President-elect Donald Trump, huddling at his New Jersey golf resort with an eclectic procession of potential officials for his administration, is determined to tackle the repeal of President Obama's signature health-care legislation as soon as he's inaugurated, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said Sunday.
"Decisions have been made by the president-elect that he wants to focus out of the gate on repealing Obamacare and beginning the process of replacing Obamacare with the kind of free-market solutions that he campaigned on," Pence said in an interview on Fox News Sunday.
That is likely to set up an immediate showdown with congressional Democrats. "They're going to regret the day they try to repeal" the Affordable Care Act, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer countered on ABC's This Week. "So when we oppose Trump on values or this presidency takes a dark divisive turn, we're going to do it tooth and nail."
Meanwhile, Trump continued to confer privately at his Bedminster golf club with a dozen visitors amid furious speculation about whom he might appoint to such critical jobs as heading the State and Defense departments. Among those who met with Trump Sunday were retired Marine Corps general John Kelly, conservative Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as well New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The president-elect also met with Hollywood power broker Ari Emanuel, who happens to be the brother of Chicago's Democratic mayor, Rahm Emanuel.
Just before 1 PM, Trump escorted Ari Emanuel to the porch. Asked by reporters how their meeting went, Trump replied, "Very good. Great guy, great friend of mine."
Bloomberg reported that Trump would meet Monday with former Texas governor Rick Perry, a one-time rival for the Republican nomination who has been mentioned as a possibility to head the Agriculture or Veterans Affairs departments, or even the Pentagon.
That said, Trump early Sunday posted a tweet calling retired Marine general James Mattis "very impressive." The two met on Saturday amid speculation Mattis could be named secretary of Defense. "A true General's General!" Trump wrote.
He also met Saturday with Mitt Romney, the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee and a fierce critic of Trump during the campaign. "He is under active consideration to be secretary of State ... along with some other distinguished Americans," Pence said Sunday.
Some Democrats were skeptical.
"A total head fake," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on CNN's State of the Union. "I think this is Donald Trump still being the entertainer, still running a show where he wants to build suspense and he alone knows who the contestant will be the winner."
In an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Reince Priebus, slated to serve as Trump's White House chief of staff, refused to rule out the establishment of a registry for Muslims, an idea endorsed by Trump in November 2015 that has raised alarm from civil libertarians and others. "Look, I'm not going to rule out anything," Priebus said. "We're not going to have a registry based on a religion (but) there are some people that are radicalized and there are some people that have to be prevented from coming into this country."