Trump versus his own cabinet picks

Trump's rhetoric is colliding with governing

(CNN) – Senator Marco Rubio refuses to say he’ll vote for Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson after a day of testimony.

Rubio’s refusal to back Tillerson comes on a day Tillerson and other Trump cabinet picks are publicly going against some of Trump’s core campaign promises.

(What do you think of waterboarding?) Trump replied, “I said it’s fine. If we want to go stronger, I’d go stronger…We’re gonna build a wall, we’re gonna build a big beautiful wall.”

Those promises aren’t being backed up on Capitol Hill – not just by Democrats, but his own cabinet nominees.

A second day of confirmation hearings show that Trump’s team is at odds with the boss on some of the most hot-button issues.

On trade, the president-elect railed against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He said: “We will also immediately stop the job killing Trans-Pacific Partnership, a disaster. Another disaster potential deal.”

Wednesday, Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson took a different view. “I do not oppose TPP. I share some of his views regarding whether the agreement that was negotiated serves all of America’s interests the best.”

The disagreements run deeper on torture, which Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions told the judiciary committee. “Congress has taken an action now that makes it absolutely improper and illegal to use waterboarding or any other form of torture.”

Trump’s rhetoric before the election – and since – is colliding with governing. His prospective cabinet is shedding new light on what a Trump administration would look like.

That old pledge to ban Muslims (“A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”), that he started walking away from during the campaign, met resistance from Sessions, who said, “I have no belief and do not support the idea that Muslims as a religious group should be denied admission to the United States.”

At Trump Tower Wednesday, the president-elect still pledged to build that wall on the border with Mexico, saying, “It’s not a fence, it’s a wall.”

His pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security, retired General John Kelly, gently disagreed. “A physical barrier in and of itself will not do the job. It has to be a layered defense.”

And on Russia, Trump’s approach to Vladimir Putin (“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset not a liability.”) was challenged by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where his choice for Secretary of State struck a harder line than Trump.

Tillerson said, “Russia must know that we will be accountable to our commitments and those of our allies, and that Russia must be held to account for its actions.”

Copyright 2017 CNN

 

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