Pressure on Trump to keep US commitments

VIDEO: REUTERS

Going it alone not an option, warns Nato chief; Kerry makes plea for US to maintain action on global warming

NEW YORK • President-elect Donald Trump is facing calls not to abandon key US commitments to Nato and climate change, as he worked with his advisers to confirm Cabinet picks and fill other top posts.

In a stark warning yesterday, Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg told the United States that "going it alone is not an option".

During the election campaign, Mr Trump threatened to abandon US allies in Europe if they did not spend enough on defence. Writing in The Observer newspaper yesterday, Mr Stoltenberg said: "Going it alone is not an option, either for Europe or for the United States.

"We face the greatest challenges to our security in a generation. This is no time to question the value of the partnership between Europe and the United States."

Mr Trump also came out hard on the issue of climate change during campaigning, labelling it a hoax and threatening to pull out of the landmark Paris Agreement that came into force on Nov 4. Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry made an impassioned plea for the US to maintain action on global warming, saying most Americans wanted the problem addressed.

Mr Kerry on a frozen section of the Ross Sea near Antarctica's McMurdo Station on Saturday. On climate change, he said "we will wait to see how the next administration addresses this". Mr Trump at a rally in South Carolina in February. During campaig
Mr Kerry on a frozen section of the Ross Sea near Antarctica's McMurdo Station on Saturday. On climate change, he said "we will wait to see how the next administration addresses this". PHOTO: AFP

  • Trump credits social media for aiding victory

  • WASHINGTON • US President- elect Donald Trump credited his provocative use of Twitter and other social media platforms with helping him win the elections, saying it gave him a way of "fighting back".

    In an interview that will be aired this morning Singapore time on CBS' 60 Minutes, Mr Trump said with some reluctance that he would be more restrained in his use of social media once in the White House, but added that it was nothing to be ashamed of.

    "The fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram... I think it helped me win all of these races where they're spending much more money than I spent. And I won," he said.

    The Republican billionaire used Twitter to mock his opponents and blast his critics during a long and tumultuous presidential campaign that took him from joke candidate to the most powerful office in the world.

    Calling it a "great form of communication," he boasted that he has 28 million followers on social media, and picked up another 100,000 just the day before the interview.

    "I'm not saying I love it, but it does get the word out," he told interviewer Lesley Stahl.

    "When you give me a bad story or when you give me an inaccurate story or when somebody other than you - a network or whatever, because of course, CBS would never do a thing like that, right? - I have a method of fighting back."

    Asked whether he would do that as president, Mr Trump said: "I'm going to be very restrained, if I use it at all, I'm going to be very restrained."

    "I find it tremendous. It's a modern form of communication. There should be nothing we should be ashamed of. It's where it's at," he added.

    AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

"We will wait to see how the next administration addresses this but I believe we're on the right track and this is a track that the American people are committed to," he told reporters on a trip to New Zealand.

The US is the world's second-largest greenhouse gas emitter and a major donor to climate change mitigation funds.

Mr Kerry was speaking after an "awe-inspiring" visit to Antarctica, where he took a helicopter ride to view the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

He said he was hopeful that Mr Trump would not follow through on his fiery campaign rhetoric.

Meanwhile, in Trump Tower - picketed by protesters for four straight days - the President-elect and his transition team continued to work to shape his Cabinet. The appointments are expected to play a crucial role in setting the tone of an administration led by a 70-year-old political novice.

Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told reporters on Saturday that the appointment of a White House chief of staff is "imminent" and that Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus is a candidate for the key post.

The announcement came as a crowd of more than 10,000 people marched towards Trump Tower in Manhattan, while another 10,000 turned up in downtown Los Angeles and thousands more marched peacefully in Chicago.

As the commotion played out, an ABC News/Washington Post poll released yesterday showed that 74 per cent of Americans accept Mr Trump's election as legitimate, although that number varies greatly among different groups, reaching 99 per cent among his supporters and falling to 58 per cent among Mrs Hillary Clinton's.

Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, whose UK Independence Party (UKIP) backed the Brexit vote that stunned Britons just as Mr Trump's win shocked many Americans, visited Mr Trump on Saturday.

Mr Farage has suggested that he could act as a go-between to help smooth British relations with Mr Trump, adding that British Prime Minister Theresa May's criticisms of him in the early days of the campaign could damage ties with Washington.

He later tweeted a photograph of himself with Mr Trump, standing in front of a pair of golden doors and smiling broadly, with the President-elect giving the camera a thumbs-up.

"It was a great honour to spend time with @realDonaldTrump," Mr Farage tweeted. "He was relaxed and full of good ideas. I'm confident he will be a good president."

A UKIP official has suggested that Mr Farage could be the next ambassador to the US, but British media reported that Mrs May's office rejected the idea of any role for him.

Mr Trump, who has appeared to strike a conciliatory tone since his election on the back of an incendiary populist and anti-immigrant campaign, is set to spell out his priorities in his first prime-time interview.

Mr Kerry on a frozen section of the Ross Sea near Antarctica's McMurdo Station on Saturday. On climate change, he said "we will wait to see how the next administration addresses this". Mr Trump at a rally in South Carolina in February. During campaig
Mr Trump at a rally in South Carolina in February. During campaigning, he threatened to abandon US allies in Europe if they did not spend enough on defence, and came out hard on climate change, threatening to pull out of the landmark Paris Agreement. PHOTO: AFP

In excerpts from the CBS interview, recorded on Friday and set to air at 7pm last night (8am today, Singapore time), Mr Trump reveals plans to keep parts of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law intact, weighs in on his use of Twitter and suggests that he might ask former president Bill Clinton, his rival's husband, for advice.

He also vows to immediately deport approximately two to three million undocumented immigrants. On whether he really plans to build a wall along the US-Mexico border - a proposal that served as a centrepiece of his campaign - he says "Yes".

When asked by The Wall Street Journal whether he would name, as he had threatened, a special prosecutor to investigate Mrs Clinton over her use of a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state, Mr Trump deflected, saying his priorities were "healthcare, jobs, border control and tax reform".

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 

Video: Kerry pledges to push for climate deal http://str.sg/4gHo

Video: Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage visits Trump Tower http://str.sg/4gHu

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2016, with the headline 'Pressure on Trump to keep US commitments'. Print Edition | Subscribe