Hillary Clinton Archives - Page 6 of 124 - SaintPetersBlog

Rick Scott may serve as model, and warning, for Donald Trump

He was opposed by the Republican establishment. During a contentious campaign, he spoke forcefully about the need to crack down on immigration. And he used millions of his own money to bolster his political career.

President-elect Donald Trump? No, Rick Scott, the current governor of Florida.

While they are oceans apart in temperament and public demeanor, Scott and Trump were both political neophytes who came from a business background and won elections despite being viewed as longshots unable to convince voters to look past their controversial histories. Scott and Trump, who is vacationing this week at his home in Palm Beach, are also long-time friends.

“One of the reasons I always believed he would win Florida … is that Florida had already elected someone similar to him,” Scott said when discussing Trump’s nearly 113,000-vote victory in the Sunshine State, which helped propel him to victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

And as the country gets ready for a Trump administration his friend and political ally Scott may prove a valuable example of the challenges that lie ahead.

After being in office for five years Scott has been forced to drop campaign promises, alter his stance on key issues and deal with an ongoing divide with members of his own party.

But Scott has also shown that it can be wrong to underestimate him.

When he first ran for office in 2010, Scott, a multi-millionaire, used his experience as a former health care executive and outsider as a tonic for Florida’s double-digit unemployment rate and struggling economy. His bid for governor was staunchly opposed by GOP leaders who were backing then-Attorney General Bill McCollum.

With a campaign aided by one of the same pollsters who helped Trump, Scott poured tens of millions of his own money to pay for television ads that hammered McCollum over immigration. In the ads, Scott promised to push a law styled on one in Arizona that would allow police to check someone’s immigration status.

Scott’s first-ever foray into campaigning was characterized by his steadfast refusal to meet with editorial boards or seek newspaper endorsements. When he defeated McCollum, he vowed to crack down on the special interests and lobbyists who he contended were “crying in their cocktails” due to his primary victory.

Yet Scott was still considered an underdog against Democrat Alex Sink because back in 1997 he had been forced out of his job as the head of Columbia/HCA amid a federal investigation into fraud. Although Scott was never charged with any wrongdoing the company paid a then-record $1.7 billion fine for Medicare fraud. Sink hit at Scott, saying Floridians couldn’t trust him. Scott fired back with his own ads that questioned Sink’s dealings while serving as Florida’s elected chief financial officer. He also accused her of cheating during a televised debate because she read a message from a campaign adviser during a commercial break.

After spending more than $70 million of his own money, Scott edged Sink by more than 61,000 votes.

There are key differences between Scott and Trump, points out Brian Burgess, who started working for Scott when he created a group to oppose President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul and would later serve as Scott’s first communications director. Burgess calls Scott reserved and extremely disciplined, while Trump is more a showman who speaks off the cuff.

“They are totally different personalities, but both are good guys and both of them are misread by the public more so than any other politicians I know,” said Brian Ballard, a top Republican fundraiser in Florida who has worked for Trump as a lobbyist the past several years.

But Scott’s two victories have not ensured him success and he has discovered that being governor is not the same as being a CEO.

When he first started, Scott barred lobbyists from entering his office. He brought in other outsiders as his top staff and initially talked about aggressively pushing his agenda through the Legislature. That changed, however, after legislators scaled back, or rejected many of his ideas, including his push for massive tax cuts. Scott then turned to Tallahassee insiders to help him negotiate with the Legislature.

After the Legislature deadlocked on toughening immigration laws, Scott abandoned the idea. Ahead of his 2014 campaign, Scott even signed into law measures that guaranteed in-state tuition rates to the children of immigrants who entered without legal permission. Scott came into office railing against Obama’s health care overhaul but has changed his position twice on whether to expand Medicaid as allowed under the overhaul.

The governor now finds himself at odds with members of his own party, especially new House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who helped scuttle Scott’s push this year to increase state spending on incentives to lure new businesses to the state. Due to the rifts, Scott has stopped raising money for the Republican Party of Florida.

Another clear parallel between Scott and Trump is that both men are entering office with enormous wealth.

