With the world watching closely for signs of how rigidly Donald Trump will pursue his campaign promises, the US president-elect said on Friday he will retain some portions of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform he had vowed to repeal as a priority.
In his first interviews after being elected, Trump also seemed reluctant to prosecute his former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server. He had threatened to appoint a special prosecutor to pursue the case during one of the presidential debates.
He told The Wall Street Journal he changed his mind on Obamacare after his meeting with the president, who had urged him to take a look at two provisions of the law. “Out of respect, I will do that,” he said.
When asked about prosecuting Clinton, Trump told the Journal, “It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought, because I want to solve health care, jobs, border control, tax reform.” To CBS, he said Clinton was very nice when she called to congratulate him.
“It’s different now,” he said, indicating a change in his approach.
As protests against his election continued for the third night running, Trump focussed on putting together his administration, most of which should be in place when his presidency is inaugurated on January 20.
He announced a revamped transition team, with vice president-elect Mike Pence taking charge of it from New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and which has three of this adult children — Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump.
This team faces the herculean task of finding people to fill 4,000 federal government positions that come and go with presidents over the next weeks — this process continues till long after the inauguration, and some positions will remain vacant for a while.
About 1,000 of them require Senate confirmation — all secretaries of the cabinet, deputy secretaries, undersecretaries and assistant secretaries — and some of them will be ready for confirmation soon after the inauguration.
Speculation is on about Trump’s possible picks for the top cabinet positions of secretary of state, defense secretary, attorney general and treasury secretary, with new names being added to a lengthening list every day.
Senator Bob Corker, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, former US ambassador to UN John Bolton and former US ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad lead the race for the position of the nation’s top diplomat, the secretary of state.
Retired general Michael Flynn, senator Jeff Sessions and former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley are running for the defence portfolio, and Trump’s friends Tom Barrack and Steven Mnuchin lead the race for treasury.
Former mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey governor Chris Christie are being spoken of as Trump’s attorney general and former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal was in the race for health, which could, however, go to Ben Carson.