US 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 US 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 January 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 November 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 US Senate.
The president-elect said he would replace the accord with bilaterally negotiated trade deals that would “bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.”
“My agenda will be based on a simple core principle: putting America first. 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,” he said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday the TPP “would be meaningless without the United States.”
Trump said he would cancel some restrictions on producing energy in the United States on his first day in office, particularly shale oil and “clean coal,” which he said would create “many millions of high-paying jobs.”
He promised to direct the Labor Department to investigate abuses of visa programs for immigrant workers. The main US visa programme for technology workers could face tough scrutiny under Trump and his proposed attorney general, US Senator Jeff Sessions, a longtime critic of the programme.
Trump had made eliminating regulations and withdrawing from the TPP central to his campaign, but he sent mixed signals during the campaign about his views on visa programs including the main H-1B visa for high-tech industry workers.