Scott has foregone his $130,000 a year salary, but not his state-subsidized health insurance, and he sold off the state plane and instead uses his own private jet for travel. He placed his assets in a blind trust controlled by a long-time business partner, although that has not shielded him completely from questions of conflicts.

Scott said that Trump would be better off if he followed the Florida governor’s lead on assets. Trump has said he will use a blind trust, but he has said he will place his children in charge of his business empire.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Experts ask Hillary Clinton to seek recount in 3 battleground states

A group of election lawyers and data experts have asked Hillary Clinton‘s campaign to call for a recount of the vote totals in three battleground states — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — to ensure that a cyberattack was not committed to manipulate the totals.

There is no evidence that the results were hacked or that electronic voting machines were compromised. The Clinton campaign on Wednesday did not respond to a request for comment as to whether it would petition for a recount before the three states’ fast-approaching deadlines to ask for one.

President-elect Donald Trump won Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by razor-thin margins and has a small lead in Michigan. All three states had been reliably Democratic in recent presidential elections.

The group, led by voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, contacted the Clinton campaign this week. That call, which was first reported by New York Magazine, raised the possibility that Clinton may have received fewer votes than expected in some counties that rely on electronic voting machines.

But Halderman, in an article posted on Medium on Wednesday, stressed that the group has no evidence of a cyberattack or voting irregularities. He urged that a recount be ordered just to eliminate the possibility.

“The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence?_?paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania,” Halderman wrote.

Recounts, which are often costly and time-intensive efforts, would likely only be initiated if the Clinton camp pushed for one, though Wisconsin independently announced that it would conduct an audit of its vote. A call for a recount, particularly coming on the heels of a fiercely contested and sharply partisan election, would likely be cheered by Democrats but denounced by Republicans eager to focus on governing.

A request to the Trump transition team for comment was not immediately returned.

Trump’s campaign had long believed that his message of economic populism would resonate in the Rust Belt. He frequently campaigned in Pennsylvania and made a late push in both Wisconsin and Michigan, successfully turning out white working-class voters whom pollsters may have missed.

Many pre-election polls showed Clinton with slight leads. While advocating for the recounts, Halderman writes that “the most likely explanation” for Trump’s surprise win “is that the polls were systematically wrong,”

The deadlines for petitioning for a recount in all three states are in the coming days, with Wisconsin’s on Friday. Green Party candidate Jill Stein announced a fundraising effort Wednesday to pay for such recounts.

The focal point of any possible electoral cyberattack presumably would have been electronic voting machines that, whether or not they are connected to the internet, could be infected with malware that could change vote totals. But many of those machines produce a paper record of the vote that could be checked to see if the vote tabulations are accurate.

Pennsylvania is considered one of the states most susceptible to hacking because 96 percent of its voting machines have no paper trail. Wisconsin is far less vulnerable because it uses electronic machines with voter-verifiable paper trails in most counties. Michigan is considered the safest of the three because it uses paper ballots.

Officials in the three states confirmed that no recounts have been ordered. A spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department says it is not tallying the number of voting complaints to determine whether federal action is warranted.

Many election experts have called for routine post-election audits designed to boost public confidence in vote outcomes, by guarding against both tampering and natural vote-counting mistakes. These could involve spot-checks of the voting records and ballots, typically in randomly selected precincts, to make sure that votes were accurately recorded.

In many states, audits involve hand-counting the votes on paper ballots and comparing the results to the totals stored in the state’s electronic voting system. Such audits do sometimes turn up mistakes that reverse an election. That happened in Florida’s Palm Beach County in 2012, when a post-election audit determined that the “winners” in two city council races were actually losers.

Routine audits also make it possible to confirm the accuracy of elections without putting the onus on losing candidates to call for a recount. In states without regular audits, a candidate who question the results gets “painted as a sore loser,” Pamela Smith, president of the nonprofit Verified Voting, said in an interview earlier this year. “If you do a regular audit, you often don’t need a recount. It either shows the count was right or you find something.”

