all across the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, the state of Indiana is very proud. We are a proud manufacturing state. We are home to low taxes, sensible regulations, great schools and roads and the best workforce in America.

Since the 1950s, Carrier had been apart of Indiana’s manufacturing success story, and we’ve been proud of it.

As governor, I couldn’t be more pleased and grateful that — thanks to the initiative and the leadership of President-elect Donald Trump that Carrier has decided to stay and grow right here in America.

(APPLAUSE)

We are so grateful. We are so grateful that — thanks to the initiative of our president-elect, that I’ll talk about in a minute — and, frankly, thanks to the confidence of Greg Hayes, United Technologies and Bob McDonough at Carrier — that Carrier has decided to stay in Indiana, invest more than $16 million in this facility alone, and will keep more than 1,000 jobs right here in the heart of the Heartland.

(APPLAUSE)

What a difference a year makes.

You know, the truth be told, job announcements are almost a daily thing here in the state of Indiana. We’re at record employment today. We have more Hoosiers going to work than ever before.

And that’s why, frankly, along with all of you who work in this facility, that that day, February 10th, was a heartbreaking day, when Carrier made the difficult decision to close this facility and move jobs out of our country.

We met with the leaders of the company back in March, and try as we might to make the Indiana case, it was clear that the die was cast. The simple truth was that policies coming out of our nation’s capital were literally driving jobs out of this country.

What was missing was clear to me as your governor. What was missing was leadership and change.

Well, the American people voted for change last month. And even before taking office, our president-elect provided real leadership that made the difference.

(APPLAUSE)

PENCE: You know, President-elect Donald Trump did just what he said he would do. He picked up the phone. I was actually in the room. He picked up the phone. He talked from one American to another. He talked about our plans, our plans to make America more competitive, to reduce taxes, to roll back regulations, to put American jobs and American workers first again. He made the case for America.

And Carrier decided to bet on a brighter future for the American people. And we are grateful from the bottom of our hearts.

(APPLAUSE)

I’m very humbled to be standing before you today. I truly am. My family and I are deeply moved by the opportunities the people of Indiana have given us, and now the American people have given us, to serve.

But I’m especially humbled as the holidays approach to have played some small role in this wonderful news, not only here In Indiana but all across this country. But I think it’s important to give credit where credit is due.

First and foremost, I want to thank — I want to thank Greg Hayes and his team at United Technologies, Bob McDonough and the team at Carrier.

Thank you for renewing your commitment to Indiana and renewing your commitment to the people of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

I also just want to thank the great Carrier team here in Indianapolis and in the state of Indiana.

Your hard work, your resilience, your work ethic even in disappointing times I know for a fact gave this company the confidence to double down on the future of this company and the future of the people of this state. And so I thank you, the Carrier team, for giving them the confidence to do just that.

(APPLAUSE)

But lastly, on behalf of all the people of Indiana, allow me to thank the man we wouldn’t be here without for his efforts, for picking up the phone, for keeping his word, his efforts to bring us to this day of renewed hope and promise, not just here in Indiana but really for — for people that know that the strength of this country comes in our ability to make things and to grow things. It’s a renewed day for manufacturing in America.

You know, I remember when Donald Trump was running for president he said that if he was elected president of the United States, America would start winning again. Well, today America won. And we have Donald Trump to thank.

(APPLAUSE)

And I’ve got a feeling working beside this extraordinary man, this is just the beginning of a lot more good news all across America.

So without any further ado, my fellow Hoosiers, it is my high honor and distinct privilege to introduce to you a man of action, a man of his word, and the president-elect of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I love that red hat. Thank you, everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank all of the dignitaries that are with us today. We have a whole host: the mayor, governor-elect, great people. It’s a big victory for the governor-elect. He won very convincingly, so we’re very proud of him.

And, you know, Mike has been such a wise decision for me. When people were saying, “I don’t know. How good is he at decision making?” they’d always say, “Yeah, but he picked Mike Pence. That’s a good decision.” And everybody loves Mike. He’s become something very special.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank Greg Hayes of United Technologies, because when I called him he was right there. I wish I could have made the call when they were doing their original decision, but it worked out just as well, other than I would have liked to have had an answer a year and a half ago.

We had a tremendous love affair with the state of Indiana. Because if you remember during the primaries, this was going to be the firewall. This was where they were going to stop Trump, right? And that didn’t work out too well.

TRUMP: And it was a firewall — for me it was a firewall. And we won by 16 points, and the election we just won by 20 points — almost 20 points.

(APPLAUSE)

And that was some victory. That’s pretty — that’s pretty great. And I just love the people, incredible people.

So, I got involved because of the love affair I’ve had. This has been a very special state to us. And I’ll never forget, about a week ago I was watching the nightly news. I won’t say which one, because I don’t want to give them credit, because I don’t like them much, I’ll be honest.

(LAUGHTER)

I don’t like them. Not even a little bit.

But they were doing a story on Carrier, and I say, “Wow, that’s something. I want to see that.”

And they had a gentleman, worker, great guy, handsome guy, he was on, and it was like he didn’t even know they were leaving. He said something to the effect, “No, we’re not leaving, because Donald Trump promised us that we’re not leaving,” and I never thought I made that promise. Not with Carrier. I made it for everybody else. I didn’t make it really for Carrier.

And I said, “What’s he saying?” And he was such a believer, and he was such a great guy. He said, “I’ve been with Donald Trump from the beginning, and he made the statement that Carrier’s not going anywhere, they’re not leaving.”

And I’m saying to myself, “Man.”

And then they played my statement, and I said, “Carrier will never leave.” But that was a euphemism. I was talking about Carrier like all other companies from here on in. Because they made the decision a year and a half ago.

But he believed that that was — and I could understand it. I actually said — I didn’t make it — when they played that, I said, “I did make it, but I didn’t mean it quite that way.”

So now because of him, whoever that guy was — is he in the room, by any chance? That’s your son? Stand up, you did a good job.

(APPLAUSE)

You did a great job, right? That’s fantastic. And I love your shirt.

Oh, wow.

(LAUGHTER)

Put it on, cameras, go ahead. Put it on.

Well, your son is great. And he meant that, didn’t he? He really meant it.

At first I said, “I wonder if he’s being sarcastic, because this ship has sailed.” And then I said — it was 6:30 in the evening, and I said, “Boy, the first thing I’m going to do is go there and — say do I call the head of Carrier,” who’s a great guy, but I’ve always learned I’ve got to call the top, and I heard about Greg Hayes. He’s a great executive.

You know, I don’t know if you know, United Technologies is one of the top 50 companies in the United States, and one of the top companies anywhere in the world. They make many other things other than air conditioners, believe me. Their list of companies is incredible.

So I called Greg Hayes. I heard of him, but I never met him. And he picked up the phone, “Mr. President-elect, sir, how are you?” It’s wonderful to win. You know that. Think if I lost he wouldn’t have returned my call. I don’t know if — where is Greg?

I don’t know, would you — if I lost and called you I don’t think you would have called. I would have tried for you, but I think it would have been tougher, right? What do you think, Greg?

Yes, he’s sort of nodding yes, you’re right.

(LAUGHTER)

But I called Greg and I said, “It’s really important, we have to do something. Because you have a lot of people leaving and you have to understand, we can’t allow this to happen anymore with our country. So many jobs are leaving and going to other countries. Not just Mexico, many, many countries. And China is making so much of our product that we’re closing up a lot of plants.”

And I mean, I wrote down some numbers that are incredible, but the numbers of manufacturing jobs that are lost, especially in the Rust Belt — and the Rust Belt is so incredible. But we’re losing companies, it’s — it’s unbelievable, one after another, just one after another.

So I said, “Greg, you’ve got to help us out here. We got to sit down. We got to do something.” And I said, “Because we just can’t let it happen.”

Anyway, he was incredible. And he said, “I understand.” And I said, “I wish I made this call a year and a half ago, it would have been a lot easier call.”

Only because of your son, OK, believe me? Your son, whoever the hell your son is, these people owe him a lot. And I just went through — he’s out in the factory. I thought they were all going to be in this room. This room’s not big enough.

(UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Yes, I know. I don’t know who arranged that one. Because I had — we just visited a thousand people in the factory that are going wild, in the plant.

TRUMP: But I will tell you that United Technologies and Carrier stepped it up and now they’re keeping — actually the number’s over 1,100 people, which is so great, which is so great (ph).

(APPLAUSE)

And I see the people. I shook hands with a lot of the people. They’re right behind us working. I guess, what is it, you’re so — you’re making so many air conditioners you didn’t want to even have them come off for a half hour. He’s a ruthless boss. He’s ruthless. But that’s OK.

You know, I did say one thing to the Carrier folks and to the United Technologies folks. I said, the goodwill that you have engendered by doing this, all over the world, frankly, but within our country, you watch how fast you’re going to make it up. Because so many people are going to be buying Carrier air conditioners. You know, we’ve had such help here.

Bobby Knight, nobody in Indiana ever heard of Bobby Knight. How great is Bobby Knight?

(APPLAUSE)

Lou Holtz, Gene Keady, we had such incredible support.

But I’ll never forget, a friend of mine called up and said during the primaries, he said, you know, if you could get Coach Knight. And I said, you know, Coach Knight called me a year ago. This was a year before I decided to run. He said, if you ever run, I’m supporting you.

I said, thanks, Coach, I just don’t know if I’m going to be doing it.

And then, when he said, if you could get Coach Knight — I’ll tell you, I got Coach Knight. How good was Bobby Knight as far as we’re concerned in Indiana? Is that right?

(APPLAUSE)

We got Bobby Knight. Nine hundred wins, two championships, right? Two, or three championships, Olympic gold medal, Pan Am Games. But — and he was unbelievable. He wouldn’t stop. He was just going all over. He was the greatest guy. We came into an arena, Greg, and we had 16,000 people inside, outside. We had I think 10,000 outside. It was…

And I left. This was three weeks before the primary, and I left. I said, how are we going to lose Indiana with this? I didn’t think we were going to lose, and we didn’t. We won big. But so I want to thank all of those folks because it really helped with Indiana, and with a lot of other cases.

