Wednesday 7 December 2016

'Being the president is a bigger job than I thought' - Trump

Matt Payton in Washington

Published 02/12/2016 | 02:30

US president-elect Donald Trump: He has admitted the job is bigger than he had realised. Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar
US president-elect Donald Trump: He has admitted the job is bigger than he had realised. Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar

Donald Trump has admitted the presidency is "a bigger job than I thought", a leading Republican has revealed.

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After meeting the president-elect last week, former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich told 'USA Today' the billionaire businessman was starting to appreciate the burden of the Oval Office.

Mr Gingrich said: "He commented, 'This is really a bigger job than I thought.' Which is good. He should think that."

As president of the United States, Mr Gingrich said "you have war and peace, you have enormous powers...and it all comes down to the Oval Office and it all comes down to you."

After President Barack Obama met his successor at an official meeting in the Oval Office, sources inside the White House told 'The Wall Street Journal' that Mr Trump "seemed surprised by the scope" of responsibilities the job entails.

The newspaper also reported Mr Trump had been unaware he would have to replace the entire presidential staff upon taking office.

His transition has continued to be controversial, not only for his choices for major cabinet and White House positions, but also the role his children have had in the process and his ongoing relationship with his business empire.

Mr Trump's unconventional activities on Twitter have also prompted a series of headlines.

His posts have included a condemnation of the cast of 'Hamilton the Musical' for "harassing" vice president-elect Mike Pence after a performance, criticism of the 'New York Times' and a false claim he won the popular vote if you ignore the millions of illegal votes.

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Mr Gingrich also criticised the president-elect for his unfounded assertion regarding illegal voting. He said: "The president of the United States can't randomly tweet without having somebody check it out.

"It makes you wonder about whatever else he's doing. It undermines much more than a single tweet."

It also emerged yesterday that Sarah Palin may soon return to government after a seven-year hiatus, as she emerged as a candidate to join Donald Trump's cabinet.

Ms Palin, the 2008 vice-presidential nominee, still has a large following among Tea Party Republicans, but has not held office since resigning as governor of Alaska in 2009.

She has starred on reality television and launched an online news network, making headlines most recently by endorsing Mr Trump for president in a widely-mocked speech featuring lines like, "right-winging, bitter-clinging, proud clingers of our guns, our God, and our religion".

As one of Mr Trump's most high-profile endorsers, though, she immediately drew speculation as a possible cabinet official. Her first choice was energy secretary, a post she said she wanted in order to end the department entirely.

But ABC News reported she was being considered to run the veterans affairs department.

Meanwhile, a teenage member of the electoral college will be the seventh person to break ranks by not voting for Donald Trump, adding to a small but growing pool of so-called "faithless electors".

Washington state member, 19-year-old Levi Guerra, has said she will join the "Hamilton electors", named after Alexander Hamilton, a renegade group that believes the 538 electors have a moral responsibility to prevent demagogues from entering the White House.

"I promised those that elected me that I might do the whole lot I might to make sure Trump didn't grow to be our president. To maintain this promise, I consider I need to forged my vote for an alternate Republican," she said at a press conference.

Ms Guerra is one of 12 electors in the state who will have been mandated to vote for Hillary Clinton, who won in their state on November 8.

Ms Clinton has a lead of at least 2.5 million votes in the popular count but the electoral college system, starting with the Founding Fathers, guarantees a winner takes all system in each state.

The Democrat won 53pc of the vote in Washington compared to Mr Trump's 37pc. (© Independent News Service)

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