Any attempted hack to swing the results in three states would have been a massive and unprecedented undertaking. But electoral security was an issue that loomed large in many Americans minds this year as the Democratic National Committee and several Clinton staffers had their emails breached and later released. U.S. security officials believe that hack of email was orchestrated by Russian hackers.

Reprinted with the permission of the Associated Press.

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Many Thanksgiving travelers hoping to leave politics behind

When Mary Mitchell gathers with family for Thanksgiving, she plans to enjoy cooking with her sister, a satisfying meal and maybe a game of charades afterward. One thing that’s not on the list: politics.

“It’s kind of a sacred time for family to be together, be thankful and enjoy a holiday,” Mitchell said Monday as she waited for a flight from New Orleans to her home in Chicago. “I really don’t think … that the political arena should be given that much power to come into your home at that time when it’s really special family time.”

Almost 49 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more for the holiday, the most since 2007, according to AAA. Many are hoping to take a break from the rancor and division of the election between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton and instead focus on what unites them: family and tradition.

Kevin Baumann, a 47-year-old boilermaker from Spokane, Washington, belongs to a union whose members are expected to vote Democratic and is accustomed to talking politics at family gatherings, where things can get heated. But Baumann said he has no plans to bring up the subject Thursday at his parents’ house, an annual event he missed the last two years because of work.

“We’ll avoid it,” said Baumann, as he stopped in central Montana with his 27-year-old son on his way home to Washington after working on a coal plant in Iowa. “We’ve got bigger things to talk about during the holidays.”

Some people dread a family showdown so much that they’re opting to stay home, said Heather McCutcheon, 48, a Chicago massage therapist and practitioner of Reiki, a method of reducing stress through touch.

“They are anticipating at best that it will be awkward and uncomfortable; at worst, a conflict,” McCutcheon said.

She said she’s seen Facebook posts issuing open Thanksgiving invitations for those who don’t want to go home. Another friend plans to celebrate with family but is getting a hotel room to avoid her mother’s gloating over Trump’s win.

McCutcheon will spend Thanksgiving with friends, all of whom — like her — supported Clinton. But she still doesn’t want to talk politics: “I don’t want to spend Thanksgiving rehashing this,” she said. “I’m hoping for a moratorium on political talk.”

Trump voter Stephanie Keller of Picayune, Mississippi, agrees that people should focus on coming together this Thanksgiving — to support the president-elect.

“I hope that people calm down and realize that a decision has been made by obviously a majority of the United States and that we can just come together and support him the way that we’re supposed to,” said Keller, who was at the New Orleans airport on her way to Boston to visit a friend.

Some families have already set ground rules.

“My sister-in-law is a big Trump supporter, and she and I have gone back and forth for this entire election,” said Arlene Anjos of Roselle Park, New Jersey, who voted for Clinton. “It got to the point where we were having a conversation about Thanksgiving and … one of the agreements was that we’re not going to talk about politics anymore.”

“That is off-limits for this Thanksgiving dinner,” she said.

Reprinted with permission of the Associated Press

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Times reporters tweet news of Donald Trump meeting as it happens

Reporters at The New York Times tweeted details from a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump as it happened Tuesday, contrasting it with an off-the-record session Trump held a day earlier with leaders at the top television networks.

Reporters Maggie Haberman and Mike Grynbaum sent out quotes from Trump on his decision not to pursue a case against former opponent Hillary Clinton about her a private email server, and potential conflicts between his business and government.

The meeting came amid questions about Trump’s forthrightness with the media. He hasn’t held a news conference since his election and on Tuesday sent out a video news release about some of his plans upon taking office.

His meeting with television executives triggered reports that he lectured them about their coverage of his campaign.

Republished with permission of then Associated Press.

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In wake of loss to Donald Trump, Hillsborough County Democrats get surge of requests to join their party

At their first event since being devastated by the results of the presidential election, there was literally not enough room to contain the number of Democrats who showed up at the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee meeting in Ybor City Monday night. A second room adjoining the main boardroom at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County facility was opened to contain the overflow crowd.

“We’ve been inundated since the election,” said Ione Townsend, the chair of the Hillsborough County DEC.

