The Latest: VP-elect Mike Pence gets a message at ‘Hamilton’
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump’s transition activities (all times EST):
Vice President-elect Mike Pence is the latest high-profile person to attend the Broadway hit show “Hamilton” — but the first to get a sharp message from a cast member from the stage.
Actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, the nation’s third vice president, had this message Friday from the stage for his political descendant after the curtain call:
“We, sir, 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,” he said. “We truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of all of us.”
Pence’s appearance at the show drew both cheers and boos.
Pence ducked out before Dixon finished the unprecedented message. But a show spokesman said Pence stood in the hallway outside the entrance to the auditorium and heard the full remarks.
NATO says its secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg (yehnz STOHL’-tehn-burg) spoke with President-elect Donald Trump for the first time to congratulate the businessman on his election victory.
The military alliance says both leaders agreed during a telephone call on Friday that progress has been made on making sure member countries are sharing the defense burden, but that there is more to do.
NATO became a debated part of the presidential election after Trump suggested that the U.S. might abandon its NATO treaty commitments and pull out of the alliance if other countries don’t contribute more.
The alliance statement says Stoltenberg looks forward to welcoming Trump to Brussels for next year’s NATO summit.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says last week’s election could be called “the revenge of flyover country.”
In his speech at the conservative Federalist Society Friday, the Republican senator said the “utter astonishment” of Democrats is a result of not listening to the American people. He said voices were crying, “leave us alone.”
Cruz lost the GOP primary to President-elect Donald Trump, and didn’t endorse him until late in the race. Without mentioning Trump by name, Cruz said Republicans should move forward by being honest and trustworthy and remembering they serve a cause greater than themselves.
When asked if he might be a candidate for the Supreme Court’s open seat, Cruz said “history is long and can take unexpected paths,” but he looks forward to continuing his time in the Senate.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says Donald Trump won election as president by running against both political parties.
Haley is telling conservative lawyers who are meeting in Washington Friday that Trump’s victory offers Republicans a chance to regain the public’s trust, but only if the party restrains spending and returns power to the states.
Haley says voters rejected “the political class of all stripes, Republicans included.”
She says now Republican control of the White House and Congress offers the party a rare opportunity, and that it’s important that Trump and Republican leaders in Congress take action quickly and “we don’t stop.”
Haley acknowledges that she was not Trump’s “biggest cheerleader.” But she said she voted for him and was thrilled that he won.
Among the people meeting with the president-elect this weekend: the man who marshalled more outside money than anyone else to help Donald Trump win the White House.
Todd Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, helped raise at least $66 million for outside groups called Future 45 and the 45 Committee — a nod the incoming 45th president. Ricketts is emblematic of what a topsy-turvy election it has been. Before helping Trump, Ricketts was part of a super PAC that spent more than any other trying to stop him from winning the Republican nomination.
Ricketts lives in Chicago and is a small business owner and board member of TD Ameritrade, which his billionaire father founded. Trump’s team is turning its attention to economic positions in the administration, including the Department of Commerce.
Donald Trump is stoking speculation about his future cabinet picks as he continues holding meetings behind closed doors.
Trump aides say the president-elect will be meeting Saturday with retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis. Mattis is a potential contender to serve as Trump’s defense secretary.
Trump is also meeting with Michelle Rhee and Betsy DeVos, two well-known education activists.
Trump aides have cautioned that not everyone meeting with the president-elect is under consideration for an administration position. They say Trump is meeting with experts to hear their thoughts and advice.
Also expected to sit down with Trump on Saturday are 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts, anti-poverty advocate Bob Woodson, and restaurant executive Andy Puzder.
A Democratic House member says attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions is the right pick “if you have nostalgia for the days when blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen.”
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., says no senator has fought harder “against the hopes and aspirations” of Latinos, immigrants and people of color.
Gutiérrez is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. While the Senate, not the House, will decide if Sessions should be confirmed, the comments by Gutiérrez suggest the process will likely be contentious.
Sen. Sessions, R-Ala., is one of the more conservative members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has said the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division should not be used as a “sword” to promote political agendas. The Senate denied him a federal judgeship in 1986 after he was accused of making racially charged remarks while U.S. attorney in Alabama.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley says he is confident his panel would approve the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
Sessions would still face a vote by the full Senate, but a committee endorsement would be a critical first step.
Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, says Sessions is a respected colleague who “has worked across the aisle on major legislation.”
Grassley added that as a former U.S. attorney, Sessions has the right background.
Mike Pompeo, a conservative Republican congressman from Kansas, says he accepts President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate him to lead the CIA.
In a statement on Friday, he said that while he has loved representing Kansans in Congress, the opportunity to lead a top U.S. intelligence agency is a call to service he can’t ignore.
Pompeo still must be confirmed by the Senate.
The 52-year-old was elected to Congress during the tea party wave of 2010.
Pompeo has been a harsh critic of the Obama administration. He denounced the Iran deal, which granted Tehran sanctions relief for rolling back its nuclear weapons program, and was a member of the congressional committee that blasted Hillary Clinton over the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya.
President-elect Donald Trump has picked Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY’-oh) — a Kansas congressman — to be CIA director.
That’s according to a Trump transition official.
Pompeo is a conservative Republican and a fierce critic of President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
Trump is beginning to fill out his governing team, and the transition official says Trump will make the Pompeo announcement on Friday morning, along with his nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general and his selection of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to be national security adviser.
The official wasn’t authorized to disclose the decisions ahead of Trump’s announcement and insisted on anonymity.
—By Julie Pace
President-elect Donald Trump is offering the post of attorney general to Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, one of the Trump’s closest and most consistent allies.
That’s according to a senior Trump official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the conversation.
The official on Friday wouldn’t say whether Sessions had accepted the job, which left open the possibility that the arrangement was not finalized.
Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump and was a close adviser throughout the campaign.
Trump released a statement Thursday after a meeting with the senator saying he was “unbelievably impressed” with Sessions.
The Alabama Republican previously struggled with a Senate confirmation hearing when he was nominated for a federal judgeship in 1986. He was dogged by racist comments he was accused of making while serving as U.S. attorney in Alabama.
He later withdrew from consideration for the post.
—By Jonathan Lemire.
A Republican Party spokesman says President-elect Donald Trump is searching among “the best and brightest in the country” to set up his administration.
RNC communications director Sean Spicer tells Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” the billionaire businessman isn’t “looking at someone’s political affiliation, whether they supported him or not.”
He was asked the question in the context of Trump’s scheduled meeting this weekend with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who earlier this year was a harsh critic of the real estate mogul.
Spicer wouldn’t comment on whether Trump was set to offer Romney a position in the administration now being formed.
But when asked what the pair was expected to discuss, the Republican strategist said only that “they’re going to have a conversation.”
Spicer called Trump the “new sheriff in town” and said he’s determined to bring qualified people into his administration.
President-elect Donald Trump is offering former military intelligence chief Michael Flynn the position of national security adviser, elevating a fierce critic of current U.S. foreign policy into a crucial White House role.
Flynn’s selection amounts to Trump’s first signal to allies and adversaries about the course he could take in office. It’s unclear whether Flynn, a retired Army general, has accepted the job, though a senior transition official confirmed Thursday that the president-elect has made the offer. The official was not authorized to discuss the offer publicly and insisted on anonymity.
Flynn was a fierce critic of President Barack Obama’s military and foreign policy long before he began advising Trump on national security issues during the presidential campaign. While the position of national security adviser doesn’t require Senate confirmation, Flynn would work in the West Wing and have frequent access to the president.