So, United Technologies has stepped up. And I have to say this, they did it in such a nice and such a professional way. And they’re going to spend so much money on renovating this plant. And I said, Greg, say that number. You know, he said $16 million. Well, the minimum number is 16. It’s going to be, in my opinion, a lot more than that. He said, well, I’d rather say the lower number. See, I’d rather have him say the higher number, so I won’t say it. OK? It’s just a difference in philosophy. Do you agree? Both are OK, but a difference in philosophy.

But they’re going to spend more than 16. They’re going to spend a lot of money on the plant. And I said to some of the folks, I said, companies are not going to leave the United States any more without consequences. Not going to happen. It’s not going to happen, I’ll tell you right now.

(APPLAUSE)

We’re losing our — we’re losing so much.

So one of the things we’re doing to keep them is we’re going to lowering our business tax from 35 percent, hopefully down to 15 percent, which would take us from the highest-taxed national virtually in the world — this is terrible for business — to one of the lower taxed. Not the lowest yet, but one of the lower taxed.

The other thing we’re doing is regulations. The regulations are — in fact, if I asked Greg and your folks, you would probably say regulations might be worse for you than even the high taxes, which is the biggest surprise of the whole political experience. I thought taxes would be number one. Regulations would be up there some place. Believe me, these great leaders of industry, and even the small business people who are just being crushed, if they have their choice between lower taxes and a major, massive cutting of regulations, they would take the regulations. I don’t know how you feel about that, Greg.

But I just noticed — I wrote down because I heard it — since about six years ago, 260 new federal regulations have passed, 53 of which affect this plant. Fifty-tree new regulations. Massively expensive and probably none of them amount to anything in terms of safety or the things that you’d have regulations for. Six of eight of the air conditioning companies right now are located in Mexico, six of eight. I mean, think of that. And 80 percent of the supply chain for Mexico — 80 percent — is located in Mexico. And we’re not going to have it any more. So, we’re not going to have it any more.

And we like Mexico. We think it’s wonderful. I was there three months ago with the president of Mexico. Terrific guy. But we have to have a fair shake. We’re not getting anything. We have NAFTA, which is a total and complete disaster. It’s a total and complete disaster.

(APPLAUSE)

It’s a one-lane highway into Mexico. Nothing coming our way, everything going their way. And I don’t have to mention who signed it anymore, it’s so nice. I don’t have to mention who backed it anymore, right? We don’t have to mention that anymore, fortunately.

TRUMP: But it’s a one-way street. And it’s going to be changed. It’s going to be changed. We have to bring our jobs back. And when they expand — one of the things that made me so happy is when Greg said that they have over 10,000 jobs that they’re going to be producing in the very near future, and now he’s looking to the United States instead of outside of the United States, where almost all of those jobs would have gone.

So, one of the reasons I wanted to do this particular conference is it’s so great. So many people in the other — that big, big beautiful plant behind us, which will be even more beautiful in about seven months from now. They’re so happy. They’re going to have a great Christmas. That’s most important.

But also, I just want to let all of the other companies know that we’re going to do great things for business. There’s no reason for them to leave anymore because your taxes are going to be at the very, very low end, and your unnecessary regulations are going to be gone.

We need regulations for safety and environment and things. But most of the regulations are nonsense — become a major industry, the writing of regulations. And that these companies aren’t going to be leaving anymore. They’re not going to be taking people’s hearts out. They’re not going to be announcing, like they did at Carrier, that they’re closing up and they’re moving to Mexico — over 1,100 jobs.

And by the way, that number is going to go up very substantially as they expand this area, this plant. So the 1,100 is going to be a minimum number.

So I just want to thank everybody and specifically I just have to thank the people that I met backstage — incredible people — the spirit, the love. People are crying. I mean, they’re all crying. And it’s taken us a little while, but think of this. I don’t think we even announced we were running when this deal was originally announced.

And in the end, what happened is — because that makes it much more difficult. I mean, it’s hard to negotiate when the plant is built. You know what Greg said? Greg said, “But, you know, the plant is almost built, right?” I said, “Greg, I don’t care; it doesn’t make any difference; don’t worry about it.” “What are we going to do with the plant?” “Rent it; sell it; knock it down. I don’t care.”

But we’re going to do — and they’re going to do fine with their plant. I don’t know if they’re going to be able to do with an American company, but we’ll figure that out.

(APPLAUSE)

But where we’re starting is from a much easier place. That’s hard, a year-and-a-half-ago they make an announcement. And, you know, all of that work is done. Which is why I have such respect. I would say great business people, they have flexibility. You know, if you’re hardline, “Well, we’re not going to move.” Flexibility. That’s why they’ve done so well over the years. That’s why it’s a great company because they have flexibility.

But we’re not going to need so much flexibility for other companies because we are going to have a situation where they’re going to know, number one, we’re going to treat them well. And number two, there will be consequences, meaning they will be taxed very heavily at the border if they want to leave, fire all their people, leave, make product in different companies — in different countries, and then think they’re going to sell that product over the border.

Which, by the way, will be a very strong border, a very strong border. Believe me.

(APPLAUSE)

And I think companies — oh, we’re going to build the wall. People are saying: Do you think Trump’s going to build the wall? Trust me, we’re going to build a wall. And by the way, people are going to come through that wall. We’re going to have doors in that wall, but they’re going to come through legally.

And people are going to come through on worker permits to work the fields. We’re going to have people — a lot of people are going to come through. But it’s going to be done through a legal process.

(APPLAUSE)

But one thing that’s not going to come through is drugs — the drugs are going to stop.

(APPLAUSE)

The drugs are going to stop.

So, I just want to thank all of the people at United Technologies, most particularly you, because you are fantastic, Greg. I want to thank, and I want you to tell me how much — how many air conditioning units you sold in the last six months from today, because I want to say I think it’s going to be a number that even will surprise your folks because of the tremendous goodwill that you’ve created.

I want to thank all of the workers at this plant, all of the Carrier workers most importantly.

(APPLAUSE) I want to thank my great, great vice president-elect. Because, I’ll tell you what, one of the really good decisions — but I want to thank Mike. And we’re going to be doing this. And if I have to tell you, you know, doing speeches, I’d say — they say it’s not presidential to call up these massive leaders of business. I think it’s very presidential. And if it’s not presidential, that’s OK. That’s OK. Because I actually like doing it.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: But we’re going to have a lot of great people that can also do it, and do it as well as I do it. But we’re going to have a lot of phone calls made to companies when they say they’re thinking about leaving this country, because they’re not leaving this country. They’re not going to leave this country. And the workers are going to keep their jobs.

And they can leave from state to state, and they can negotiate good deals with the different states, and all of that. But leaving the country is going to be very, very difficult.

So, I want to thank everybody. We love you folks. I want to really, really thank the people of Indiana. We had two massive victories in a very, very short period of time.

And all of the workers have a great, great Christmas and a fantastic New Year. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

END

Politics November 27, 2016: Election 2016 redux Trump calls Clinton a hypocrite for recount support

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

US President-elect Donald Trump leaves after a meeting at the New York Times on November 22, 2016 in New York. US President-elect Trump on Tuesday disavowed the white nationalist "alt-right" movement that has cheered his election, saying he did not want to "energize" them."I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn," Trump was quoted as saying in an interview with The New York Times, when pressed to comment on a conference at which his victory was celebrated with rousing Nazi salutes. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

US President-elect Donald Trump leaves after a meeting at the New York Times on November 22, 2016 in New York.
US President-elect Trump on Tuesday disavowed the white nationalist “alt-right” movement that has cheered his election, saying he did not want to “energize” them.”I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn,” Trump was quoted as saying in an interview with The New York Times, when pressed to comment on a conference at which his victory was celebrated with rousing Nazi salutes.
/ AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

The harsh 2016 campaign is never ending. President-elect Donald Trump has a good reason to call his former opponent and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a hypocrite. On Saturday evening, Nov. 26, 2016, and Sunday morning, Nov. 27, Trump went after Clinton supporting Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s filing for a recount in three battleground states. The president-elect criticized Clinton on Twitter for not wanting to accept the election results when she spent nearly two months attacking him that he would not concede and accept the election results.

On Saturday evening, Trump criticized just the Democratic Party, writing, “The Democrats, when they incorrectly thought they were going to win, asked that the election night tabulation be accepted. Not so anymore! Then Trump went after Clinton specifically, writing, “Hillary Clinton conceded the election when she called me just prior to the victory speech and after the results were in. Nothing will change.”

Clinton heavily criticized Trump for refusing to agree that he would accept the election results in a response to one of the questions during the third presidential debate. Trump repeatedly said the elections were rigged against him, because of the now proved bias against him and for Clinton by both the media and the polls.

On Sunday, Trump reminded Clinton of her response attacking him for his position on election concession. On Twitter, the president-elect posted Clinton’s comments from the campaign,  “That is horrifying. That is not the way our democracy works. Been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them, and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a – during a general election. I, for one, am appalled that somebody that is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind of position.”

In another post, Trump wrote Clinton called his position, “a direct threat to our democracy.” Trump also reposted a quote from Clinton’s concession speech, where she declared, “We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

This was the first time Trump specifically blamed Clinton for the recount effort. On Saturday, Trump disparaged just Stein and the Green Party for their “scam,” before the Clinton campaign announced they supported Stein’s efforts. President-elect said in an official Trump Transition statement, “This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount.”

Continuing, Trump condemned the recount, “This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing.” On Saturday, Trump praised Clinton for her classy concession of the election, “The people have spoken and the election is over, and as Hillary Clinton herself said on election night, in addition to her conceding by congratulating me, ‘We must accept this result and then look to the future.'” Later when Trump found out about the Democratic support, he tweeted, “The Green Party scam to fill up their coffers by asking for impossible recounts is now being joined by the badly defeated & demoralized Dems.”