Although officially only 14 people were sworn in as new members of the Executive Committee Monday, there were several dozen more people who were first-time visitors to a DEC meeting. Townsend said those 14 people had already completed applications in advance of the meeting. In addition, she said party officials received a “number” of completed applications on Monday, with other applications distributed to people in the last two weeks who weren’t in attendance at Monday’s meeting. A number of other people left the meeting taking an application form with them.

“There’s a great deal of disappointment in the national election with Hillary’s loss and the election of Trump,” she said about the interest over the past two weeks. “People are saying, ‘maybe I should have been more involved, I need to be involved.’ There were people who said ‘I sat this out and I shouldn’t have’ and, whatever their reasons are, we’re just glad that they want to be engaged.”

Although it wasn’t a perfect night by any stretch for Hillsborough Democrats, the county did vote strongly for Clinton. The voters also voted in support of all the constitutional officers on the ballot (such as Clerk of the Court Pat Frank, Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer and Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez) re-elected, as well as Andrew Warren defeating Mark Ober for state attorney.

Townsend is running for re-election to the party chair position on Dec. 5, and no one is challenging her. She was elected in January, after serving as vice-chair in the previous year.

One factor that certainly has helped the party is the fundraising prowess unleashed by Mark Hanissee, the former Pinellas County DEC chair who lost his bid for re-election there to Susan McGrath two years ago.

Under Hanissee, the Hillsborough Democrats have created two fundraising vehicles — one being the Hillsborough Society, created in 2015 by Alex Sink and Tucker/Hall co-founder Tom Hall. That group was able to raise $40,000 in the past year to help with get-out-the-vote efforts, including slate cards, digital media, phone banking, website upkeep, and social media.

Then there is their Victory Fund. Hannisee said when he was originally hired by the party in the fall of 2014, his goal was to bring in $200,000 by this past election to that fund. In fact, he said, they raised more than $309,000.

During the meeting, Townsend said the party also did a great job in registering voters. On April 30 the Democrats had 305,887 registered in Hillsborough County. They then registered 32,113 between May and Oct. 18, increasing their numbers to over 338,000.

“We actually delivered the vote for Hillary Clinton,” she said to cheers from the audience.

But obviously, Clinton’s loss in Florida was pivotal in the Democratic nominee’s failure to win the state’s 29 electoral votes. After the 2012 presidential election, when Barack Obama won re-election days before the final vote in Florida was counted (he ultimately defeated Mitt Romney here by less than one percentage point), Democrats’ attitude was that while Clinton could afford to lose Florida, Trump could not. Yet that was going by the old Electoral College map, which had states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin going for Clinton. They didn’t, however.

“We share your pain. We share your disappointment,” Townsend told the dozens of new members in the audience. “I encourage you to stay engaged. We can turn out more Democratic voters with more hands for sure.”

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Donald Trump won’t pursue investigation into Hillary Clinton emails

President-elect Donald Trump will not pursue an investigation into Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, according to Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.

Conway, who was Trump’s campaign manager, appeared Tuesday on on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.

“I think when the president-elect, who’s also the head of your party now, tells you before he’s even inaugurated he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges it sends a very strong message, tone, and content to the members,” she told host Joe Scarborough, a former Florida congressman.  

“And I think Hillary Clinton still has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don’t find her to be honest or trustworthy,” she added. “But if Donald Trump can help her heal then, perhaps, that’s a good thing.”

Trump had hammered Clinton in the Oct. 9 presidential debate on her use of a private email server to send and receive thousands of emails during her tenure as secretary of state, including classified information, and then allegedly deleting thousands more.

“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception,” he said during the debate. “There has never been anything like it, and we’re going to have a special prosecutor.”

But FBI Director James Comey has told lawmakers his agency hadn’t changed its view that Clinton did not break federal law in her handling of classified information.

Earlier this month, the Republican Trump – a real estate tycoon-turned-reality TV star – beat Clinton, the Democratic nominee, for the White House. He now has won 306 electoral college votes to Clinton’s 232.

On Tuesday, Conway said Trump is “thinking of many different things as he prepares to become the President of the United States and things that sound like the campaign aren’t among them.”

