Trump and Romney, once bitter rivals, smile and shake hands
BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump and Mitt Romney met Saturday at the billionaire’s golf club in New Jersey, putting a year of conflict aside for a smiling handshake — though they did not indicate what, if any, role the 2012 GOP hopeful might play in the new administration.
Trump flashed a thumbs-up and said the sit down “went great.” Romney said the two had a “far reaching conversation with regards to the various theaters in the world where there are interests of the United States of real significance.”
The amiable tone was a marked contrast to a rancorous year, in which Romney attacked Trump as a “con man” and a “phony.” But the two have started to mend fences since the Trump’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Romney was only one of a parade of officials pouring through Trump’s door as the president-elect tries to fill more members of his administration. He met Saturday with education activists Michelle Rhee and Betsy DeVos, as well as retired Gen. James Mattis, considered a contender to lead the Pentagon.
Emerging from the white-pillared clubhouse on the rolling green golf course late in the day, Trump said: “we’re seeing tremendous talent. People that, like I say, we will ‘Make America Great Again.’ These are really great people. These are really, really talented people.”
Trump opponents try to beat him at the Electoral College
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Grassroots campaigns have sprung up around the country to try to persuade members of the Electoral College to do something that has never been done in American history — deny the presidency to the clear Election Day winner.
Activists are circulating online petitions and using social media in hopes of influencing Republican electors to cast their ballots for someone other than President-elect Donald Trump and deprive him of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to become the next occupant of the White House.
“Yes, I think it’s a longshot, but I also think we’re living in strange times,” said Daniel Brezenoff, who created a petition in favor of Hillary Clinton and is asking signers to lobby electors by email or phone. “If it was ever plausible, it’s this year.”
Trump has won 290 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232, with Michigan undecided, but Clinton is on pace to win the popular vote by at least 1 million ballots. Trump’s opponents are motivated by the outcome of the popular vote and by their contention that the businessman and reality TV star is unfit to serve as commander in chief.
Just one elector so far has wavered publicly on supporting Trump.
Debate over ‘Hamilton’ speech exposes post-election cracks
NEW YORK (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump demanded an apology from the cast of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” a day after an actor in the hit show delivered a pointed message about diversity to his running mate who was in attendance. The speech aimed at Mike Pence prompted angry responses from liberals and conservatives alike — underscoring yet again the fractious aftermath of the 2016 election.
The bitter back-and-forth came after the vice president-elect caught Friday night’s performance of “Hamilton” with his nephew and daughter. A mixture of boos and cheers could be heard inside the theater as Pence took his seat. When the show ended, Pence was asked by a cast member to hear a prepared speech after the curtain call from the multiracial and multicultural cast, saying it is concerned about the Trump administration.
“We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” said Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, the nation’s third vice president, as his fellow actors joined hands. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”
The unusual address quickly went viral and Trump on Saturday tweeted that it was “very rude,” arguing that Pence was “harassed” and theater “must always be a safe and special place.” He urged the cast to apologize. Dixon responded on Twitter that “conversation is not harassment sir” and added that he appreciated Pence stopping to listen.
Pence had ducked out before Dixon finished the unprecedented message but heard the full remarks from the hallway outside the auditorium.
Political risks come with control of Washington for GOP
WASHINGTON (AP) — For Republicans, there will be no one left to blame.
As they prepare to take control of the White House and both chambers of Congress next year, Republicans are celebrating the opportunity to enact a new agenda for the country, including lowering taxes, securing the border and repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law.
But with that opportunity comes massive political risk: If President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans don’t deliver, they will face a serious reckoning with voters. That could begin with the 2018 midterm elections, when every House member and one-third of the Senate will be up for re-election.
“The American public has clearly said that they want to go a different direction,” said Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado. “And if we are not effective in moving in that different direction, they will take the opportunity away from us, and they will return it to the Democrats.”
Said Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, speaking Friday at the Federalist Society: “It’s time to put up or shut up. There are no excuses.”
What more to discuss? For Obama and world leaders it’s Trump
LIMA, Peru (AP) — Trying to tie up loose ends of his foreign policy agenda, President Barack Obama on Saturday instead found world leaders more focused on someone else: President-elect Donald Trump.
Global hand-wringing over America’s next president has taken much of the wind out of Obama’s final overseas trip. Adopting an altruistic tone, Obama has offered frequent reassurances that the U.S. won’t renege on its commitments. Yet he’s been at a loss to quell concerns fully, given new signals from Trump that he intends to govern much the way he campaigned.
Obama’s visit to Peru, the last stop on his trip, has brought those concerns to the forefront: Much of Latin America is on edge about a potentially dramatic shift in U.S. immigration policy under Trump. And Asian leaders gathered in Lima for an Asia-Pacific economic summit are trying to game out what Trump’s presidency will mean for trade with the world’s largest economy.
“We’re going to have a busy agenda,” Obama said as he sat down with leaders of countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the sweeping free trade deal with Asia that Obama painstakingly brokered.