On Friday afternoon, Nov. 25, just before the 5 p.m. deadline Grenn Party nominee Stein raised $4 million, enough money to file in Wisconsin for a recount of the votes. In Wisconsin, she requested a “reconciliation of paper records.” Stein promised to the same in Michigan and Pennsylvania, three battleground states that Trump turned red but usually voted Democrat. Stein claimed the voting systems in those states were hacked.

Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias announced on Medium that the Clinton campaign would support the recount. Elias said they were doing this because of the “the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard to elect Hillary Clinton” And the “hundreds of messages, emails and calls” from supporters requesting an investigation. Elias admitted, the Clinton campaign “quietly taken a number of steps” to investigate the results. In contradiction, New York Magazine reported this weekend, that cyber security experts convinced the Clinton campaign they had “persuasive evidence” that the votes had “manipulated or hacked.”

Elias continued, “Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.” Still, the Clinton campaign intends to support all the recounts, “If Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well.”

Stein maintains, she was not doing the recount to benefit, Clinton and even criticized her as a hypocrite as well on Twitter, “Why would Hillary Clinton-who conceded the election to Donald Trump-want #Recount2016? You cannot be on-again, off-again about democracy.”

The Obama White House does not believe any hacking occurred and dismissed the recount. A senior administration official told the press, “We stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people. The federal government did not observe any increased level of malicious cyber activity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on election day. We believe our elections were free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.”

The recount needs to be completed by Dec. 13, while the deadlines to apply for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania is this upcoming week. Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump beat her in the Electoral College, she would need all three states to flip back to beat him, and that is not going to happen. The margin of victory was close but in the double digit thousands. In total Trump won 107,000 more votes in those three states than Clinton, winning by a margin of 22,000 in Wisconsin alone, “Trump won 1.404 million votes to Clinton’s 1.382 million.”

Clinton has a lead of 2.2 million votes, “64,637,140 votes nationally, compared to Trump’s 62,408,908, according to a count curated by Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.” Elias touted those numbers in his post, writing, “And most importantly, we have monitored and staffed the post-election canvasses…  During that process, we have seen Secretary Clinton’s vote total grow, so that, today, her national popular vote lead now exceeds more than 2 million votes.”

Clinton is not the first candidate to lose the election but win the popular vote. Again, there are calls to change the system from Electoral votes to a popular vote, and some electors are even trying to defect from voting for Trump. Looking at the electoral map, it hard not to notice that Trump won the most regions and states, and the map is red compared to Clinton’s blue in just some major cities.

Clinton is acting like a hypocrite; she could criticize Trump all she liked when she was positive she would win, Clinton never imagined how it would feel to lose and how much of a sore loser she would be. The American public should not be surprised, Clinton did not want to concede in the 2008 Democratic primary against now President Barack Obama, and even this year, she balked at conceding election night although Obama asked her to, Clintons just hate losing.

Politics November 25, 2016: Trump adds McFarland and McGahn to the Cabinet

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Don McGahn, general counsel for the Trump transition team, gets into an elevator in the lobby at Trump Tower, November 15, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump is in the process of choosing his presidential cabinet as he transitions from a candidate to the president-elect. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 15: Don McGahn, general counsel for the Trump transition team, gets into an elevator in the lobby at Trump Tower, November 15, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump is in the process of choosing his presidential cabinet as he transitions from a candidate to the president-elect. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President-elect Donald Trump is continuing to add to his cabinet. On Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, Trump announced that he is naming Fox News analyst KT McFarland as his deputy national security advisor and his lawyer throughout the campaign and transition Don McGahn as assistant to the president and White House counsel. Trump’s transition team made the announcement as the president-elect is spending the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, without giving the press access.

Trump in his official transition statement announcing the appointments commended McFarland, “I am proud that KT has once again decided to serve our country and join my national security team. She has tremendous experience and innate talent that will complement the fantastic team we are assembling, which is crucial because nothing is more important than keeping our people safe.”

Trump’s choice for national security advisor, former Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn also praised his deputy in a tweet on Friday, writing, “So proud & honored to have KT McFarland as part of our National Security team. She will help us #MAGA.”

Kathleen Troia McFarland ran in the 2006 Republican primary for a Senate seat in New York. McFarland is a Fox News national security analyst. She formerly was “an aide in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan,” and she was an adviser to Henry Kissinger on the National Security Council.

McGahn’s addition to the White House staff is even more significant, as he has been with Trump through the campaign and transition, and will be responsible for Trump handing over his business empire to his children and ensure there is no conflict of interest. McGahn currently is a partner at the Jones Day law firm and previously served as the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, where he “loosened regulations on campaign finance.”

President-elect Trump praised his lawyer profusely in his statement announcing his appointment. Trump expressed, “Don has a brilliant legal mind, excellent character and a deep understanding of constitutional law. He will play a critical role in our administration, and I am grateful that he is willing to serve our country at such a high-level capacity.”

Trump is returning Monday, Nov. 28 to New York and will continue meeting with another eight possible candidates for his cabinet. Trump is still in limbo in deciding whom he will choose for the coveted Secretary of State slot. His transition team is torn between his two major candidates, Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and 2012 GOP nominee and Trump critic Mitt Romney, with Giuliani being his team ‘s favorite because of his loyalty and views on foreign policy.

Full Text Political Transcripts November 24, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump’s Thanksgiving message

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump’s Thanksgiving message

Source: Transition2017, 11-24-16

President-elect Donald J. Trump asks everyone to join together under the shared resolve to Make America Great Again for all people.

Political Transcripts November 21, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump outlines his first 100 days

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump

Source: Transition2017

“The President-elect shares an update on the Presidential Transition, an outline of some of his policy plans for the first 100 days, and his day one executive actions.”

Politics November 21, 2016: Trump takes on Hamilton on Twitter on disrespecting the vice president and why it matters

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 20: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and vice president-elect Mike Pence listen to a question from the press regarding the musical 'Hamilton' before their meeting with investor Wilbur Ross at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Pence was booed when he attended the Broadway musical and a cast member read him a message after the show. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ – NOVEMBER 20: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and vice president-elect Mike Pence listen to a question from the press regarding the musical ‘Hamilton’ before their meeting with investor Wilbur Ross at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Pence was booed when he attended the Broadway musical and a cast member read him a message after the show. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President-elect Donald Trump has done a first in history directly engage in a Twitter exchange and rant that was so common during his presidential campaign. Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning, Nov. 19, 2016, after Vice President-elect Mike Pence went to see the Broadway musical Hamilton at Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City the prior night, and he was met with boos. Hamilton Actor Brandon Victor Dixon, “who plays Vice President Aaron Burr,” acknowledged Pence’s presence at the end of the show. Dixon made a comment, a politically charged statement that Trump considered disrespectful; the president-elect demanded that the cast apologizes to Pence.

Pence attended the show “with his daughter, Charlotte, as well as his nieces and nephew” and he was “seated in the center orchestra section.” The video shows Pence entrance was met with loud boos and some cheers. Dixon said to Pence at the end of the show, “We hope you will hear us out.”  Pence was leaving as Dixon continued his statement, but stayed in the hallway to hear it.

Later Hamilton’s official Twitter account HamiltonMusical published the entire statement, saying, “Tonight, VP-Elect Mike Pence attended #HamiltonBway. After the show, @BrandonVDixon delivered the following statement on behalf of the show. pic.twitter.com/Jsg9Q1pMZs

The following is Dixon’s complete statement:
“I see you walking out but I hope you will hear us. Nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen, there’s nothing to boo here … We’re all sharing a story of love. We welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’ — we really do.We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of all of us. We truly thank you for sharing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds, and orientations.”

Trump saw the disrespect took to Twitter, his favorite platform to converse with his supporters and the public. On Saturday morning, Trump wrote, “The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”  Dixon responded, writing on Twitter, “@realDonaldTrump conversation is not harassment sir. And I appreciate @mike_pence for stopping to listen.”  ‘Hamilton’ creator Lin-Manuel Miranda backed up Dixon and tweeted the President-elect, “Proud of @HamiltonMusical. Proud of @BrandonVDixon, for leading with love.  And proud to remind you that ALL are welcome at the theater.”

Still, Trump found their reaction and words unbecoming to a vice-president, and continued commenting on Twitter, writing early morning, Sunday, Nov. 20, “The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior. Pence appeared later on Sunday morning on Fox News Sunday where he dismissed the events at the musical. Pence told his interviewers, “I really enjoyed watching Hamilton. It was a real joy to be there. I heard a few boos. I wasn’t offended by what was said.”

Although critics have a problem with Trump’s Twitter comments taking on a subject until he is proven right, in this instance he is correct. Even is Pence wants to dismiss this issue, the problem is greater than Trump or Pence, it is about respect for the office of the presidency and vice-presidency. Even if half of Americans are disappointed about the election outcome, afterward they have to respect the offices and the traditions that are 227 years old. Instead, they protest, harass, insult and even threaten on social media engaging in behavior far worse than anything Trump might have espoused on the campaign trail.

Entertainers have a platform, and they are overly political to the point that is insulting to those who do not agree with them, and they dismiss Trump because like them him has a background in the same industry, but used the celebrity to climb and become President. As the first citizen president, Trump’s exchanges on Twitter give the American public the unprecedented access to a president. Instead of constructively using the platform and the president-elect’s ears in a positive way, there is still too much disrespect. The country needs to deal with it whether they like it or not, Trump was elected president according to the Constitution with the support of a majority of the country’s states, they would expect the same if their candidate would have won.