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Donald Trump aide suggests he wants no Hillary Clinton probe

The Latest on Donald Trump’s transition to the presidency (all times local):

8:45 a.m. – A top adviser to Donald Trump is suggesting that the president-elect is going to help Hillary Clinton “heal” and not pursue a probe of her private email server.

Kellyanne Conway said on MSNBC on Tuesday that Trump is setting a tone for congressional Republicans by refraining from calling for more investigations. She says that “he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges.”

Days earlier, Trump told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he wants to think about whether to look more into Clinton’s homebrew email server and the Justice Department’s decision to not recommend charges against her.

Now Conway says that, “if Donald Trump can help her heal, then perhaps that’s a good thing.”

Trump during the campaign vowed to put his Democratic presidential rival “in jail” over the matter.

8:30 a.m. – President-elect Donald Trump has abruptly canceled a meeting with The New York Times. He accused the organization of changing the conditions for the session “at the last moment.” The newspaper denied the charge and said Trump’s aides tried to change the rules.

He’d been scheduled to meet Times reporters, editors and columnists and did not give details of his complaint, saying in a morning tweet only that “the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment. Not nice.”

Eileen M. Murphy, the newspaper’s senior vice president for communications, said the paper “did not change the ground rules at all.”

She said Trump’s aides asked for a private meeting only, with nothing on the record, after having agreed to a meeting that would consist of a small off-the-record session and a larger on-the-record one with reporters and columnists.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

 

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Darryl Paulson: Getting schooled on the Electoral College

Going into the 2016 presidential election, virtually all political pundits and pollsters projected an easy victory for Hillary Clinton. Several of the most respected pollsters gave Clinton an 85 percent chance of defeating Donald Trump. Highly respected presidential scholar Larry Sabato projected that Clinton would win 347 electoral votes to Trump’s 191.

As we now know, Trump won 290 electoral votes to 232 for Clinton with Michigan’s 16 electoral votes still undecided. Although Trump won the electoral majority and the presidency, Clinton is leading by over 2 million popular votes.

This marks the fourth time in presidential history where the candidate winning the popular vote lost the electoral vote battle. Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams in 1824, Samuel Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in 2000, and now Clinton has lost to Trump. All four of those who won the popular vote but lost the election were Democrats.

Movements are underway to pressure electors to vote for the popular vote winner. Lady Gaga’s petition requiring this to happen in 2016 has already garnered 5 million signatures.

Movements are also seeking to abolish the Electoral College and replace it with the direct election of the president. Both movements are likely to fail.

Supporters of direct election do have the support of a majority of the American public. Their strongest argument is simply that direct election is the most democratic way to select the president. It also is the reason that the drafters of the Constitution opposed direct elections.

Those who drafted the Constitution created a republic and not a democracy. Alexander Hamilton believed the masses could not be trusted since “they seldom judge or determine right.” Hamilton urged the “first class” to “check the unsteadiness of the second.”

James Madison, one of the co-authors of The Federalist Papers written to secure passage of the Constitution, wrote that unfettered masses tend to “tyranny.”

John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the nation’s second president, noted that “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

Supporters of direction elections argue it is only fair that the popular vote winner is elected as president and not the electoral vote winner. But, if the direct election was used, the candidates would alter their campaign strategy.

Contrary to popular opinion, there is no guarantee that Jackson, Tilden, Gore or Clinton would have won under a popular vote system, because their opponents would have altered their campaign strategy. Republicans would focus more on blue-state Republicans and Democrats would concentrate more on red-state liberals.

Trump, in response to critics who said Clinton should win because she won the popular vote battle, tweeted that “If the election were based on total popular vote, I would have campaigned in New York, Florida, and California and won even bigger and more easily.”

Those who want to alter the Electoral College system face several significant hurdles. The system was designed not only as a check on the masses but also to, protect the small states from the domination of the large states.

If no candidates receive a majority of the electoral vote, the election is thrown into the House where every state gets one vote in selecting the president. California gets one vote as does Alaska. After 230 years, can we amend the Constitution and violate an agreement that was essential to the passage of the Constitution?

