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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Trump’s new ship of state sets sail into uncharted waters

Nobody can say yet what that new health

Nobody can say yet what that new health care law will look like. Credit: EPA / MICHAEL REYNOLDS

The coming repeal of the Affordable Care Act set off a cascade of questions. By late last week, many eyes were on the ups and downs of health care company stocks. Donald Trump, in tandem with a Republican Congress, has vowed to replace the 2009 Obamacare law with “the finest health care program there is.”

Nobody can say yet what this program would look like, especially since Trump now talks of keeping Obamacare’s most popular provisions. While that doesn’t really seem to fit the description of a repeal, it’s too soon to debate results of a complicated law to be tackled when Congress reconvenes.

Uncertainty looms on many other fronts. The president-elect’s promises changed during the campaign.

“I think Islam hates us,” he said in March, urging a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, “until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.” Later he urged banning “certain people” from “horrible” places heavy with terrorism.

Even if Trump settles on yet another immigration strategy, his words accomplished their political purpose — convincing enough voters he had their safety and sensibilities at heart and now making those wary of him nervous.

Also unexplored: How his wall on the Mexican border will be funded, how much tax cuts will slash federal revenue, whether protective tariffs will pass, how Social Security will continue and how trade pacts will change.

Trump issued various statements on which leaders from China, South Korea, Germany and elsewhere now seek clarification. The language from all sides has been diplomatic.

Russia, a chronic source of political intrigue and internet hacking, poses concerns. On Thursday, a veteran diplomat under leader Vladimir Putin told a state-run news operation that of course there was contact with the Trump team during the campaign.

“Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

Other matters ahead have a more personal hue.

On Thursday in San Diego, U.S. Judge Gonzalo Curiel held a hearing in a widely publicized fraud lawsuit involving the defunct Trump University. He rejected a request from defense lawyers to bar statements made during the campaign — such as Trump’s fiery claim that Curiel’s Mexican-American background biased him against the Queens-born real estate heir.

How he handles his holdings — and how he might act to avoid unprecedented conflicts of interest — remain vague. So far, his official statement says: “We are in the process of vetting various structures with the goal of the immediate transfer of management of The Trump Organization and its portfolio of businesses to Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump.”

All three are closely involved in the transition.


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