Political News

The Latest: Trump calls for unity in Thanksgiving address

Posted November 23

— The Latest on Donald Trump's transition to the presidency (all times EST):

5:50 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is calling for unity in a Thanksgiving address posted on social media.

In the message released Wednesday, Trump says the nation has just finished a "long and bruising" campaign and that "tensions don't just heal overnight."

Trump says he is praying that on Thanksgiving the country will "begin to heal our divisions and move forward strengthened by shared purpose."

He adds that with the political campaign over, it's time for a "great national campaign to rebuild our country."

Trump did not detail any of his plans in the holiday address. He is appointing top administration officials as he readies for the January inauguration.

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5:20 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is poised to offer the position of commerce secretary to the head of a private-equity firm, Wilbur Ross.

A senior Trump official says Trump is about to make the offer. The official isn't authorized to publicly discuss the matter and requests anonymity.

The 78-year-old Ross met with Trump over the weekend at the president-elect's golf club in New Jersey.

Ross is chairman and chief strategist of private-equity firm W.L. Ross & Co., which is known for buying failing firms and often combining them.

The billionaire joined Trump's economic advisory team in June. He is perhaps best known for merging several bankrupt steel manufacturers in 2002.

-Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire

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5 p.m.

A group of election lawyers and data experts are asking the Hillary Clinton campaign to call for a recount of the vote totals in three battleground states to ensure that a cyberattack wasn't committed to manipulate the totals.

Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania all have razor-thin margins. There is no evidence that the results were hacked or that electronic voting machines were compromised.

The Clinton campaign on Wednesday did not respond to a request for comment as to whether they would petition for a recount before the three states' fast-approaching deadlines to ask for one. Researcher J. Alex Halderman says the groups have no evidence of a cyberattack or voting irregularities but think a recount should be done anyway to eliminate any possibility.

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4:30 p.m.

Two of President-elect Donald Trump's most vocal congressional critics are asking the Government Accountability Office to conduct a wide-ranging review of what they're describing as his "chaotic" transition to the presidency.

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland want to know the potential impact of Trump's "refusal" to set up a traditional blind trust to prevent conflicts of interests.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, they ask whether Trump has conducted Trump Organization business during the transition. They're also asking if any potential conflicts have affected policy positions.

Trump has not yet taken any formal steps to distance himself from his international business holdings as experts in both parties warn of potential conflicts of interest.

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3:30 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump's choice of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is good news for the state's lieutenant governor, himself an early Trump supporter.

Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster is praising Trump's decision. If Haley is confirmed by the Senate, McMaster will take Haley's place as chief executive of South Carolina.

That means McMaster gets a promotion in his state thanks to the president-elect.

McMaster endorsed Trump ahead of the South Carolina primary, giving Trump a boost from an establishment Republican. Haley herself didn't back Trump early in the campaign, preferring Sen. Marco Rubio and then Sen. Ted Cruz.

In a statement Wednesday, McMaster says Haley "will be an inspiration to all who believe in the American dream, at home and around the world." He didn't address how her new job will elevate him to the governor's office.

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1 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump has selected a charter school advocate and GOP donor from Michigan to be education secretary.

Betsy DeVos becomes the second woman chosen to fill a spot in Trump's Cabinet. Earlier Wednesday, Trump named South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations earlier in the day.

Both selections require Senate confirmation.

Trump calls DeVos "a brilliant and passionate education advocate."

DeVos heads the advocacy group American Federation for Children. She's known for supporting charter schools and vouchers.

Before Trump's announcement, some conservatives were complaining about DeVos' ties to the political establishment. They also warned that she previously supported Common Core standards that Trump railed against during the campaign.

The 58-year-old DeVos is a former Michigan Republican Party chairwoman. Her husband, Dick, is an heir to the Amway fortune and a former company president.

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12:20 p.m.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence has visited a community kitchen in Indianapolis — and he's promising an 80-year-old volunteer a ride on the government plane he uses.

Pence and his wife, Karen, have toured the Second Helpings kitchen, where they thanked a few dozen volunteers before chopping up some vegetables.

When volunteer John Spitznogle asked Pence about getting a ride on Air Force One, Pence responded he would line one up aboard the vice president's plane.

The Pences plan to spend Thanksgiving Day in Mississippi, where their son, Michael, is in Marine Corps pilot training.

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11:40 a.m.

Turkey's president is accusing anti-Donald Trump protesters in Western nations of not respecting democracy or the result of the U.S. election.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn) also suggests that any leader who doesn't serve the West's interests is denounced as a despot.

He made the comments in Ankara, Turkey, at meeting of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.

Erdogan said: "In America they started calling Trump a dictator. In various countries of the Europe they spilled into the streets and started saying 'dictator.' Why aren't you respecting the results of the ballot box?"

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10:30 a.m.

Britain's U.N. Ambassador says he looks forward to working closely with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, newly selected to represent the United States at the world body.

Matthew Rycroft praised Haley's record as governor of South Carolina and predicted the relationship between the two countries "will continue to go from strength to strength." Haley must be confirmed for the job by the Senate.

Rycroft told reporters Wednesday that "we literally sit side-by-side in the Security Council and we will continue to be shoulder to shoulder."

Britain and the U.S. are among the five permanent, veto-wielding members of the 15-seat council, along with China, France and Russia.

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9:30 a.m.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she is accepting President-elect Donald Trump's selection of her to be ambassador to the United Nations out of a "sense of duty."

Haley says in a statement Wednesday she will remain in her current job until she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Republican governor says she is satisfied that she will leave South Carolina on a "very strong footing."

Haley became South Carolina's first female and first minority governor when she took office in 2011.

She says she will "be forever grateful" that South Carolinians "took a chance on a little-known, 38-year old, minority, female governor."

She has two years remaining in her tenure. South Carolina limits its governors to two terms.

Haley spent much of the campaign season criticizing Trump. But on Monday she said none of that came up at their meeting last week in New York.

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8:45 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump says he intends to nominate Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The job requires Senate approval. If that happens, Haley would become the first female — and first nonwhite — Cabinet-level official in his administration. She's the daughter of Indian immigrants.

Trump says in a statement that Haley is "a proven dealmaker and we look forward to making plenty of deals." Trump says Haley "will be a great leader representing us on the world stage."

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