VP-elect Pence to lead Trump transition team, will replace Chris Christie

FILE PHOTO Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, right, listens as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks about recent Republican party gains during a press conference at the Republican governors' conference in Boca Raton, Fla., Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
FILE PHOTO Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, right, listens as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks about recent Republican party gains during a press conference at the Republican governors' conference in Boca Raton, Fla., Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on the U.S. presidential transition (all times EST):

2:30 p.m. – Vice President-elect Mike Pence will lead President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, replacing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Trump picked his transition chairman and other leaders on Friday. It’s his biggest staffing announcement since he won the election this week.

Christie will now serve as vice chairman. He’s joined on the executive committee by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

A statement says more than a dozen other people will also advise Trump on transition matters. They include some of Trump’s children, Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus and former Breitbart news executive Steve Bannon.

___

2 p.m. – Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel is being discussed for a role in President-elect Donald Trump’s transition planning.

That’s according to a person with knowledge of the process.

It’s unclear exactly what Thiel’s role would be. Trump tapped New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to begin the transition planning during the campaign.

Thiel, the PayPal co-founder, was an early supporter of Trump. He spoke at the Republican National Convention, becoming the first openly gay speaker at the event in 16 years. Earlier this year, Thiel was revealed as the primary funder of Hulk Hogan’s successful lawsuit against Gawker for publishing a sex tape that had been secretly recorded.

The person with knowledge of the transition planning insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the process. A spokesman for Thiel declined to comment.

-By Julie Pace

___

10 a.m. – The departing Senate minority leader says Donald Trump’s election “has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry” and he now must lead “a time of healing.”

In a statement Friday, Nevada Democrat Harry Reid said white nationalists, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Islamic State extremist group are celebrating Trump’s election “while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear.”

He says that “does not feel like America.”

Reid said the fear felt by blacks, Hispanics, gay Americans and others is rational “because Donald Trump has talked openly about doing terrible things to them.”

Reid said Trump’s victory doesn’t absolve him of “the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans.”

He said Trump “may not possess the capacity” to relieve those fears but must begin trying to do that immediately.

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9:30 a.m. – President-elect Donald Trump is promising a “busy day” assembling his government – but isn’t sharing any details.

The celebrity businessman was holed up in Trump Tower Friday morning meeting with senior staff members. He tweeted that he had a “busy day planned in New York.”

He added that he “will soon be making some very important decisions on the people who will be running our government!”

But Trump’s staff has not offered any guidance as to what on the president-elect’s schedule in the coming days.

On Thursday, he broke with tradition and did not bring the traveling transition press pool – a group of reporters who follow the president’s movements – on his trip to Washington to meet with President Barack Obama and congressional leaders.

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7:30 a.m. – A Hillary Clinton supporter who was “heartbroken” over Tuesday’s election says she decided to go on a hike in the woods – and ran into the former presidential candidate herself.

Margot Gerster said in a Facebook post that she was heading home following her hike Thursday in Clintons’ hometown of Chappaqua, New York, when she saw Clinton and former President Bill Clinton walking their dogs.

Gerster said she hugged the former Democratic nominee and told her that one of her “proudest moments as a mother” was taking her daughter with her to vote for Clinton. She posted a picture with Clinton that she says was snapped by the former president.

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7:10 a.m. – President-elect Donald Trump seems to be having a change of heart about those protesting the election results.

Trump had denounced the protesters in a tweet late Thursday. He wrote that “professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!”

But early Friday, he tweeted: “Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!”

Thousands have been gathering in cities across the United States to protest Trump’s victory in Tuesday’s election.

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3:05 a.m. – The budding new alliance between Donald Trump and congressional Republicans hides a tougher reality: Even with unified GOP control of Washington, the president-elect’s priorities may have trouble getting through Congress.

And in some cases Republicans themselves might be the barrier.

Among the issues are Trump’s promises to build a border wall and restricting immigration from terror-stricken nations. Don’t count on Senate Democrats to go along, and they will effectively wield veto power in many cases.

And there’s repealing the nation’s health care law, which will take painstaking and potentially lengthy negotiations to come up with a solution.

Still, all that and more seemed like a problem for another day as Trump paid a triumphant visit Thursday to Capitol Hill after a cordial White House meeting with President Barack Obama.

 

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