Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Trump and Obama to meet for White House talks

NEW YORK: President-elect Donald Trump will meet Barack Obama in the White House later where they will discuss January’s handover of power. Their talks in the Oval Office are scheduled to begin at 11am (4pm UK time), as First Lady Michelle Obama hosts Melania Trump in the residence. Thousands took to the streets across America last night in protest at Mr Trump’s surprise victory, with demonstrators descending on midtown Manhattan.

Angered by his campaign rhetoric on Muslims and immigration, they screamed “Not my president” and expressed concern about what was happening to their country. There were similar scenes in other major US cities, with police in Chicago setting up blockades to stop 1,800 protesters from gathering outside the Trump International Hotel. “No Trump! No KKK! No racist USA,” they shouted, as others staged a counter-protest in favour of the man who will become the 45th President of the United States.

Security has already been ramped up for the President-elect, with air space restrictions imposed over Trump Tower in New York City. Rubbish trucks filled with dirt have also been parked outside the entrance to the high-rise building, forming a protective barrier. Inside, Mr Trump and his senior aides are already plotting their next steps – with a campaign source telling Reuters that they have been hunkered down in meetings to plan the administration’s first 100 days, and decide who should serve in key staff positions.

Among those tipped for senior posts include former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Both men had eagerly supported Mr Trump during the race. The White House has begun to make the President’s daily brief and other intelligence files available to Mr Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, a courtesy that George W Bush extended to Barack Obama as he was preparing to take office.

Senior Democrats have said they are ready to put aside their differences to work with Mr Trump on policies which improve the lives of working Americans. Independent senator Bernie Sanders, who unsuccessfully ran to become the Democratic presidential nominee, expressed his willingness to co-operate – but warned he will “vigorously oppose” any of the Republican’s attempts to pursue racist, sexist or xenophobic policies.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump is expected to have a phone conversation with Theresa May “at the earliest opportunity”, with the Prime Minister congratulating him on his victory on Wednesday. He has already pencilled in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which will take place next Thursday in New York. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has also said he plans to meet Mr Trump during the transition period following a “cordial, friendly and respectful conversation” in the wake of his win. The Republican currently has 290 Electoral College votes, while Hillary Clinton has 228. Results from Michigan and New Hampshire are yet to be declared.

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