Politics November 18, 2016: Trump causes controversy naming Sessions, Flynn and Pompeo to Cabinet

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 20: President-elect Donald Trump steps outside the clubhouse to greet Jonathan Gray, member of the Board of Directors at Blackstone, before their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ – NOVEMBER 20: President-elect Donald Trump steps outside the clubhouse to greet Jonathan Gray, member of the Board of Directors at Blackstone, before their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President-elect Donald Trump is beginning to fill up his cabinet, adding three more to the two positions he has already filled. On Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, Trump named retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his National Security Adviser according to sources. On Friday, Nov. 18, Trump added to his cabinet by naming Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, and Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA Director. Sessions nomination is causing the most controversy because he had been accused of racist comments against African Americans that led him not to be confirmed for a circuit judgeship in 1986 when the President Ronald Reagan nominated him. Flynn is also causing a stir, for his racist comments against Muslims.

On Friday, Nov. 18, the Trump transition team officially released a statement announcing President-elect Trump decisions on those appointments. That included statements by the president-elect and Sessions, Flynn and Pompeo. Sessions is a member of Senate Judiciary Committee member, Flynn is “a retired United States Army Lieutenant General and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency,” while Pompeo is currently a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Sessions was an early contender for a top cabinet post since he was the first Senator to endorse Trump back in February and since then has been a loyal advisor to Trump during the campaign on immigration and Supreme Court nominations. Sessions is facing criticism for remarks that haunted his 1986 confirmation hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee for the position of U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Alabama. Then Sessions was accused of saying the ACLU and NAACP were “un-American” and he used racially derogatory remarks to African American employees. In 1986, Sessions responded, “I am not a racist. I am not insensitive to blacks. I have supported civil rights activity in my state. I have done my job with integrity, equality, and fairness for all.”

Trump campaign manager defended Sessions against the old allegations. Conway told CNN, “We’re aware of what was said and done 30 some years ago and we’re also aware of the incredible career Jeff Sessions has had throughout his life… I think if anyone had a problem with his record they would have run against him. Senator Sessions would be qualified for any number of positions.” Senate Democrats including new minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are against Sessions being confirmed, but also one Republican, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul opposes his nomination.

Flynn is a registered Democrat, who criticized President Barack Obama’s foreign policy after leaving his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which he held from 2012 to 2014. Flynn also has been a loyal Trump advisor and campaign surrogate, especially on issues regarding national security, and on Trump’s Muslim ban that morphed into a ban on immigrants terrorist countries. His views and comments, however, towards Muslims, are problematic and are being criticized.

In February, Flynn tweeted, that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” Flynn revealed in a New York Post op-ed that “the stand I took on radical Islam,” was the real reason for his departure from DIA. Flynn later wrote a book “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win The Global War Against Radical Islam And Its Allies” which was released earlier this year outlining his views  on the “global war against radical Islam.” Flynn is also a board member on ACT for America considered “the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.” American Muslim groups are outraged at Trump’s appointment of Flynn. The position of National Security Advisor, however, does not require Senate confirmation.

Pompeo is the least controversial of Trump’s three appointments, but he is still facing opposition from Sen. Paul. Rep. Pompeo was a sharp “critic of President Obama’s foreign policy including the Iran deal” and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her term as Secretary of State. Pompeo was not an early Trump supporter as his other early picks; Pompeo first endorsed Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the primary. Pompeo has served three terms in the House and is a member of the House Energy Committee and the Intelligence Committee and a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Pompeo co-wrote a supplement to the report on the way the Obama Administration and Clinton as Secretary of State dealt with the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Previously, Trump named Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus his chief of staff and former Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon his chief strategist and senior counselor, both positions do not require Senate confirmations. Trump has spent all week and weekend meeting with prospective candidates for top White House and Cabinet posts, but he still is at the at the start of filling in these positions, with only two months to spare before Inauguration Day.

Politics November 16, 2016: Senate leadership McConnell re-elected, Democrat Schumer elected, Sanders grabs post

By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) leaves after an election meeting of Senate Democrats to elect new leadership at the Capitol November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Sen. Schumer was elected as the incoming Senate minority leader. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 16: U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) leaves after an election meeting of Senate Democrats to elect new leadership at the Capitol November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Sen. Schumer was elected as the incoming Senate minority leader. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

After the House Republicans had voted on their leadership posts, the Senate had their turn. On Wednesday morning, Nov. 16, 2016, as predicted Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) was re-elected majority leader by acclamation, while New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer was elevated to minority leader, as departing minority leader Sen. Harry Reid’s heir apparent. Vermont Sen. and 2016 Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders also grabbed his first Senate leader post as Chair of Outreach.

The Republicans retained their leaders in their election for the 115th Congress. In a meeting of the GOP conference on Wednesday morning, McConnell was re-elected “by acclimation by his colleagues with a standing ovation,” as his spokesman Don Stewart told the press. Sen. Marco Rubio (R- FL) nominated McConnell, while Sen.-elect Todd Young, (R-IN) second the motion, both were instrumental to the GOP maintaining their majority.

McConnell was expected to remain in his post, and there were no surprises in the GOP leadership votes. McConnell, 74 will be serving his second term as majority leader, previously he was minority leader for four terms, and is “Kentucky’s longest-serving senator;” he was first elected in 1984.

All the action was with the Democrats after they shook up their leadership with the retirement of longtime leader Sen. Reid. Reid already named Schumer, his successor, but Wednesday’s vote made that a reality. After the being elected Schumer expressed, “I am going to wake up every single day focused on how Senate Democrats can effectively fight for America’s middle class and those struggling to join it.” While Schumer told reporters, “We are ready to go toe to toe with Republicans.” Although the minority leader acknowledged, “When you lose an election like this, you can’t flinch. You can’t ignore it. You need to look it right in the eye and ask why, analyze it and learn from it.”

Schumer, 66 has served in the Senate since 1998, and he was in the House representing Brooklyn and Queens for 18 years before that. In 2006, Reid tapped Schumer to be the party’s number three in the Senate as vice chairman of the Democratic Conference, a position her served for ten years. When Reid announced his retirement in 2015, he made it clear he wanted Schumer to succeed him as Senate Democratic leader.

Overshadowing Schumer’s election was the addition of Sanders to the enlarged leadership team. The popular Sanders will be the outreach chairman, a newly created post within the ranks. Senate Democrats were pressured to add the formerly independent Senator to their leadership ranks after his historic run for the Democratic nomination, with a still very loyal supporter base.

After his appointment, Sanders spoke to reporters, telling them he has a “heavy responsibility to help shape the priorities of the United States government. I’m going to do everything that I can to make sure that the budget that leaves the United States Congress is a budget that represents the needs of working families and a shrinking middle class and not billionaires.” Sanders will also retain his post as the senior minority member of the Budget Committee.

Otherwise, in the Democratic ranks, Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Ill) remains minority whip. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will be the new assistant Democratic leader, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) moves up to chair the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, (D-WI) becomes Democratic Conference secretary, the fourth ranking in leadership, and Joe Manchin (D-WV) takes over as vice chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

The Democrats enlarged their team from seven to 10 posts. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) now moved up to newly titled posts of vice chairs of the Senate Democratic Conference. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) position title changed from chairwoman of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee to just chair of the Steering Committee.

Additionally, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA ) becomes the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, while longtime-Judiciary member Patrick Leahy (D-VT)  moves to the Appropriations Committee.

Politics November 15, 2016: President-elect Trump’s potential cabinet picks

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

LAKELAND, FL - OCTOBER 12: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani campaign together during a rally at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport on October 12, 2016 in Lakeland, Florida. Trump continues to campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with less than one month to Election Day. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

LAKELAND, FL – OCTOBER 12: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani campaign together during a rally at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport on October 12, 2016 in Lakeland, Florida. Trump continues to campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with less than one month to Election Day. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Now that Donald Trump has been elected president, he begins his presidential transition from the election until the inauguration. The first task of newly elect president is forming his cabinet and White House team, and staffing all the departments. Trump revised his transition team on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, replacing New Jersey Governor Christie as Chairman with his Vice President Mike Pence. Trump has already appointed two key members to his White House staff.

Trump named on Sunday, Nov. 13, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will serve as White House Chief of Staff and Trump for President CEO and Breitbart editor Stephen K. Bannon will serve as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President.

The Trump team has indicated they might announce Treasury Secretary later this week, and former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani has implied he would not be Attorney General, but he is now at the top of the list for Secretary of State. While campaign surrogate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson says he will not accept a position in a Trump cabinet.

The following is a list of prospective candidates for each post from the New York Times updated on Nov. 14 (candidate descriptions also quoted from the NYT):

Secretary of State

  •  John R. Bolton Former United States ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush
  •  Bob Corker Senator from Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  •  Newt Gingrich Former House speaker
  •  Rudolph W. Giuliani Former New York mayor
  •  Zalmay Khalilzad Former United States ambassador to Afghanistan
  •  Stanley A. McChrystal Former senior military commander in Afghanistan

Treasury Secretary

  • Thomas Barrack Jr. Founder, chairman and executive chairman of Colony Capital; private equity and real estate investor
  • Jeb Hensarling Representative from Texas and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee
  • Steven Mnuchin Former Goldman Sachs executive and Mr. Trump’s campaign finance chairman
  • Tim Pawlenty Former Minnesota governor

Defense Secretary

  • Kelly Ayotte Departing senator from New Hampshire and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee
  • Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn Former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (he would need a waiver from Congress because of a seven-year rule for retired officers)
  • Stephen J. Hadley National security adviser under George W. Bush
  • Jon Kyl Former senator from Arizona
  • Jeff Sessions Senator from Alabama who is a prominent immigration opponent

Attorney General

  • Chris Christie New Jersey governor
  • Rudolph W. Giuliani Former New York mayor
  • Jeff Sessions Senator from Alabama

Interior Secretary

  • Jan Brewer Former Arizona governor
  • Robert E. Grady Gryphon Investors partner
  • Harold G. Hamm Chief executive of Continental Resources, an oil and gas company
  • Forrest Lucas President of Lucas Oil Products, which manufactures automotive lubricants, additives and greases
  • Sarah Palin Former Alaska governor