Amending the Constitution to replace the Electoral College system with direct election is unlikely to happen. Amendments require a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate and the approval of three-fourths of the state legislatures. This is unlikely since the small states would be undercutting one of their political powers.

As opponents of the electoral college point out, it is not necessary to amend the Constitution if states enter into a compact requiring their state’s electors to vote for the national popular vote winner. The position of elector would be retained, but they would be required to vote for the popular vote winner.

The compact plan, is advocated by computer scientist John Koza, whose 800-page book, Every Vote Equal, can be downloaded for free. Koza’s plan would only kick in when enough states sign the compact and equal 270 or more electoral votes.

So far, 10 states and the District of Columbia, have signed the compact. The 10 states that have signed on are Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, Vermont, California, and Rhode Island. These states represent 165 electoral votes.

Notice anything about the states signing the compact?  Every one is a blue state. Not one red state has signed on and the key battleground states like Florida and Ohio, which receive disproportionate attention under the current system, are not likely to sign the compact.

Even if enough states sign the compact, there is little doubt it would face a constitutional challenge. The Compact Clause of the Constitution states that “no state shall, without the consent of Congress, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, it with a foreign power.”

Tara Ross, the author of Enlightened Democracy, wrote that “If ever a compact encroached on federal and state sovereignty, this is it. The compact would change the presidential selection process without amending the Constitution.”

If you want to make a safe bet, look for the Electoral College to be here for another 200 years. Then again, we thought it was a safe bet that Clinton would beat Trump.

___

Darryl Paulson is Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.

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Donald Trump auditions Cabinet prospects high above Manhattan

Donald Trump held court from his perch high above Manhattan on Monday, receiving a line of former rivals, longtime allies and TV executives while overseeing a presidential transition that at times resembles a reality show like the one he once hosted.

Trump met with nearly a dozen prospective hires, all of whom were paraded in front of the cameras set up in the Trump Tower lobby as they entered an elevator to see the president-elect. Out of public view himself, he fell back on his TV star roots by filming a video that touted his legislative goals once he takes office.

Trump; did not immediately announce any appointments after the meetings, which came on the heels of a two-day whirlwind of interviews at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Unlike his predecessors, who often spoke with Cabinet candidates under a cloud of secrecy, Trump has turned the search into a very public audition process. The extraordinary exercise took on a routine feel on Monday: First, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown stepped off the gold-plated elevator into the marble-coated lobby after his meeting to declare to waiting reporters that he was “the best person” to become Veterans Affairs secretary.

Next, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a candidate for interior secretary, did much the same, striding off the lift to say she had “a wonderful discussion” with Trump. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry declined to speak to reporters, but he did take time for a photo with the Naked Cowboy, the underwear-sporting, guitar-strumming New York institution who is normally a fixture at Times Square but has spent recent days camped out at Trump Tower singing about the president-elect.

Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who resigned her post on the Democratic National Committee after endorsing Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, also met with Trump but entered and exited out of sight. She later defended crossing party lines to meet with Trump about U.S. involvement in Syria, saying in a statement she would never “play politics with American and Syrian lives.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a longtime Trump ally, also arrived with his wife, Callista, and told reporters that he indicated to Trump that he was interested in being a “senior planner” to coordinate long-term political efforts among the Republicans in control of all three branches of government.

Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said of the visitors, “Not all of them will be in his Cabinet and his federal government, but they are all incredibly important in offering their points of views, their experience and certainly their vision of the country.”

No one was saying whether Trump would announce more appointments before heading to Florida for Thanksgiving. He was planning to leave Tuesday or Wednesday to spend the holiday at his Mar-a-Lago estate, while Vice President-elect Mike Pence will spend Thanksgiving in Mississippi, where his Marine son is stationed.

Trump has largely remained out of sight since winning the election, save for a flurry of brief public appearances over the weekend, often with Pence at his side, to flash thumbs-ups and provide quick updates on his progress in building a government. He remained in the upper floors of his skyscraper Monday, seeking counsel on the phone and interviewing candidates all while keeping an eye on the cable news coverage of the day’s events.

