Amid signs of transition trouble, Trump huddles with Pence in NY
Hidden from the public in his Manhattan high-rise, Donald Trump huddled Tuesday with Vice President-elect Mike Pence as he tried to fill out key posts in his Cabinet. But the transition team appeared to be straining under the enormous challenge of setting up a new administration.
Former Rep. Mike Rogers, a respected Republican voice on national security issues, announced he was quitting the transition effort. An apparent clerical oversight effectively halted the Trump team’s ability to coordinate with President Barack Obama’s White House.
Trump himself broke with protocol Tuesday night by leaving Trump Tower without his press contingent. The transition team had told reporters and photographers there would be no movement by the president-elect for the rest of the day and night, but less than two hours later a presidential-style motorcade rolled out of the building, suggesting that Trump was on the move and leaving reporters scrambling.
Trump turned up at Club 21, a midtown Manhattan restaurant where he was having dinner with his family. Reporters were not allowed inside, and Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks asked that they respect that he was having an evening out with his family.
With no public statements from Trump on the transition itself, his allies engaged in an unusual round of public speculation about his potential appointments – including their own futures – as the president-elect and his aides weighed the nation’s top national security posts.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani seemed to be angling for secretary of state. But Trump’s transition team was reviewing Giuliani’s paid consulting work for foreign governments, which could delay a nomination or bump Giuliani to a different position, according to a person briefed on the matter but not authorized to speak publicly about it. A Trump official said John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, remained in contention for secretary of state.
Businessman Carl Icahn disclosed on Twitter, based on conversations with the president-elect, that Trump was considering Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker, and Wilbur Ross, a billionaire investor, to lead the Treasury and Commerce departments.
Pence, now running the transition team, ignored questions from reporters both as he entered Trump Tower, a thick binder tucked under his arm, and as he left six hours later.