Agriculture Secretary

  • Sam Brownback Kansas governor
  • Chuck Conner Chief executive officer of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
  • Sid Miller Texas agricultural commissioner
  • Sonny Perdue Former Georgia governor

Commerce Secretary

  • Chris Christie New Jersey governor
  • Dan DiMicco Former chief executive of Nucor Corporation, steel production company
  • Lewis M. Eisenberg Private equity chief for Granite Capital International Group

Labor Secretary

  • Victoria A. Lipnic Equal Employment Opportunity commissioner and work force policy counsel to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce

Health and Human Services Secretary

  • Dr. Ben Carson Former neurosurgeon and 2016 presidential candidate
  • Mike Huckabee Former Arkansas governor and 2016 presidential candidate
  • Bobby Jindal Former Louisiana governor who served as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
  • Rick Scott Florida governor and former chief executive of a large hospital chain

Energy Secretary

  • James L. Connaughton Chief executive of Nautilus Data Technologies and former environmental adviser to President George W. Bush
  • Robert E. Grady Gryphon Investors partner
  • Harold G. Hamm Chief executive of Continental Resources, an oil and gas company

Education Secretary

  • Dr. Ben Carson Former neurosurgeon and 2016 presidential candidate
  • Williamson M. Evers Education expert at the Hoover Institution, a think tank

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

  • Jeff Miller Retired chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee

Homeland Security Secretary

  • Joe Arpaio Departing sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz.
  • David A. Clarke Jr. Milwaukee County sheriff
  • Michael McCaul Representative from Texas and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee
  • Jeff Sessions Senator from Alabama

E.P.A. Administrator

  • Myron Ebell A director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a prominent climate change skeptic
  • Robert E. Grady Gryphon Investors partner who was involved in drafting the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990
  • Jeffrey R. Holmstead Lawyer with Bracewell L.L.P. and former deputy E.P.A. administrator in the George W. Bush administration

U.S. Trade Representative

  • Dan DiMicco Former chief executive of Nucor Corporation, a steel production company, and a critic of Chinese trade practices

U.N. Ambassador

  • Kelly Ayotte Departing senator from New Hampshire and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee
  • Richard Grenell Former spokesman for the United States ambassador to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration

Full Text Political Transcripts November 14, 2016: President Barack Obama’s first press conference since Donald Trump won election

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

President Obama’s first press conference of the Trump era

Source: WaPo, 11-14-16

OBAMA: Hello, everybody. In a couple hours, I’ll be departing on my final foreign trip as president and while we’re abroad I’ll have a chance to take a few of your questions but I figured why wait? I know there’s a lot of domestic issues that people are thinking about so I wanted to see if I could clear out some of the underbrush so that when we’re overseas and people are asking about foreign policy questions, people don’t feel obliged to tack on three other questions to them. Let me – I know you still will, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

That I’m aware, but I’m trying something out here. First of all, let me mention three brief topics. First of all, as I discussed with the president-elect on Thursday, my team stands ready to accelerate in the next steps that are required to ensure a smooth transition and we are going to be staying in touch as we travel. I remember what it was like when I came in eight years ago. It is a big challenge. This office is bigger than any one person and that’s why ensuring a smooth transition is so important. It’s not something that the constitution explicitly requires but it is one of those norms that are vital to a functioning democracy, similar to norms of civility and tolerance and a commitment to reason and facts and analysis.

It’s part of what makes this country work and as long as I’m president, we are going to uphold those norms and cherish and uphold those ideals. As I told my staff, we should be very proud that their work has already ensured that when we turn over the keys, the car’s in pretty good shape. We are indisputably in a stronger position today than we were when I came in eight years ago. Jobs have been growing for 73 straight months, incomes are rising, poverty is falling, the uninsured rate is at the lowest level on record, carbon emissions have come down without impinging on our growth, and so my instructions to my team are that we run through the tape, we make sure that we finish what we started, that we don’t let up in these last couple of months because my goal is on January 21, America’s in the strongest position possible and hopefully there’s an opportunity for the next president to build on that.

Number two, our work has also helped to stabilize the global economy and because there is one president at a time, I’ll spend this week reinforcing America’s support for the approaches that we’ve taken to promote economic growth and global security on a range of issues. I look forward to my first visit in Greece and then in Germany I’ll visit with Chancellor Merkel who’s probably been my closest international partner these past eight years. I’ll also signal our solidarity with our closest allies and express our support for a strong, integrated, and united Europe.

It is essential to our national security and it’s essential to global stability and that’s why the trans-atlantic alliance and the NATO alliance have endured for decades under Democratic and Republican administrations. Finally, in Peru, I’ll meet with leaders of countries that have been the focus of our foreign policy through our rebalance in the Asia-Pacific. This is a time of great change in the world but America’s always been a pillar of strength and a beacon of hope to peoples around the globe and that’s what it must continue to be.

Finally, on a personal note, Michelle and I want to offer our deepest condolences to Gwen Ifill’s family and all of you, her colleagues, on her passing. Gwen was a friend of ours, she was an extraordinary journalist, she always kept faith with the fundamental responsibilities of her profession, asking tough questions, holding people in power accountable, and defending a strong and free press that makes our democracy work. I always appreciated Gwen’s reporting even when I was at the receiving end of one of her tough and thorough interviews.

OBAMA: Whether she reported from a convention floor or from the field, whether she sat at the debate moderator’s table or at the anchor’s desk, she not only informed today’s citizens but she also inspired tomorrow’s journalists. She was an especially powerful role model for young women and girls who admired her integrity, her tenacity and her intellect. And for whom she blazed a trail, as one half of the first all-female anchor team on network news. So Gwen did her country a great service. Michelle and I join her family and her colleagues and everybody else who loved her in remembering her fondly today.

So with that, I’m going to take some questions, and because Josh Earnest has some pull around here, he just happens to put at the top of the list, Colleen Nelson, of the Wall Street Journal, my understanding is, Colleen, that this is wrapping up your stint here and you are going to Kansas City. Josh just happens to be from Kansas City.

(LAUGHTER)

SO I didn’t know if there was any coincidence there, but we wish you the very best of luck in your new endeavor.

QUESTION: As it turns out it’s a really great place (inaudible).

OBAMA: There you go.

QUESTION: You’re about to embark on a foreign trip. What will you say to other world leaders about your successor? They may press opinions(?) assuming you have about Donald Trump. Should they be worried about the future of U.S. foreign policy. And separately, as Democrats scramble to regroup after a pretty shocking upset, what is your advice about where the party goes now and who should lead you party?

OBAMA: One of the great things about the United States is that when it comes to world affairs, the president obviously is the leader of the Executive Branch, the Commander-in-Chief, the spokesperson for the nation, but the influence and the work that we have is the result not just of the president, it is the result of countless interactions and arrangements and relationships between our military and other militaries, and our diplomats and other diplomats, the intelligence officers and development workers. And there is enormous continuity beneath the day-to-day news that makes us that indispensable nation when it comes to maintaining order and promoting prosperity around the world. That will continue. In my conversation with the president-elect he expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships, and so one of the messages I will be able to deliver is his commitment to NATO and the Trans Atlantic Alliance. I think that’s one of the most important functions I can serve at this stage during this trip is to let them know that there is no weakening of resolve when it comes to America’s commitment to maintaining a strong and robust NATO relationship and a recognition that those alliances aren’t just good for Europe. They are good for the United States and they are vital for the world.

With respect to the Democratic Party. As I said in the Rose Garden right after the election, “When your team loses, everybody gets deflated. And it’s hard, and it’s challenging. And I think it’s a healthy thing for the Democratic Party to go through some reflection. I think it’s important for me not to be big-footing that conversation. I think we want to see new voices and new ideas emerge – that’s part of the reason why term limits are a really useful thing.

The Democrats should not waiver on our core beliefs and principles. The belief that we should have an economy that works for everybody, not just a few. The belief that America at its best is inclusive and not exclusive. That we insist on the dignity and God- given potential and work of every child, regardless of race or gender or sexual orientation or what zip code they were born in. That we are committed to a world in which we keep America safe, but we recognize that our power doesn’t just flow from our extraordinary military but also flows from the strength in our ideals and our principles and our values.

So there are gonna be a core set of values that shouldn’t be up for debate. Should be our north star. But how we organize politically, I think is something that we should spend some time thinking about.

I believe that we have better ideas. But I also believe that good ideas don’t matter if people don’t hear them. And one of the issues the Democrats have to be clear on is the given population distribution across the country. We have to compete everywhere. We have to show up everywhere. We have to work at a grassroots level, something that’s been a running thread in my career.

I won Iowa not because the demographics dictated that I would win Iowa. It was because I spent 87 days going to every small town and fair and fish fry and BFW Hall, and there were some counties where I might have lost, but maybe I lost by 20 points instead of 50 points. There’s some counties maybe I won, that people didn’t expect, because people had a chance to see you and listen to you and get a sense of who you stood for and who you were fighting for.

And the challenge for a national party is how do you dig in there and create those kinds of structures so that people have a sense of what it is that you stand for. And that increasingly is difficult to do just through a national press strategy. It’s increasingly difficult to do because of the splintering of the press (ph). And so I think the discussions that have been taking place about, how do you build more grassroots organizing, how do you build state parties and local parties and school board elections you’re paying attention to, state rep races and city council races, that all, I think, will contribute to stronger outcomes in the future. And I’m optimistic that will happen.

For Democrats who are feeling completely discouraged, I’ve been trying to remind them, everybody remembers my Boston speech in 2004. They may not remember me showing up here in 2005 when John Kerry had lost a close election, Tom Daschle, the leader of the Senate, had been beaten in an upset. Ken Salazar and I were the only two Democrats that won nationally. Republicans controlled the Senate and the House, and two years later, Democrats were winning back Congress, and four years later I was President of the United States.

Things change pretty rapidly. But they don’t change inevitably. They change because you work for it. Nobody said Democracy’s supposed to be easy. It’s hard. And in a big country like this, it probably should be hard.

