Trump's priorities: Healthcare, jobs, border security

Demonstrators breaking a shop window during a protest in Portland, Oregon, yesterday against the election of Mr Trump as US President. Part of the reason for Mr Trump's historic win on Wednesday was his promise to bring back jobs to America, which he
Demonstrators breaking a shop window during a protest in Portland, Oregon, yesterday against the election of Mr Trump as US President. Part of the reason for Mr Trump's historic win on Wednesday was his promise to bring back jobs to America, which helped him flip traditional Democratic strongholds such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.PHOTO: REUTERS

He is working on White House transition, which includes picking Cabinet and top advisers

Amid continuing protests against Mr Donald Trump's election victory, the US President-elect has flagged healthcare, border security and jobs as his top three priorities when he moves into the White House in January.

He said yesterday that he is working on his White House transition, which would include the selection of his Cabinet and top advisers.

"Busy day planned in New York. Will soon be making some very important decisions on the people who will be running our government!" he tweeted.

Reporters, however, received little insight into how Mr Trump was intending to conduct his day, following his tour of Washington on Thursday to meet President Barack Obama and key lawmakers - House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Majority leader Mitch McConnell.

In brief comments to reporters on Thursday, Mr Trump said: "We have a lot to do... We're going to look very strongly at immigration. We are going to look strongly at healthcare, and we're looking at jobs - big league jobs."

 

Part of the reason for Mr Trump's historic win on Wednesday was his promise to bring back jobs to America, which helped him flip traditional Democratic strongholds such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

He has said some of his top priorities in his first 100 days with regard to jobs would be to "renegotiate Nafta (North American Free Trade Agreement) or withdraw from the deal" and announce the US' withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact. He had also promised to come down hard on China and label the country as a "currency manipulator".

Another pillar of Mr Trump's campaign was building a wall at the Mexico-US border, but there has been no mention of that since he became President-elect.

Earlier, he said he had plans to work with Congress to pass legislation to fully fund the construction of a wall, estimated to cost more than US$10 million (S$14 million), that he said he would get the government of Mexico to pay back.

He would also reform visa rules to enhance penalties for overstaying and to ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first.

After speaking to the House Speaker on Thursday, Mr Trump also brought up healthcare as a key issue he would focus on. During the election campaign, he had pledged to repeal Mr Obama's signature healthcare plan.

"We had a very detailed meeting," he told reporters. "As you know, healthcare - we're going to make it affordable. We are going to do a real job on healthcare."

While he gave no further details on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, this has been a pillar of his campaign, and his earlier 100-day plan gave some details on working with Congress to replace Obamacare with "Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines" and allow states to manage Medicaid funds.

In terms of cutting red tape, Mr Trump also said his administration would speed up the approval of life-saving medications.

 

Earlier in the day, Mr Trump and President Obama had a 90-minute meeting in the Oval Office, much longer than the expected 10 minutes.

"As I said last night, my number one priority in the coming two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our President-elect is successful," said Mr Obama, adding that he was encouraged to hear that Mr Trump's team was keen to work with his team on the issues facing America.

First Lady Michelle Obama also met incoming First Lady Melania Trump at the White House.

Mr Trump later tweeted: "A fantastic day in DC. Met with president Obama for first time. Really good meeting, great chemistry. Melania like Mrs O a lot!"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2016, with the headline 'Trump's priorities: Healthcare, jobs, border security'. Print Edition | Subscribe