Trump Transition

Perdue Is Trump’s Pick for Agriculture

President-elect Donald Trump picked former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) to be his agriculture secretary, “tapping a veterinarian-turned-politician who was the state’s first Republican governor in more than a century to lead the sprawling department,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“The choice was mired in political wrangling, with some factions pushing Trump to opt for someone from the Midwest or to diversify his Cabinet by naming a Hispanic official.”

Christie Says Wife Refused to Move to Washington, DC

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) says he turned down several jobs in the Trump administration because his wife refused to move to Washington, the AP reports.

Said Christie: “He didn’t offer me a job that I thought was exciting enough for me to leave the governorship and my family. Because Mary Pat made really clear she wasn’t coming to D.C.”

Earlier this week, Trump told the Wall Street Journal, “at some point, we’re going to do something with Chris.”

Did Trump Write His Speech at a Receptionist’s Desk?

Donald Trump tweeted a photo of himself in which he says he was writing his inaugural address.

New York Magazine: “As tends to be the case with the president-elect’s social-media statements, there is much to discuss. First, there’s the fact that Trump seems to be drafting his first speech as POTUS with a … Sharpie. And second, perhaps more important, there’s the question of Trump’s desk, which… appears to be one usually occupied by an administrative or hospitality professional — a receptionist or concierge, maybe — in a public hall at Mar-a-Lago, and not in a private office.”

“So we’re not saying that Trump didn’t write his speech, in Sharpie, on a legal pad, at this desk, with its magnificent and inspirational eagle statue. Obviously he did; why would the president-elect stage such a photograph?”

Trump Budget Nominee Did Not Pay Taxes for Employee

President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for White House budget director “failed to pay more than $15,000 in payroll taxes for a household employee, he admitted in a statement to the Senate Budget Committee, the sort of tax compliance issue that has derailed cabinet nominees in the past,” the New York Times reports.

In a questionnaire provided to the committee, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), a conservative and vocal proponent of fiscal restraint noted, “I have come to learn during the confirmation review process that I failed to pay FICA and federal and state unemployment taxes on a household employee for the years 2000-2004.”

Is Trump Ready for a National Security Crisis?

Politico: “Sources close to the transition describe Trump’s national security staffing as a ‘black box,’ leaving everyone from Obama administration officials to Trump job seekers and foreign diplomats guessing at who will land crucial positions shaping policy and managing crises. Much of the speculation focuses on the NSC, which plays the vital role of coordinating foreign policy and national security within the White House. The NSC staffing process is being controlled closely by Trump’s national security adviser-designate, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who, unlike his past several predecessors, has no NSC experience.”

The Weakest President In 140 Years

Sidney Blumenthal: “Before Trump, only four men became president without winning a plurality or majority of the popular vote. Only one lost a greater percentage of the vote than Trump. Three of them served only one term. Three assumed office under clouds of illegitimacy.”

“Each of these presidents, raised to the office against the popular will, was marked by the defect of their election. None evaded the debility of their unpopular elections. Either they were so politically hampered they lacked credibility and could do little, or else they tried to defy their original sin by governing as though they had solid mandates and disintegrated.”

For members: Top 5 Ways to Question Trump’s Legitimacy

Trump Prefers Short Intelligence Briefings

President-elect Donald Trump admitted that receiving intel briefings has shown him that the U.S. faces some formidable “enemies” but said he will “solve the problems,” ABC News reports.

Said Trump: “I’ve had a lot of briefings that are very… I don’t want to say ‘scary’ because I’ll solve the problems. But we have some big enemies out there in this country and we have some very big enemies — very big and, in some cases, strong enemies.”

He added that he likes his briefings short: “I like bullets or I like as little as possible. I don’t need, you know, 200-page reports on something that can be handled on a page. That I can tell you.”

Trump Says He’ll Decide Media Access to Briefing Room

President-elect Donald Trump “plans to select the media representatives who are given access to the presidential press briefing room, but will not move the room out of the White House,” Reuters reports.

Said Trump: “We have so many people that want to go in so we’ll have to just have to pick the people to go into the room – I’m sure other people will be thrilled about that. But we offered a much larger room because we need a much larger room and we offered to do that, but they went crazy. And they’ll be begging for a much larger room very soon, you watch.”

Why Trump Wishes Hillary Were Still Around

First Read: “We have three takeaways to the news from our latest NBC/WSJ poll, which shows President-elect Trump entering office Friday with historically low approval and favorability numbers. One, this is what happens when you don’t reach out to your opponents or the millions of Americans who didn’t vote for you. Two, Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election as much as Trump won it. (How do you lose to someone who is this unpopular, even during a honeymoon phase?) And three, Trump probably wishes Clinton were still around to campaign against.”

Poll Reveals Dubious Distinction for Trump

Just days before his inauguration, a new CBS News poll finds Donald Trump’s favorable rating at just 32%, the lowest of any president-elect going back to Ronald Reagan in 1981, when CBS News began taking this measure.

New York Times: “Indeed, Mr. Trump will take office on Friday with less popular support than any new president in modern times, according to an array of surveys, a sign that he has failed to rally Americans behind him, beyond the base that helped him win in November. Rather than a unifying moment, his transition to power has seen a continuation of the polarization of the election last year.”