With 22 days to go, the show of politeness and collegiality between President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama is hitting speed bumps with regularity.
Via — what else? — Twitter, Trump lobbed a grievance Obama’s way on Wednesday morning:
“Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition — NOT!”
It was a third straight of day of complaints since Obama said that if he had been able to run again, he would have beaten Trump.
But by afternoon, Trump sounded all mellow when reporters at Mar-a-Lago asked how the transfer of power was going: “Oh, I think very, very smoothly. Very good. You don’t think so?”
He later said Obama had called him and “We had a very nice conversation.” The White House chimed in that the call “was positive and focused on continuing a smooth and effective transition.” See Emily Ngo’s story for Newsday.
Trump also used his morning tweetstorm for more criticism of the U.S. abstention in the UN Security Council vote condemning Israel’s settlement policy, adding: “Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”
In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: “President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel!”
The take-away: Cloudy prognosis
Trump and the Republicans who control both houses of Congress agree Obamacare has to go. But the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act and its many moving parts are tangled, which makes taking it apart and figuring out how to replace it exceptionally daunting, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.
Choices for veterans?
Trump is considering a “public-private option” at the Department of Veterans Affairs that would allow all veterans to choose whether they want to receive care from the VA or from private doctors, a transition official said.
“Some vets love the VA. ... Some vets want to go to the VA,” the official told reporters at Mar-a-Lago. Finding a solution is challenging “because you’ve got all these little kingdoms out there, which is hard,” the official said.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York will be among the clergy leaders performing readings at Trump’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20.
Dolan criticized Trump’s stance on immigration during the campaign. In a Washington Post Op-Ed, he recalled times in American history when Catholics were the target of nativist bigotry and wrote that “as a Catholic, I take seriously the Bible’s teaching that we are to welcome the stranger.”
Also on Trump’s list is Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which accused Obama of anti-Semitism Tuesday after the U.S. abstention in the UN Security Council vote denouncing Israel’s settlement policy on the West Bank.
Payback is coming
The Obama administration is preparing to announce, either Thursday or Friday, a series of retaliatory measures against Russia for trying to influence the U.S. election through cyberhacking, CNN reported.
Trump, who has repeatedly voiced skepticism about the Russian hacking, was asked Wednesday night about calls on Capitol Hill for retaliation against the Russians: “I think we ought to get on with our lives,” he said, and also observed: “I think computers have complicated our lives very greatly.”
What else is happening
- Trump came in second on Gallup’s annual list of the men Americans most admire. Obama was first.
- Trump said he had been informed that Sprint will bring 5,000 jobs back to the United States from overseas, while another company, OneWeb, will add 3,000 jobs. Statements from the companies made it clear the plans had been previously announced.
- Ivanka Trump’s fashion line will continue to rely on foreign manufacturers because her company decided it is too costly and impractical to make the products in the United States, The New York Times reported.
- Entrepreneurs in China have registered the name Trump as trademarks for such products as condoms, toilets, pesticide and paint, and they don’t have to pay Trump for its use, The Washington Post reports. Donald Trump has lodged 126 trademark applications of his own.
- The NYPD and Secret Service worked out a security plan to reopen West 56th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues to traffic. The block alongside Trump Tower had been closed since Trump won the election.
- Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office and Trump’s team traded snarky tweets over New York City’s security costs for the president-elect.