TRANSITION WATCH: Perdue is Trump’s Ag pick
Trump has picked former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to lead the Department of Agriculture.
The Washington Post: “Three of Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks came under growing fire Wednesday on ethical issues, potentially jeopardizing their nominations. The most serious concerns surround personal investments by Trump’s health and human services nominee, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), in health-care firms that benefited from legislation that he was pushing at the time. Additionally, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Trump’s choice to head the Office of Management and Budget, has acknowledged during his confirmation process that he failed to pay more than $15,000 in state and federal employment taxes for a household employee. And Commerce Department nominee Wilbur Ross revealed that one of the “dozen or so” housekeepers he has hired since 2009 was undocumented, which he said he discovered only recently. The employee was fired as a result, he added.”
NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell offers five takeaways from this week’s confirmation hearings so far.
The New York Times, on Tom Price’s hearing: “Representative Tom Price, the man President-elect Donald J. Trump has chosen to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, promised on Wednesday to make sure people do not “fall through the cracks” if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, and set a goal to increase the number of people with health insurance. But at a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Mr. Price provided only vague reassurance to members of both parties who pressed him for specific policies.”
Rex Tillerson’s nomination is still up in the air, POLITICO writes.
And here’s the New York Times on Rick Perry: “When President-elect Donald J. Trump offered Rick Perry the job of energy secretary five weeks ago, Mr. Perry gladly accepted, believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state. In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal.”
From the Washington Post: “Trump is trying to put the bully back into the bully pulpit, modeling his governing style after Theodore Roosevelt, the president whose attacks on industry barons inspired the term.”
From POLITICO: “By the time he is sworn in tomorrow, Donald Trump will have undergone a haunting rite of passage: the classified briefing given to every incoming president that explains how he can order a nuclear attack. While neither U.S. nor Trump officials would confirm the exact time or location of Trump’s briefing, several past presidents have been briefed on the nuclear codes at the historic Blair House, on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House, hours before their inauguration.”
In his final press conference, Barack Obama said: “At my core, I think we're going to be OK.”
Trump resistance update, per a release: "Today, on the eve of the least popular and most divisive President-elects in modern history, Purpose launched launched a new web tool that will help ordinary Americans stay engaged in the resistance to Trump. The new site -- http://This.IsNotNormal.com -- will allow people to record the reasons they are concerned about a Trump presidency in a letter to themselves, which will be automatically sent back to them in one year to remind them of their fears and encourage them to remain active in resisting Trump if those concerns were realized."
TRUMP AGENDA: The “unprecedented” contrast between Obama and Clinton
One of us(!) notes that the contrast between Donald Trump and Barack Obama is unprecedented.
What can we expect with history’s oldest incoming U.S. president? The Washington Post takes a look.
POLITICO: “Just days before he ascends to the presidency, there are lingering questions about whether President-elect Donald Trump’s team is fully prepared to take over the sprawling federal government, according to more than two dozen interviews with Trump and Obama administration officials, lobbyists, experts and others close to the process. A deep distrust has taken hold between Trump’s transition officials and Obama’s political appointees at a number of federal agencies, slowing down the handover of agency responsibilities on everything from meat inspections to drug pricing. There’s confusion over policy on several major agenda items, as Trump gives conflicting signals and often disagrees with his Cabinet nominees. And a number of federal agencies are far from having the staff they need to run on Day One, people close to the transition say.”
BloombergBusinessweek’s Josh Green profiles Corey Lewandowski and Barry Bennett’s new lobbying firm in Washington D.C. “To advertise their support, they’re taking the highly unusual step for a lobbying firm of creating a pro-Trump super PAC (the Great American Agenda PAC) that they’ll fund with their own money. The PAC’s purpose, Bennett says, will be to “build grass-roots energy and support for the Trump agenda, the cabinet nominees, and the Supreme Court pick.” While the PAC won’t be especially large (it will probably raise less than $1 million), Bennett says he hopes it will “build a list of a million people who we can count on raising their voices to Congress—we’ll help them every day with something they can do to push the agenda forward.”
The New York Times notes that the Trump Organization has been removing imagery of Trump and his daughter from their websites.
The AP: “Donald Trump has vowed his company will do "no new foreign deals" while he is president. But he's left "new" and "deals" open to interpretation. Now those words are drawing scrutiny as his company confirms plans to expand its golf resort near Aberdeen, Scotland, raising concerns about conflicts of interest. A spokeswoman for the resort says the expansion is not a new deal, but just another construction phase that was included in the broad plan approved by the local government in 2008.”
DEM WATCH: What’s next for Joe Biden?
The New York Times: “The Bidens will vacate the vice-presidential residence at the Naval Observatory to head to Wilmington on Friday, but the couple intend to find a small house in Washington near their friends Barack and Michelle Obama so that Dr. Biden can continue teaching English at a community college in Northern Virginia.”