Donald Trump calls for unity in Thanksgiving message

US president-elect working to include some of his former critics in his White House team

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has offered a conciliatory message for the Thanksgiving holiday. He said that after an often brutal presidential campaign Thanksgiving is a time for Americans to come together to heal the wounds of the past.

 

Donald Trump issued a unifying Thanksgiving message as he worked to include some of his former critics in his White House team.

The president-elect has given jobs to two Republican women who clashed with him on the campaign trail, and is considering offering arch-critic Mitt Romney the most senior post, secretary of state.

Mr Trump has travelled to Florida for Thanksgiving, and tweeted: “Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. We will, together, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Earlier, in a Thanksgiving message posted on social media, he acknowledged that the nation “just finished a long and bruising political campaign”.

He said: “Emotions are raw and tensions just don’t heal overnight. It’s my prayer that on this Thanksgiving we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country strengthened by shared purpose and very, very common resolve.”

Mr Trump picked South Carolina governor Nikki Haley to serve as US ambassador to the United Nations, and charter school advocate Betsy DeVos to lead the department of education.

‘Embarrassed’

Both had unflattering things to say about him during the presidential campaign, with Ms Haley denouncing several of his comments and urging voters to “reject the siren call of the angriest voices”.

Mr Trump hit back by saying: “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!”

Ms DeVos, from Michigan, said in July: “A lot of the things he has said are very off-putting and concerning.”

On Wednesday, Mr Trump praised Ms Daley, who has little foreign policy experience, as “a proven dealmaker”.

She said she loved her South Carolina post but “when the president believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation’s standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed”.

Ms DeVos, like Mr Trump, is new to government but she has spent decades working to change America’s system of public education, and her family has been active in Republican politics for decades, especially as donors.

“Under her leadership we will reform the US education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families,” Mr Trump said.

Ms DeVos said: “The status quo in education is not acceptable.”

Billionaire

Mr Trump is expected to select billionaire investor Wilbur Ross to lead the commerce department.

The 78-year-old is chairman and chief strategy officer of private-equity firm WL Ross & Co, which has specialised in buying failing companies.

Retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate Ben Carson said “an announcement is forthcoming” on his role — possibly as secretary of housing and urban development — but he also suggested he would be thinking about it over the Thanksgiving holiday.

“I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly to making our inner cities great for everyone,” he said.

Mr Trump has gathered with his family behind closed doors at his Palm Beach estate for Thanksgiving, spending the holiday there after a week of interviews of potential appointees in New York.

His spokesman Jason Miller said Mr Trump is now focusing on his choice for secretary of state in particular. Those under consideration include 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mr Romney, formerly an outspoken Trump critic, and ex-New York mayor and Trump loyalist Rudy Giuliani.

Just two weeks ago, Mr Trump shocked the political world — including many in his own party — by winning the presidential contest.

The billionaire New Yorker will be sworn into office in less than 60 days, and beyond his Cabinet, he must fill hundreds of high-level administration posts.

AP