ReutersNEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. President-elect Donald Trump met with Cabinet hopefuls at his Manhattan office tower on Monday and later outlined plans for his first day in office, including withdrawing from a major trade accord and investigating abuses of work visa programs.
Trump met with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Democratic U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard and former Texas Governor Rick Perry. But he announced no further appointments, keeping candidates and the public guessing about the shape of the administration that will take office on Jan. 20.
Fallin, Gabbard and Perry were the latest of dozens of officials who have made their way across the opulent lobby of Trump Tower for talks with the Republican president-elect in a relatively open — and unconventional — transition process since his election victory on Nov. 8.
Trump, who has not held a news conference since his election, issued a video on Monday evening outlining some of his plans for his first day in office, including formally declaring his intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade deal, which he called “a potential disaster for our country.”
The 12-nation TPP is Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature trade initiative and was signed by the United States earlier this year but has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday the TPP “would be meaningless without the United States.”
‘Got to get it right’
Trump has so far picked two Cabinet members and three top White House advisers, but aides said he was not expected to make further announcements on Monday.
“They could come this week, they could come today, but we’re not in a rush to publish names,” Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser, told reporters. “We’ve got to get it right.”
Trump spoke often with reporters camped out at his New Jersey golf course over the weekend, but has not held a traditional news conference to talk about his priorities. He held an off-the-record meeting with a group of television anchors and executives on Monday afternoon and was scheduled to meet with print media representatives on Tuesday.
Trump’s first meeting on Monday was with Iraq war veteran Gabbard, a representative from Hawaii who backed U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in his unsuccessful 2016 Democratic presidential nominating contest against Hillary Clinton.
The “frank and positive” discussion focused on the war in Syria, counterterrorism and other foreign policy issues, Gabbard said in a statement. She did not say whether a Cabinet role was part of the discussion.
Gabbard has veered from Democratic Party positions at times, backing policies cracking down on immigration to the United States by Muslims.
Fallin told reporters she was not offered a position but discussed “a wide range of topics” with Trump. The Republican governor’s spokesman said that included a focus on the Interior Department, an agency whose responsibilities include oversight of oil and gas leases on public lands.
Former Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts told reporters he had a “great” meeting about veterans’ issues with Trump.
“He’s obviously going to take my application or interest under consideration, and I’m glad that he called and he’s going to obviously meet other folks,” Brown said, adding the outcome would likely be known after Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday.
Trump also met with former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and Elaine Chao, the U.S. labor secretary under former President George W. Bush, advisers said.
Perry was being considered for Cabinet posts including defense, energy and veterans affairs, Trump’s team said.
Trump, a New York businessman who has never previously held public office and who was the surprise winner over Clinton this month, has so far named senior leaders of his national security and law enforcement teams.