Mark Knoller (ph) —

QUESTION: Thank you, sir.

OBAMA: Good to see you.

QUESTION: Thank you. Good to see you. Mr. President, what can you tell us about the learning curve on becoming president? Can you tell us how long it took you before you were fully at ease in the job, if that ever happened? And did you discuss this matter with the president elect, Trump?

OBAMA: About a week ago, I started feeling pretty good.

(LAUGHTER)

But no. Look, the — I think the learning curve always continues. This is a remarkable job. It is like no other job on earth. And it is a constant flow of information and challenges and issues. That is truer now than it has ever been, partly because of the nature of information and the interconnection between regions of the world. If you were president 50 years ago, the tragedy in Syria might not even penetrate what the American people were thinking about on a day to day basis. Today, they’re seeing vivid images of a child in the aftermath of a bombing.

There was a time when if you had a financial crisis in Southeast Asia somewhere, it had no impact on our markets. Today it does.

So the amount of information, the amount of incoming that any administration has to deal with today and respond to much more rapidly than ever before, that makes it different.

I was watching a documentary that during the Bay of Pigs crisis JFK had about two weeks before anybody reported on it. Imagine that. I think it’s fair to say that if something like that happens under a current president, they’ve got to figure out in about an hour what their response is.

So these are the kinds of points that I shared with the president-elect. It was a free-flowing and I think useful conversation. I hope it was. I tried to be as honest as I could about the things I think any president coming in needs to think about.

And probably the most important point that I made was that how you staff, particularly the chief of staff, the national security adviser, your White House counsel, how you set up a process in the system to surface information and generate options for a president, understanding that ultimately the president is going to be the final decision-maker. That that’s something that has to be attended to right away.

I have been blessed by having, and I admittedly am biased, some of the smartest, hardest-working, and good people in my administration that I think any president has ever had.

And as a consequence of that team, I have been able to make good decisions. And if you don’t have that around you, then you will get swamped. So I hope that he appreciated that advice.

What I also discussed was the fact that I had been encouraged by his statements on election night about the need for unity and his interest in being the president for all people. And that how he staffs, the first steps he takes, the first impressions he makes, the reset that can happen after an election, all those things are important and should be thought about.

And I think it’s important to give him the room and the space to do that. It takes time to put that together. But I emphasized to him that, look, in an election like this that was so hotly contest and so divided, gestures matter.

And how he reaches out to groups that may not have supported him, how he signals his interest in their issues or concerns, I think those are the kinds of things that can set a tone that will help move things forward once he has actually taken office.

QUESTION: How long did it take before you were at ease in the job?

OBAMA: Well, I didn’t really have time to worry about being at ease because, you will recall, we were losing about 800,000 jobs a month. So the good news is that in some ways my experience is atypical. It’s hard to find an analogous situation.

By the time FDR came into office, the Depression had been going on for a couple of years. We were in the midst of a free fall, financial system was locking up, the auto industry was about to go belly up, the housing market had entirely collapsed.

So one of the advantages that I had is that that I was too busy to worry about how acclimated I was feeling in the job. We just had to make a bunch of decisions.

In this situation, we are turning over a country that has challenges, has problems, and obviously there are people out there who are feeling deeply disaffected, otherwise we wouldn’t have had the results that we had in the election.

On the other hand, if you look at the basic indicators of where the country is right now, the unemployment rate is low as it has been in eight-nine years, incomes and wages have both gone up over the last year faster than they have in a decade or two. We’ve got historically low uninsured rates. The financial systems are stable. The stock market is hovering around its all-time high and 401(k)s have been restored. The housing market has recovered.

We have challenges internationally but our most immediate challenge with respect to ISIL, we are seeing significant progress in Iraq. And Mosul is now increasingly being retaken by Iraqi security forces, supported by us.

Our alliances are in strong shape. Our — the progress we’ve made with respect to carbon emissions has been greater than any country on Earth. And gas is 2 bucks a gallon.

So he will have time and space, I think, to make judicious decisions. The incoming administration doesn’t have to put out a huge number of fires. They may want to take the country in a significantly different direction. But they have got time to consider what exactly they want to achieve.

And that’s a testament to the tremendous work that my team has done over the last eight years. I am very proud of them for it.

Athena Jones.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

You said more than once that you did not believe that Donald trump would ever be elected president and that you thought he was unfit for the office.

Now that you’ve spent time with him (INAUDIBLE) for an hour and a half in the Oval Office, do you now think that President-Elect Trump is qualified to be president?

And if I can do a compound question, the other one, as you mentioned, staffing and tone.

What do you say to those Americans who may not doubt that there will be a peaceful transition but that are concerned about some of the policies and sentiments either expressed by President-Elect Trump himself or (INAUDIBLE) that may seem hostile to minorities and others?

Specifically I’m talking about the announcement that Steve Bannon, who is a proponent of the so-called alt-right movement, what many call the white nationalist movement, is going to have a prominent role in the White House under a President Trump as his key strategist and senior adviser.

What message does that send to the country and to the world?

OBAMA: Athena, without copping out, I think it’s fair to say that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on every appointment that the president-elect starts making if I want to be consistent with the notion that we are going to try to facilitate a smooth transition.

But the people have spoken. Donald Trump will be the next president, the 45th President of the United States. And it will be up to him to set up a team that he thinks will serve him well and reflect his policies. And those who didn’t vote for him have to recognize that that’s how democracy works. That’s how this system operates.

When I won — and there were a number of people who didn’t like me and didn’t like what I stood for. And, you know, I think that whenever you have got an incoming president of the other side, particularly in a bitter election like this, it takes a while for people to reconcile themselves with that new reality.

Hopefully, it’s a reminder that elections matter and voting counts. And so, you know, I don’t know how many times we have to relearn this lesson because we ended up having 43 percent of the country not voting who were eligible to vote. But it makes a difference.

OBAMA: So given that President-Elect Trump is now trying to balance what he said in the campaign and the commitments he made to his supporters with working with those who disagreed with him and members of Congress and reaching out to constituencies that didn’t vote for him, I think it’s important for us to let him make his decisions.

And I think the American people will judge, over the course of the next couple of years, whether they like what they see and whether these are the kinds of policies and this is the direction that they want to see the country going. And my role is to make sure that when I hand off this White House that it is in the best possible shape and that I’ve been as helpful as I can to him in going forward and building on the progress that we’ve made.

And my advice, as I said to the president-elect when we had our discussions, was that campaigning is different from governing. I think he recognizes that. I think he’s sincere in wanting to be a successful president and moving this country forward and I don’t think any president ever comes in saying to himself “I want to figure out how to make people angry or alienate half the country.” I think he’s going to try as best he can to make sure that he delivers not only to the people who voted for him but for the people at large and the good thing is that there are going to be elections coming up so there’s a built-in incentive for him to try to do that.

But, you know, it’s only been six days and I think it’ll be important for him to have the room to staff up to figure out what his priorities are, to be able to distinguish between what he was campaigning on and what is practical, what he can actually achieve. You know, there are certain things that make for good sound bites but don’t always translate into good policy. And that’s something that he and his team I think will wrestle with in the same way that every president wrestles with. I did say to him, as I’ve said publicly, that because of the nature of the campaigns and the bitterness and ferocity of the campaigns that it’s really important to try to send some signals of unity and to reach out to minority groups or women or others that were concerned about the tenor of the campaign.

And I think that’s something that he will – he will want to do but this is all happening real fast. He’s got commitments to supporters that helped to get him here and he’s going to have to balance those over the coming weeks and months and years. My hope is that those impulses ultimately win out but it’s a little too early to start making judgments on that.

QUESTION: You’d like qualifications (ph), has that changed after meeting with him?

OBAMA: You know, I think that he successfully mobilized a big chunk of the country to vote for him and he’s going to win. He has won. He’s going to be the next president and regardless of what experience or assumptions he brought to the office, this office has a way of waking you up and those – those aspects of his positions or predispositions that don’t match up with reality, he will find shaken up pretty quick because reality has a way of asserting itself. And some of his gifts that obviously allowed him to execute one of the biggest political upsets in history, those are ones that hopefully he will put to good use on behalf of all the American people.

QUESTION: You’re off to Europe which is facing some of the same populist pressures we’ve seen work in this country. When you spoke at the U.N., you talked about the choices being made (ph) between immigration and building walls. What choice do you think the American people made last week and is there still a chance for what you called a course correction before Europeans make some of their choices?

OBAMA: I think the American people recognize that the world has shrunk. That it’s interconnected. That you’re not going to put that genie back in the bottle. The American people recognize that their careers or their kids’ careers are going to have to be more dynamic. That they might not be working at a single plant for 30 years. That they might have to change careers. They might have to get more education. They might have to retool or retrain. And I think the American people are game for that.

They want to make sure that the rules of the game are fair. And what that means is that if you look at surveys around Americans’ attitudes on trade, the majority of the American people still support trade. But they’re concerned about whether or not trade is fair, and whether we get the same access to other countries’ markets that they have with us. Is there just a race to the bottom when it comes to wages, and so forth.

Now, I made an argument, thus far unsuccessfully, that the trade deal we had organized, TPP, did exactly that. That it strengthened worker’s rights and environmental rights, leveled the playing field, and as a consequence, would be good for American workers and American businesses. But that’s a complex argument to make when people remember plants closing and jobs being offshore. So part of what I think this election reflected was people wanting that course correction that you described, and the message around stopping surges of immigration, not creating new trade deals that may be unfair. I think those were themes that played a prominent role in the campaign.

As we now shift to government, my argument is that we do need to make sure that we have an orderly, lawful immigration process, but that if it is orderly and lawful, immigration is good for our economy. It keeps this country young, it keeps it dynamic, we have entrepreneurs and strivers (ph) who come here and are willing to take risks, and that’s part of the reason why America historically has been successful. It’s part of the reason why our economy is stronger and better positioned than most of our other competitors, is because we’ve got a younger population that’s more dynamic when it comes to trade. I think when you’re governing, it will become increasingly apparent that if you were to just eliminate trade deals with Mexico, for example, well, you’ve got a global supply chain. The parts that are allowing auto plants that were about to shut down to now employ double shifts is because they’re bringing in some of those parts to assemble out of Mexico. And so it’s not as simple as it might have seemed.

