Trump Holds Victory Rally In Hershey, Pa.; Takes Office In 5 Weeks

Dec 16, 2016
Originally published on December 16, 2016 10:38 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Donald Trump will be taking the oath of office five weeks from today. And while he has almost completely filled out his Cabinet and hired more White House staff, Trump is still doing some of the other things that we have come to expect from him, like attacking critics on Twitter and reveling with his supporters.

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DONALD TRUMP: Now you're laid back. Hey, baby. Hey - onward, Mr. Trump, onward. Right? No, it's great. It's beautiful. In other words, you've won, and you feel great about it. And you don't have to go totally wild, right? It's much different.

GREENE: President-elect Trump celebrating with supporters last night at a rally in Hershey, Pa. Let's bring in NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea, who is on the line. He's been following the Trump transition.

Morning, Don.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Good morning.

GREENE: So I mentioned Trump is nearly done filling his Cabinet out. And last night, he made his pick for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who is a bankruptcy lawyer - not a lot of diplomatic experience, it sounds like.

GONYEA: Here's how Donald Trump describes him. He says he's a renowned attorney who's been counselor to some of the world's top businessmen and companies. So that's a pretty familiar thing to see on a Trump appointee's resume. He says he was one of the president-elect's principal advisers on U.S.-Israel relationships. He is a Hebrew speaker, a lifelong student of Israel history. And David, his bar mitzvah was held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem 45 years ago. So that's...

GREENE: OK. Well, there you have it. There's the bio. This is a really important job.

GONYEA: This is one of the big ambassadorships, just period, because of, you know, this place in the world. It's one of the most critical. And conservatives will be pleased by this pick. Liberals, including some liberal Jewish groups, will have anxiety, guaranteed. Friedman, for example, has said he looks forward to representing America, quote, "from the U.S. embassy in Israel's eternal capital Jerusalem."

GREENE: Oh, that would mean moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is highly controversial.

GONYEA: Exactly. It's a promise Trump has made on the campaign trail. It's something that Congress has supported. But presidents have resisted it because it's a difficult thing to do because the status of Jerusalem is still in dispute.

GREENE: So one of the big questions - what exactly will Trump start with? What's he going to focus on as soon as he takes office? Are we getting any sense?

GONYEA: Yeah, we are. His incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, the current chairman of the Republican National Committee, did a radio interview this week with Hugh Hewitt. He laid it out. First order of business will be to repeal Obamacare. We expect that to be the first bill Congress takes up. It's not clear what they can do in terms of the replace-it side of the equation, but gutting it will be the first order of business.

There's also been a lot of talk about how they're going to deal with reporters, the press corps, in the White House. Sean Spicer has been a spokesman for the transition. He was on Megyn Kelly last night on Fox News on her program. He said the daily briefing with the press secretary could go away. Give a listen.

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SEAN SPICER: I think that's a view shared by a lot of former White House press secretaries - a view by some of the media, in fact, that the White House press briefings have become somewhat of a spectacle. And so maybe there's a more effective way of delivering the news and having a more, you know, appropriate, adult conversation with the media to inform them of the president's actions as opposed to an on-camera activity. But it's not a yes or a no.

GONYEA: David, don't forget there is a Supreme Court vacancy hanging out there, so they're going to move on that very quickly as well.

GREENE: Boy, that relationship with the press is going to be something very interesting to follow as Trump takes over. NPR's Don Gonyea talking to us about the Trump transition.

Don, thanks.

GONYEA: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.