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11/17/16

US Politics: Senate Republicans displaying strong opposition to Trump’s agenda - by John Ibbitson

Donald Trump may be waking to the realization that a major centre of opposition could come from members of his own party: Senate Republicans who are warning that the incoming president’s preferred policies and people may not meet with their approval.

“Heaven forbid,” Kentucky Senator Rand Paul wrote in an op-ed, on rumours that the president-elect might nominate John Bolton, who was George W. Bush’s ambassador to the UN, as secretary of state.

Mr. Bolton championed the Iraq war that both Sen. Paul and (eventually) Mr. Trump opposed. “At a time when Americans thirst for change and new thinking, Bolton is an old hand at failed foreign policy,” Mr. Paul warned. “The man is a menace.”

Mr. Paul also pushed back on the prospect that Rudy Giuliani could be nominated as attorney-general, though the word is that the former New York mayor would prefer to be secretary of state.

But Mr. Giuliani’s work as a lobbyist for foreign governments and companies, including TransCanada pipelines, could also land him in trouble during any Senate confirmation hearing.

Senators are powerful figures who are wont to assert independence, even against administrations that share their party stripe. With the Republicans holding only a narrow 52-48 lead in the next Congress, any defections could prove fatal. That may be why Trump press spokesman Jason Miller told reporters Wednesday that the transition team planned to take its time in choosing cabinet nominees, with swift confirmation by the Senate a top priority.

The Democrats on Wednesday chose New York Senator Chuck Schumer as minority leader. While Mr. Schumer promised to work with the new administration in areas where they could find joint agreement, “we will go toe to toe against the president-elect whenever our values or the progress we’ve made is under assault,” he warned. The Democratic minority, which has the power of filibuster, will fight to preserve the health-care reforms and environmental initiatives of the outgoing Obama administration.

Read more: Senate Republicans displaying strong opposition to Trump’s agenda - The Globe and Mai

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