OBAMA: And the key for us — when I say us, I mean Americans, but I think particularly for progressives, is to say, your concerns are real, your anxieties are real. Here’s how we fix it. Higher minimum wage. Stronger worker protection so workers have more leverage to get a bigger piece of the pie. Stronger financial regulations, not weaker ones. Yes to trade, but trade that ensures that these other countries that trade with us aren’t engaging in child labor, for example. Being attentive to inequality and not tone deaf to it. But offering prescriptions that are actually going to help folks in communities that feel forgotten. That’s going to be our most important strategy. And I think we can successfully do that.

People will still be looking to the United States. Our example will still carry great weight. And it continues to be my strong belief that the way we are going to make sure that everybody feels a part of this global economy is not by shutting ourselves off from each other, even if we could, but rather by working together more effectively than we have in the past.

Martha Raddatz.

QUESTION: Thanks, Mr. President. (INAUDIBLE) some of the harsh words you had about Mr. Trump, calling him temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief, did anything surprise you about President-Elect Trump when you met with him in your office?

And also I want to know, does anything concern you about a Trump presidency?

OBAMA: Well, we had a very cordial conversation and that didn’t surprise me, to some degree because I think that he is obviously a gregarious person. He’s somebody who I think likes to mix it up and to have a vigorous debate.

And you know, what’s clear is that he was able to tap into, yes, the anxieties but also the enthusiasm of his voters in a way that was impressive. And I said so to him because I think that to the extent that there were a lot of folks who missed the Trump phenomenon, I think that connection that he was able to make with his supporters, that was impervious to events that might have sunk another candidate. That’s powerful stuff.

I also think that he is coming to this office with fewer set hard-and-fast policy prescriptions than a lot of other presidents might be arriving with. I don’t think he is ideological. I think ultimately is, he is pragmatic in that way. And that can serve him well as long as he has got good people around him and he has a clear sense of direction.

Do I have concerns?

Absolutely. Of course I have got concerns. You know, he and I differ on a whole bunch of issues. But you know, the federal government and our democracy is not a speedboat. It’s an oceanliner, as I discovered when I came into office. It took a lot of really hard work for us to make significant policy changes, even in our first two years, when we had larger majorities than Mr. Trump will enjoy when he comes into office.

And you know, one of the things I advised him to do was to make sure that, before he commits to certain courses of action, he has really dug in and thought through how various issues play themselves out.

I will use a obvious example, where we have a difference but it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming year. And that’s the Affordable Care Act. You know, obviously this has been the Holy Grail for Republicans over the last 6-7 years, was we got to kill ObamaCare.

Now that has been taken as an article of faith, that this is terrible, it doesn’t work and we have to undo it.

OBAMA: But now that Republicans are in charge, they got to take a look and say, let’s see. We got 20 million people who have health insurance who didn’t have it before. Health care costs generally have gone up at a significantly slower rate since ObamaCare was passed than they did before, which has saved the federal Treasury hundreds of billions of dollars.

People who have health insurance are benefiting in all sorts of ways that they may not be aware of, everything from no longer having lifetime limits on the claims that they can make to seniors getting prescription drug discounts under Medicare to free mammograms.

Now it’s one thing to characterize this thing as not working when it’s just an abstraction. Now suddenly you are in charge and you are going to repeal it. OK, well, what happens to those 20 million people who have health insurance? Are you going to just kick them off and suddenly they don’t have health insurance?

In what ways are their lives better because of that? Are you going to repeal the provision that ensures that if you do have health insurance on your job and you lose your job or you change jobs or you start a small business that you are not discriminated against because you have got a preexisting condition? That’s really popular.

How are you going to replace it? Are you going to change the policy that kids can stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until they are 26? How are you going to approach all these issues?

Now, my view is that if they can come up with something better that actually works and a year or two after they have replaced the Affordable Care Act with their own plan that 25 million people have health insurance and it’s cheaper and better and running smoothly, I will be the first one to say that’s great. Congratulations.

If, on the other hand, whatever they are proposing results in millions of people losing coverage and results in people who already have health insurance losing protections that were contained in the legislation, then we are going to have a problem.

And I think that’s not going to be unique to me. I think the American people will respond that way. So I think on a lot of issues what you’re going to see is now comes the hard part. Now is governance.

politics

the-fix

Orlando Shooting Updates

News and analysis on the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

post_newsletter348

follow-orlando

true

endOfArticle

false

5-Minute Fix newsletter

Keeping up with politics is easy now.

Please provide a valid email address.
Sign up
You’re all set!
See all newsletters

We are going to be able to present to the incoming administration a country that is stronger. A federal government that is working better and more efficiently. A national security apparatus that is both more effective and truer to our values. Energy policies that are resulting in not just less pollution, but also more jobs.

And I think the president-elect rightly would expect that he is judged on whether we improve from that baseline and on those metrics or things get worse. And if things get worse, then the American people will figure that out pretty quick. And if things get better, then more power to him. And I will be the first to congratulate him.

QUESTION: Mr. President, you had talked specifically about his temperament. Do you still have any concern about his temperament?

OBAMA: As I said, because Athena (ph) asked the question, whatever you bring to this office, this office has a habit of magnifying and pointing out and hopefully then you correct for.

This may seem like a silly example, but I know myself well enough to know I can’t keep track of paper. I am not well-organized in that way. And so pretty quickly after I’m getting stacks of briefing books coming in every night, I say to myself, I have got to figure out a system because I have bad filing, sorting, and organizing habits.

Political Transcripts November 13, 2016: President-Elect Donald Trump 60 Minutes Interview with Leslie Stahl

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-Elect Donald Trump 60 Minutes Interview with Leslie Stahl

 

Politics November 13, 2016: Trump begins cabinet picks names RNC chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) Reince Priebus (R) hugs Republican presidential elect Donald Trump during election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York on November 9, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) Reince Priebus (R) hugs Republican presidential elect Donald Trump during election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York on November 9, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Trump administration is coming together as President-elect Donald Trump announced his first cabinet picks on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 13, 2016. As speculated Trump named Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will serve as White House Chief of Staff and Trump for President CEO Stephen K. Bannon will serve as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President. The Congressional Republicans are lauding Trump’s choice of appointing Priebus.

President-elect Trump issued a statement on his transition website announcing the appointmentsTrump expressed, “I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country. Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory. Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again.”

Bannon also commented in the statement, saying, “I want to thank President-elect Trump for the opportunity to work with Reince in driving the agenda of the Trump Administration. We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda.”

While Priebus also expressed gratitude for his appointment saying, “It is truly an honor to join President-elect Trump in the White House as his Chief of Staff. I am very grateful to the President-elect for this opportunity to serve him and this nation as we work to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism. He will be a great President for all Americans.”

The statement explained that Bannon and Priebus are working as equal partners, “Bannon and Priebus will continue the effective leadership team they formed during the campaign, working as equal partners to transform the federal government, making it much more efficient, effective and productive.” They made the arrangement, as they would be working with different “constituencies” in running the White House.

Bannon is a former Navy officer and was Goldman Sachs investment banker, but recently headed conservative publication Breitbart News. He joined the Trump campaign in August and many in the feared that put Trump more to the right alienating himself from mainstream Republican and independent voters. Instead, Bannon helped keep Trump on message and disciplined on the campaign trail. Still, the party establishment did not want Bannon in the role of chief of staff, viewing him as still too controversial.

Both Priebus and Bannon were in the running for the position of chief of staff. Priebus stood by Trump throughout the campaign even through Trump’s scandals and the 2005 lewd tape revelation that caused many Republicans to bolt, distance themselves and rescind their endorsements. By the end, Priebus was on the campaign trail for the then-Republican nominee. During the campaign, Priebus served as a liaison to Trump and the establishment in the party. Priebus is one of the longest running Republican Party Chairman and is popular with all factions of the party.

Priebus was the choice of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the role, and they let Trump know it when they met with on Thursday, Nov. 10. Ryan’s spokesman Doug Andres commented after the announcement, indicating “The speaker is very happy for his friend and ready to get to work.” Priebus negotiated Ryan’s original endorsement of the Trump; he has a longtime relationship with Ryan from his time as Chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Trump is known for rewarding loyalty, and both Priebus and Bannon have been loyal and instrumental to his election. The role of chief of staff sets the tone of the White House and administration and Trump by choosing Priebus shows that will be inclusive to all Republicans and that Trump’s presidency might far more moderate than his campaign rhetoric.

Politics November 13, 2016: Pence takes over from Christie as head of Trump transition team amid in-fighting

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

Pence takes over from Christie as head of Trump transition team amid in-fighting

 

By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 10: President Elect Donald Trump, center right, walks through the halls of the U.S. Capitol for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center left, (R-KY) on November, 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Accompanying him are his wife, Melania, right, and Vice President Elect Mike Pence, left. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 10:
President Elect Donald Trump, center right, walks through the halls of the U.S. Capitol for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center left, (R-KY) on November, 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Accompanying him are his wife, Melania, right, and Vice President Elect Mike Pence, left.
(Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

From the moment, Donald Trump was elected president on early Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, all attention turned to presidential transition. On Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, President-Elect Trump tapped his running-mate Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence to run his transition team. Although the focus is now on transition since May, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie led the transition plans, but with reports of conflict between Trump’s team, the president-elect looked to someone who unifies the most important first task of the new administration. The transition team selects a cabinet and fills key positions in the White House while setting policy priorities to get the ball rolling after inauguration day.

Trump first met with his transition team on Wednesday, Nov. 9, but after just two days and a trip to Washington meeting with President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Trump decided to change course. The president-elect replaced Christie with Pence while reducing Christie to one of the Vice Chairmen on the transition team.