He appeared in a two-and-a-half minute video released late Monday in which he pledged to the American people that he was appointing “patriots” to his administration and reiterated a number of his campaign promises, including plans to renegotiate trade deals, scrap excessive regulations and institute a five-year ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists.

The video — which made no mention of key pledges to build a border wall with Mexico or repeal the Affordable Care Act — continues the president-elect’s practice of trying to go over the heads of the media and take his case directly to the American public. Since Election Day, he has twice ditched the group of reporters designated to follow his movements and has so far eschewed the traditional news conference held by the president-elect in the days after winning.

Trump has not held a full-fledged news conference since July.

But the media were clearly on his mind as he met with executives and on-air personalities from TV networks. He frequently singled out the media — declaring them “so dishonest” — for criticism during the campaign, but it’s not unusual for presidents to hold off-the-record meetings with journalists when trying to promote policies or programs.

Among the attendees were NBC anchor Lester Holt and “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, ABC’s “Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos and anchor David Muir, CBS’ “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and several executives at the networks.

None of the attendees would discuss the meeting with reporters in the lobby, though Conway said it was “very cordial, very productive, very congenial.”

Those Trump met with over the weekend included former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a former critic now being considered for secretary of state; retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who Trump dubbed an “impressive” prospect for defense secretary, and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, who is under consideration for Commerce secretary.

“We’ve made a couple of deals,” Trump said Sunday. He gave assurances that “incredible meetings” would be bringing “incredible people” into the government.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Kathy Castor says she’ll work with Donald Trump and GOP majority in Congress ‘If there’s an opportunity’

Kathy Castor says the voters in Florida’s 14th Congressional District re-elected her to get things done in Washington and, when she can, she’ll work with the Donald Trump administration and GOP Congress. But she’ll also resist them, depending on what policies they propose.

“People elected me to solve problems and if there’s any opportunity to do that with President Trump and a Republican Congress, that’s what I’m going to do,” she said Monday. “But I’m not going to compromise the values that this community holds dear. Whether that’s taking our Dream Act students and not deporting them, or fighting for higher wages, the Democratic Party is the party of working people and I’m going to continue to stand up for their interests against the system.”

Yet despite that perception, Hillary Clinton’s failure to win rust-belt states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan in the election has led to the accepted perception the Democrats have lost their way with working people.

In Boston on Sunday night, Bernie Sanders said the party has to return its focus to the working class.

“The working class of this country is being decimated — that’s why Donald Trump won,” Sanders said. “And what we need now are candidates who stand with those working people, who understand that real median family income has gone down.”

“All I know is that every week when I’m in Washington D.C. we’re standing up to moneyed special interests and for some reason that’s not being communicated,” Castor says. “For example, they want to give massive tax breaks to big corporations and the top one percent. That’s not going to help working class people or working people, and what I’m afraid is that the Congress that has passed draconian budgets and tried to keep all the benefits for the wealthiest in the country, that they kind of play on Trump and take advantage of him and the people who elected him. We’re going to be pointing these things out.”

Next week Castor and her Democratic colleagues will vote on whether to retain Nancy Pelosi as their leader, or go in a different direction. Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan has announced his candidacy to challenge Pelosi, the 76-year-old San Francisco congresswoman who leads the Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Castor said she is undecided, but said there’s value in having a female leader.

“The party needs different leaders,” she acknowledges. “It’s time for a younger generation of leaders to run for local office, to get involved in local issues and state issues. But there is one consideration about who is going to be in leadership in Washington. President Trump, Chuck Schumer, Sen. McConnell, Paul Ryan. What do they have all have in common?”

She then answered her own question. “There is a lot of value in having a female leader,” before insisting that she hasn’t made a final decision on who should lead the caucus.

Speaking in Peru Sunday, President Obama said he was reticent to “meddle” in party votes while still in office, but went on to say that he “cannot speak highly enough” of the woman who a decade ago became the first female House speaker. “She combines strong progressive values with just extraordinary political skill, and she does stuff that’s tough, not just stuff that’s easy,” Obama said of Pelosi.

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