November 18, 2016
Obama Winds Down And Trump Gets Serious
President Obama hugged it out with his long time ally Chancellor Angela Merkel during a brief stop over in Berlin on Thursday. After meeting Angela to assuage her fears of a Trump Presidency, he spoke to reporters and offered Trump a few words of advice regarding dealing with Europe and Russia. Obama expressed hope that Trump would stand up to Russia when it deviated from American “values” and wouldn’t just approach Russia from a “real politik” perspective that risks leaving allies, like Europe, out in the cold. Don’t hold your breath though, as Trump has found all this talk of American values hypocritical and unconvincing.
Meanwhile, Trump’s team tried to get back on track with the transition process following a purge of Christie loyalists earlier this week. They spent most of Thursday putting on a good show, reaching out to prominent Republicans like Mitt Romney and showing off a list of people who Trump was meeting with that might be good fits for the incoming cabinet. Kellyanne Conway said that they were on schedule, especially when compared to the year 2000. Back then, Florida was still counting votes. The issue, of course, is that 2000 is a terrible benchmark and the Bush family had a lot of establishment experience to draw from.
Much of the transition talk centered on exactly how much Trump would be able to “drain the swamp.” A proposed five-year ban on lobbyists was already experiencing push-back. Some Republicans contemplated less “wall-ish” border security measures. And then of course, Wall Street applauded a few early signals by the Trump administration, giddy at the prospect that regulation enacted after the financial crisis would be stripped and they would be able to return to the good old days of the early 2000’s. Meanwhile, speculation centered on whether Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, would get a White House job or whether anti-nepotism laws would preclude him from that.
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