Other vice chairmen on the transition team include close Trump campaign aides and surrogates, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Dr. Ben Carson and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. After the announcement, Christie issued a statement, “I am proud to have run the pre-election phase of the transition team along with a thoroughly professional and dedicated team of people.”

The decision to place Pence in that position shows that the president-elect plans to give his Vice President more influence and importance, harkening back to the influence of former President George W. Bush’s VP Dick Cheney had in the White House. Pence has experience on Capitol Hill, and is respected by both parties and has connections with leadership on either side of the aisle. Trump is already tapping into that influence with Pence joining him in meetings with GOP Congressional leadership on Thursday, and calling the Democratic leadership.

Trump issued a statement on Friday announcing his entire transition team. Trump said, “Together this outstanding group of advisors, led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, will build on the initial work done under the leadership of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to help prepare a transformative government ready to lead from day one.”  Continuing the President-elect explained, “The mission of our team will be clear: put together the most highly qualified group of successful leaders who will be able to implement our change agenda in Washington. Together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding this nation — specifically jobs, security and opportunity.”

The transition team will include a 16-member executive committee that includes Trump’s children, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. The following is the complete list of Trump’s revised transition team:

Pennsylvania Congressman Lou Barletta
Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
New York Congressman Chris Collins
Jared Kushner
Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino
Rebekah Mercer
Steven Mnuchin
Congressman Devin Nunes
Anthony Scaramucci
Peter Thiel
Donald Trump Jr.
Eric Trump
Ivanka Trump
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
Trump Campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon

Trump also announced the Presidential Transition Team’s Staff Leadership lineup:

Former Campaign Manager  Kellyanne Conway, Senior Advisor
Former deputy campaign manager David Bossie, Deputy Executive Director
Stephen Miller, National Policy Director
Jason Miller, Communications Director
Hope Hicks, National Press Secretary
Dan Scavino, Director of Social Media
Don McGahn, General Counsel
Republican National Committee chief-of-staff  Katie Walsh, Senior Advisor

Trump has been busy meeting with his transition staff and prospective cabinet members at his Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. On Friday alone according to Politico, Trump met with “former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Kushner, Anthony Scaramucci, Rudy Giuliani, digital director Brad Parscale, senior communications adviser Jason Miller, senior adviser Stephen Miller and campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks.”

Politico is also reporting that internal conflicts in the Trump camp led to Christie’s ouster, conflicts between Christie’s aides, Trump loyalists, and GOP establishment. Particularly Corey Lewandowski and RNC chairman Reince Priebus, which has been going on since the campaign, although Lewandowski denies there are any conflicts. Even after Lewandowski was fired as campaign manager, he continued advising Trump throughout the campaign. Now, Lewandowski is in the running for RNC Chair in Priebus gets tapped in the White House, a sure sign pointing to an elevated post, he resigned as a contributor to CNN on Friday.

There is also conflicts between Trump New York advisors and his Washington transition team players because very little attention was being paid towards the transition until after the election. There is a third faction on the team with allegiances to Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions. Sessions is responsible for “congressional outreach and immigration policy.”

Conservatives on the team viewed Christie and his aides “as big-business-backing centrists who were insufficiently conservative on cultural issues.” Christie was also looking to reward Republicans who refused to support Trump during the campaign rather than punish them. Kushner had problems with Christie and his top deputy, Rich Bagger.

Kushner was key in replacing Christie had prejudices against the New Jersey governor, who was the district attorney that convicted his father ten- years ago. Kushner has been a close advisor to his father-in-law and came with him to the White House Thursday, where he spoke with Obama Chief-of-Staff Denis McDonough.

The compromise solution was elevating conservative Pence and his aides, as Bush did with Cheney in 2000. Still, one operative told Politico, “This is like the Oklahoma landgrab. It’s gonna get vicious the next 70 days as people try to place their people where they want them. And Christie’s people ain’t the same as [Trump campaign CEO Steve] Bannon’s people ain’t the same as Sessions’ people.”

Politics November 11, 2016: President-Elect Trump goes to Washington meets with Obama, Ryan, and McConnell

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

President-Elect Trump goes to Washington meets with Obama, Ryan, and McConnell

 

By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 10: President-elect Donald Trump (L) talks after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama (R) in the Oval Office November 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Trump is scheduled to meet with members of the Republican leadership in Congress later today on Capitol Hill. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 10: President-elect Donald Trump (L) talks after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama (R) in the Oval Office November 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Trump is scheduled to meet with members of the Republican leadership in Congress later today on Capitol Hill. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 10: President Elect Donald Trump, center right, walks through the halls of the U.S. Capitol for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center left, (R-KY) on November, 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Accompanying him are his wife, Melania, right, and Vice President Elect Mike Pence, left. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 10:
President Elect Donald Trump, center right, walks through the halls of the U.S. Capitol for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center left, (R-KY) on November, 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Accompanying him are his wife, Melania, right, and Vice President Elect Mike Pence, left.
(Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President-Elect Donald Trump is moving forward having his first official Washington meeting as the nation’s new Commander-in-Chief after an upset victory on Election Day. On Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, Trump went to Washington meeting first with outgoing President Barack Obama in the Oval Office for the traditional transition of power meeting. Then Trump went to Capitol Hill meeting with Republican Congressional leader, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump’s Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence also was busy in Washington meeting with outgoing Vice President Joe Biden and joining Trump at his Congressional meetings. The new First Lady Melania Trump also was busy meeting with outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama to tour the White House residence and join her husband on Capitol Hill for his meetings.

Trump first arrived Thursday morning with some advisors for White House meeting. Trump met with Obama in the Oval Office for 90 minutes much longer than the planned 15-minute meeting. Afterward, the president and the president-elect spoke to reporters. Although they were adversaries just days before, the country’s interests rise above partisan division when it comes to the transfer of presidential powers.

Obama told reporters, “My No. 1 priority in the next two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our President-elect is successful.” Continuing the president said to his successor, “If you succeed, the country succeeds.” Trump, in turn, thanked Obama for the long-running meeting, saying, “The meeting lasted almost for an hour and a half and as far as I’m concerned, it could have gone on for a lot longer.” The president-elect called Obama a “very good man” and expressed, “I very much look forward to dealing with the president in the future, including counsel. I look forward to being with you many, many more times.”

The White House meeting was surprisingly pleasant to consider the past animosity between Obama and Trump dating back to 2011 when Trump joined the birther movement. Then Trump called for Obama to release his long-form birth certificate not believing Obama was a natural-born citizen. Obama paid Trump back at the 2011White House Correspondents dinner. The rhetoric became more heated during the campaign as Trump blamed Obama for the rise of the terrorist group ISIS, while, Obama just called Trump “unfit for the presidency” on the last day of the campaign.

While Trump met with Obama in the Oval Office, the two first ladies, future and present Melania Trump and Michelle Obama met in the White House residence. Mrs. Obama gave Mrs. Trump a tour of the residence and they had tea together Yellow Oval Room. They discussed raising children in the White House; the Trump’s have son Barron, ten who will be the only one of Trump’s children to be living in the White House. The Obamas’ daughters Malia and Sasha were 10 and 7 when they moved into the White House in 2009. Michelle also showed Melania the Truman balcony.

The two have they own problems. Although Melania has never criticized Michelle, some of her convention speech closely resembled Michelle’s 2008 speech. Mrs. Obama, however, heavily attacked Trump on the campaign trail especially after the surfacing of his 2005 lewd tape in October. All the issues seem to be put behind the Trumps and Obamas at their transition meetings. Later in the evening, Trump tweeted, “A fantastic day in D.C. Met with President Obama for first time. Really good meeting, great chemistry. Melania liked Mrs. O a lot!”

After the White House, the Trumps’ along with Vice President-Elect Mike Pence had lunch at the Capitol Hill Club. They then headed off to meet with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Ryan gave Trump a tour of the Capitol building and then met in the Speaker’s office. Ryan took Trump out to his office balcony, which has views of the inauguration spot Trump and Pence will sworn-in, the Washington Monument even Trump’s new Washington hotel. At the meeting, they discussed policy priorities for the new administration and new session of Congress.

Ryan then spoke with reporters with the Trumps and Pence. The speaker expressed, “Donald Trump had one of the most impressive victories we have ever seen and we’re going to turn that victory into progress for the American people, and we are now talking about how we are going to hit the ground running to get this country turned around and make America great again.” While Trump said, “We can’t get started fast enough. And whether its health care or immigration, so many different things, we will be working on them very rapidly.”

Trump and Ryan also shared a complicated relationship throughout the campaign, but now the Speaker has embraced the president-elect fully. Only during the last days of the campaign after the FBI first announced that they were renewing their investigation into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and Trump rose in the polls, and Trump supporters in Congress starting threatening Ryan about possibly losing his speakership if Trump loses, did Ryan campaign for the Republican nominee. After Trump won along with the Republicans keeping both Houses of Congress, Ryan has been speaking enthusiastically about the president-elect. Ryan hopes to spearhead the administration’s policies through Congress.

President-Elect Trump capped his day in Washington by meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Trumps and Pence met with the Senate leader in his Capitol office. Pence had to leave after 20-minutes to make his meeting with his predecessor Vice President Joe Biden.  After the meeting, McConnell told reporters, “It was a first-class meeting.” McConnell stressed that they discussed “issues that we obviously agree on” and told the press the President-Elect wants “get going early, and so do we.”

After the meeting, Trump told the press, “A lot of really great priorities. People will be very, very happy. Well, we have a lot. We’re looking very strongly at immigration, we’re going to look at the borders, very importantly, we’re looking very strongly at health care and we’re looking at jobs. Big league jobs.” President-Elect Trump continued, explaining, “Quite frankly we can’t get started fast enough… whether it’s on healthcare or immigration so many different things. We’re going to lower taxes, so many different things we are going to be working on.”