President-elect Donald Trump didn’t take off all of Thanksgiving Day while enjoying a long holiday weekend with his family at his Mar-a-Lago estate, saying he was working to keep the makers of Carrier air conditioners from relocating from Indianapolis to Mexico.
Meanwhile, his transition team was stepping up its effort to raise money for inaugural festivities and Trump offered a holiday prayer for a politically divided nation, even as a controversy swirled around his consideration of onetime fierce critic Mitt Romney for his Cabinet.
After Thanksgiving Day, Trump and his transition team are expected to turn their attention back to building his administration. Two possible appointments loom: retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate Ben Carson as secretary of housing and urban development and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross Jr. as commerce secretary. But a top aide was thinking aloud about this on Thursday, seeming to highlight opposition among some Trump supporters to Romney’s selection as secretary of state.
In a pair of posts on her verified Twitter account @kellyannePolls Thursday, Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway noted that she had been “receiving a deluge of social media & private concerns re Romney Some Trump loyalists war against Romney as sec of state.”
The former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee had vehemently opposed Trump’s nomination during the primary season, assailing the billionaire as a “phony.”
In a second Twitter post, Conway referred to former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, both Cabinet officers in previous Republican administrations, as men who “flew around the world less, counseled POTUS (president of the United States) close to home more. And were loyal. Good checklist.”
The most recent Trump Cabinet-level picks to be announced were South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and charter school advocate Betsy DeVos to lead the Education Department.
Trump talked of saving jobs on Thanksgiving in his own tweet.
During the presidential campaign he often cited Carrier’s decision last February to relocate some 1,400 jobs to its plant in Mexico as an example of jobs leaving the country — and how he as president would slap a tax on any units manufactured in Mexico and sold in the U.S.
“I am working hard, even on Thanksgiving, trying to get Carrier A.C. Company to stay in the U.S.,” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “MAKING PROGRESS – Will know soon!”
The company confirmed Thursday that it had discussed the move with the incoming administration but that there was nothing to announce.
Putting on inaugural balls and other festivities surrounding the Jan. 20 event will cost millions, and incoming presidents turn to supporters to foot the bill but try not to begin their administrations appearing beholden to donors.
In Trump’s case, he has set $1 million donation limits for corporations and no limits for individual donors, according to an official on the Presidential Inaugural Committee with direct knowledge of tentative fundraising plans. The official was not authorized to disclose private deliberations by name and requested anonymity.
At the same time, Trump’s inaugural committee will not accept money from registered lobbyists, in line with his ban on hiring lobbyists for his nascent administration.
Barack Obama set stricter limits on donations for his first inauguration, in 2009, holding individual donors to $50,000 each and taking no money from corporations or labor unions, as well as none from lobbyists and some other groups. Plenty of corporate executives, though, gave individually and often at the maximum amount. And he opened the spigots for his 2013 inauguration, setting no limits on corporate or individual donations.
On the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday, the president-elect offered a prayer for unity after “a long and bruising” campaign season.
“Emotions are raw and tensions just don’t heal overnight,” Trump said in a video message on social media. He added, “It’s my prayer that on this Thanksgiving we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country strengthened by shared purpose and very, very common resolve.”
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