After a day of meetings plotting the course following Donald Trump’s stunning White House win, Sen. Jeff Sessions, a top adviser, said Wednesday that Trump’s team had reached "the end of the beginning" on the president-elect’s transition plan.
"A lot of work has been done so it’s the beginning, and ... a really a solid beginning. The first phase of the beginning, maybe it’s the end of the beginning," a weary but upbeat Sessions told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower on the way to Trump Bar. "And now you move forward to a more specific agenda."
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has been discussed as attorney general; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been mentioned as possible secretary of state, and retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn has been raised as a possible defense secretary or national security adviser, Trump campaign advisers have previously told NBC News.
Flynn, however, demurred when asked by NBC News in the lobby of Trump Tower about the speculation he could be considered for a cabinet position.
"I see myself helping Donald Trump and the government and our country succeed. That’s where I see myself," he said, and when asked if he had a position in mind, he replied: "Nope."
Flynn did say Trump’s aides already "have names in mind and we’re reaching out to people" to fill out his administration, and there are "thousands of people that are signing up" to be a part of their effort.
"That’s the easy part," he said of finding a diverse staff. "The hard part is, you know, moving this machine forward. That’s gonna be the hard part." Flynn added: "But I'm not stressed out over it at all."
One such cabinet prospect may be former U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia, who has served as a frequent surrogate and top adviser for Trump, told NBC News he is open to taking a cabinet position in the Trump administration and has reached out to Trump’s team. "I have let them know I’m here to help whatever they need from here on out," he said.
Sessions said he wouldn’t "get into any of the details" of the transition planning process, offering only that "the team, I think, has done what transitions traditionally do at this point."
But by appearances, at least, it was all hands on deck during the marathon day of Trump Tower meetings on Wednesday.
Over the course of the early evening, a slow parade of Trump family and aides rode down the bronze-plated elevators and departed through the lobby of Trump Tower, near-universally looking sleepy but upbeat, and near-universally refusing to disclose any details of the transition planning to the press.
A cheery New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chairman of the transition team, departed early, with Trump daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner — who shared a brief kiss before parting ways — following shortly after.
Donald Trump Jr. left the building with Trump organization attorney Michael Cohen, while advisers Jason Miller, Stephen Miller and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway departed on their own.
Finance Chairman Steven Mnuchin left chatting animatedly with Eli Miller, the Trump campaign’s COO, in the early evening.
The trickle of advisers out of Trump Tower was mirrored by a steady trickle of increasingly elaborate flower arrangements into the building, all hauled onto elevators to be delivered as an offering of goodwill — or perhaps congratulations — to an unidentified inhabitant.
But despite the obvious activity going on upstairs, the marbled lobby of Trump Tower was remarkably tranquil, with one new and jarring addition: Secret Service officers posted up at the entryway, X-raying the packages and purses of the building’s visitors.
It was part of the ramped-up security from the Secret Service and the New York City Police Department to meet the levels of protection required for the president-elect.
Even with — or perhaps because of — the increased police presence, outside Trump Tower, chaos reigned as hundreds of gawkers came to grab a glimpse, and sometimes pay homage, to the home of President-elect Trump.
Foot traffic was heavily regulated by a small army of cops around concrete and metal barricades surrounding Trump Tower, which dissuaded most of the public from trying to enter but consolidated the crowds into one narrow passageway across the street. Throngs of tourists ambled through, some stretching for selfies in front of a mash of U.S. and foreign correspondents doing live-shots, while others gaped at a small but visible demonstration in support of Trump at the opposite end of the street
Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in an upset that defied some polls. Clinton conceded in a phone call to Trump early Wednesday and later said in a speech that "we owe him an open mind and a chance to lead."
President Barack Obama Wednesday that while he has differences with Trump he would work with Trump’s team on a smooth transition of power, and has invited Trump to the White House to discuss it.
"We all want what’s best for this country," Obama said.