It was unclear whether their agenda was really as busy as all that. Vehemently opposed to the Pacific agreement and similar deals, Trump has vowed it won’t be ratified on his watch. In an acknowledgement of that political reality, the White House has stopped actively lobbying Congress to try to pass it.
Police: Missing Kansas newborn found in Dallas; 2 in custody
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have found a week-old baby who was reported missing Thursday after her mother was shot to death in Kansas, police said Saturday.
Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said baby Sophia was found alive after authorities executed a search warrant before dawn at a Dallas home, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://j.mp/2g8ozZK ). He said the baby is in protective custody and is doing well.
“This is the best possible outcome to a very sad case,” Ramsay said at a news conference.
Two adults were in custody and being interviewed Saturday, Ramsay said. He also said more suspects could be identified, but provided few details, saying “it is still an active investigation.” No one has been charged.
“It’s a complicated case and we want to make sure we get it right,” Ramsay said.
8 arrests as rival protesters clash near Texas State Capitol
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Eight people were arrested on Saturday when a small group of protesters calling themselves White Lives Matter were confronted by counter-demonstrators supporting Black Lives Matter at the Texas State Capitol near where Gov. Greg Abbott had earlier dedicated a monument recognizing the contribution of African-Americans to the state.
Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Victor Taylor said four of the arrests were for assault, two for evading arrest, one for disorderly conduct and one for “interference with public duty.” Two of those arrested were on Capitol grounds and the others on adjacent streets.
“Some protesters assaulted other protesters,” Taylor said. “We don’t know for sure which side they were on. A lot of them were co-mingled.”
Austin police and state troopers dressed in riot gear had tried to keep the two groups separated.
Taylor said the confrontation did not affect the unveiling of the monument, which was in a different part of the grounds.
Activists: Intense bombing of Syria’s Aleppo kills 20
BEIRUT (AP) — Government bombardment of besieged rebel-held neighborhoods in Aleppo killed at least 20 people Saturday, the worst since airstrikes resumed earlier this week, said Syrian opposition activists, as the U.S. called for an end to the bombings.
Saturday was the fifth day of renewed assaults by Syrian warplanes on eastern Aleppo districts, a rebel-held enclave of 275,000 people. The onslaught began Tuesday, when Syria’s ally Russia announced its own offensive on the northern rebel-controlled Idlib province and Homs province in central Syria.
The bombing on Saturday came after a day of airstrikes that hit four hospitals in east Aleppo. A statement issued late Friday by the opposition’s Aleppo Health Directorate said that all hospitals in east Aleppo are out of service because of the bombing over the past days.
“The intentional destruction of infrastructure for survival has made the besieged steadfast people, including children, elderly and men and women, without medical facilities to treat them,” the statement said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said not all hospitals in east Aleppo neighborhoods are out of service but people are finding difficulties reaching them because of the intensity of the shelling.
Iraqi troops face stiff resistance from IS in eastern Mosul
MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi troops faced stiff resistance Saturday from Islamic State militants as they pushed deeper into eastern Mosul, backed by aerial support from the U.S.-led international coalition, a senior military commander said.
Troops moved into the Muharabeen and Ulama neighborhoods after fully liberating the adjacent Tahrir neighborhood on Friday, said Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi of the Iraqi special forces. Al-Aridi said IS militants were fighting back with snipers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds.
Thick black columns of smoke were seen billowing from the two areas, while dozens of civilians were seen fleeing to government-controlled areas. Shortly before noon, a suicide bomber emerged from a house in the Tahrir neighborhood and attacked security forces, wounding four troops. Later in the afternoon, another suicide car bomber hit the troops in Aden neighborhood, killing a soldier and wounding three others.
Late on Friday, a group of IS militants attacked the village of Imam Gharbi south of Mosul, controlling most of it for hours before airstrikes from the U.S.-led international coalition were called in, an officer said. The clashes and multiple suicide bombings left three policemen dead, including an officer, and four others wounded, he said. Nine IS fighters were killed, he added. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief media.
On Saturday, after the fighting had quietened down, the Kuwaiti government in coordination with a local NGO distributed 1,000 boxes of humanitarian aid to residents of the Samah and al-Arbajiyeh district in eastern Mosul, which had been cleared of IS militants earlier.
Chicago congressman’s grandson fatally shot over shoes
CHICAGO (AP) — A dispute over shoes led to the fatal shooting of the grandson of Illinois U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, Chicago police said Saturday.
At least two attackers went to the home of 15-year-old Javon Wilson in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago on Friday night and shot him in the head after an argument, police said.
“This stems from a dispute over shoes, basketball shoes,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
Guglielmi said Wilson knew his attackers and they may have been friends at some point. The shooting was not, as previously reported, a home invasion.
Davis, a Democratic member of the House for 20 years, told The Associated Press Saturday that his grandson was a victim of a world where gun violence has become commonplace.