Donald Trump has unveiled plans for his first 100 days in the White House, including withdrawing from a massive Pacific Rim trade pact, cracking down on visa abuse and easing restrictions on the development of shale energy and coal.
But the U.S. president-elect was silent Monday on two of his most repeated and controversial campaign promises – renegotiating the North American free-trade agreement and building a wall on the Mexican border.
After keeping a low public profile in the two weeks since his surprise election win, Mr. Trump announced the 100-day agenda in a 2½-minute video Monday that focused on bringing jobs back to the United States.
“Whether it’s producing steel, building cars or curing disease, I want the next generation of production and innovation to happen right here on our great homeland, America, creating wealth and jobs for American workers,” Mr. Trump said in the video.
He also appears poised to name another key member of his administration. CNN is reporting that retired general James (Mad Dog) Mattis will be his defence secretary. Mr. Mattis is a hard-nosed and outspoken Marine Corps veteran, who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has been critical of U.S. President Barack Obama for being too soft on Iran, the Islamic State and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Mr. Trump says in the video that he’ll pull the United States out of the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership and would negotiate unspecified trade deals to bring jobs and industry back to the United States. Even Mr. Obama has acknowledged the death of the TPP – a massive deal that would have linked the United States, Canada and Mexico with nine other Pacific Rim countries.
Unlike an earlier leaked memo from Mr. Trump’s transition team that caused a stir in Canada, the president-elect makes no mention of reopening NAFTA to win concessions from Canada and Mexico.
Mr. Trump likewise says nothing about deporting aliens or scrapping the law that extends private health-care coverage to uninsured Americans. The Affordable Care Act is a key part of Mr. Obama’s legacy, but has been a lightning rod among Republicans, who say it imposes unnecessary costs on employers.
It appears to be a recognition that Mr. Trump’s simplistic and angry campaign rhetoric may be much more difficult to accomplish. It may also be difficult to obtain support from the U.S. Congress, even one controlled by Republicans.
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump is working to staff key economic posts in his administration, including treasury secretary, commerce secretary and trade envoy. The choices will help put some of Mr. Trump’s other promises into practice, including rolling back regulation of Wall Street, cracking down on trade and stimulating the economy with tax cuts and infrastructure spending.
The most critical is the treasury job. As with a number of other administration jobs, Mr. Trump appears to be waffling between mainstream options and ultra-conservatives and loyalists who backed his run for president.
The reported front-runner for the treasury job is Steven Mnuchin, 53, a wealthy Wall Street financier who runs private equity firm Dune Capital Management and is an investor in several Hollywood blockbuster movies, including Avatar, Suicide Squad and The Accountant.
Mr. Mnuchin, a divorced father of three, joined Mr. Trump’s campaign as finance chair when it was sputtering earlier this year.
Counting against Mr. Mnuchin, however, are his deep Wall Street roots. He’s the son of a long-time partner of investment bank Goldman Sachs; he went to Yale and eventually spent 16 years at Goldman Sachs.
Mr. Trump is also apparently looking at an even bigger Wall Street name – Jamie Dimon, 60, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank by assets. Jeb Hensarling, 59, a Texas member of the House of Representatives for the past 13 years and an ally of House Speaker Paul Ryan, is also reportedly under consideration. The House financial services committee chairman is a conservative stalwart and a vocal critic of the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law, which aimed to rein in some of the excesses of the financial crisis.
Mr. Trump and vice-president-elect Mike Pence met in recent days with a number of other potential candidates with business and financial backgrounds. They include billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, 78, who is being considered for commerce secretary, and Jonathan Gray, 46, global head of real estate at private equity powerhouse Blackstone Group, and David McCormick, president of the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates.
Mr. Trump was back at his Manhattan penthouse in the Trump Tower on Monday after spending the weekend at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.
Mr. Trump is expected to head to Palm Beach, Fla., late Tuesday or early Wednesday with his family for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. “It’s time to get together with family and have a brief break in the action,” spokesman Jason Miller told reporters.Report Typo/Error