A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Weekly Washington Wrap
Picking Pelosi – Democrats in the House are sticking with the same, reelecting Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi by a vote of 134-63. The liberal San Francisco lawmaker and former House speaker was challenged by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) who, in the wake of the 2016 election results, argued that younger members who appealed to voters from middle America looking for a more inclusive economic message were key to Democrats’ future electoral success. Pelosi has led the House Democrats for 13 years. She was the first female speaker of the House, from 2007 to 2011, and she served as whip before then. Since the midterm elections of 2010, two years after Barack Obama was elected to the White House, Democrats have lost an historic number of Congressional seats.
Recounting History – It was only weeks ago that Hillary Clinton claimed it was “horrifying” when Donald Trump left open the possibility that he might reject the election outcome. Said Clinton then, “Let's be clear about what he is saying and what that means: He is denigrating, he is talking down our democracy and I for one am appalled that someone who is the nominee for one of our two major parties would take that position.” Well, now that she is no longer the nominee and Trump is the unexpected president-elect, Mrs. Clinton, as well as the mainstream media who relentlessly skewered Trump pre-election, apparently no longer find the prospect of challenging the election results quite so “appalling” as Clinton is agreeing to participate in recount efforts in Wisconsin. Spearheaded by the Green Party which is raising funds off the effort, experts including the White House, nonetheless say there is no evidence that the vote was compromised and predict the election results will not change. Clinton supporters claim she is not being hypocritical in the recount arguing that while Trump was suggesting widespread election corruption, Mrs. Clinton is simply “following another group's effort to answer questions about the vote in Wisconsin that may or may not be warranted.”
Dealin’ Donald – President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence today are headed to Pence’s home state of Indiana (where Pence is still the governor until he’s sworn-in as veep) to announce that the Carrier plant in Indianapolis will keep jobs there instead of moving them to Mexico. Carrier, a big air-conditioner company, had planned to move more than 2,000 jobs from Indiana to south of the border. But later today, Trump and Pence will announce a deal at Carrier’s Indianapolis factory to keep roughly 1,000 jobs in the state in exchange for keeping campaign promises to be friendlier to businesses by easing regulations and overhauling the corporate tax code. The state of Indiana is also expected to give economic incentives to Carrier as part of the deal.
Diversity Donald – President-elect Donald Trump appointed another woman to his cabinet this week. Former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao was announced Tuesday as Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Transportation. Chao, who ran the Labor Department under President George W. Bush, is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the first Asian-American woman to hold a Cabinet-level position. She joins Seema Verma, a health care consultant from Indiana who is Trump’s choice to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That's the part of HHS that oversees Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program and has a budget of just under a trillion dollars in 2016. Verma, an Indian-American, comes to the job with extensive Medicaid experience. Her consulting firm, SVC, Inc., worked closely with Governor Pence to design Indiana's Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, also a woman of Indian ancestry, was appointed by Trump last week to serve as US Ambassador to the United Nations. Your former US Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, fielded many reporter calls on the Haley pick. Wilkins was speaker of the SC House when Haley began her legislative career and he later served as chairman of her new government’s transition team when she was elected governor in 2010.
Here’s how FOX Carolina played it last week:
In 2010, voters elected then, State Representative Nikki Haley, as the first female Governor of South Carolina. Through the years, Haley has topped headlines and national newscasts.
"She's met a lot of crisis head on as governor," Ambassador David Wilkins said…"She has the ability to bring people together and I think that's the perfect combination for a U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.," Wilkins said. He understands the role of U.S. Ambassador. President George Bush named the former South Carolina Speaker of the House, U.S. Ambassador to Canada back in 2005...
The announcement came Wednesday that President-elect Donald Trump had named Haley U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
"I think it's an inspired choice," said Wilkins…"She'll advocate the position of the United States and try to convince others that's the position they ought to have," Wilkins explained. "She'll listen to others and go back to the President, back to the White House and say- 'Let me tell you what they're saying in Canada,'" Wilkins said. "You've got experts around you. What you need to do is be able to espouse those issues."
He says the ambassador position is an honor. "It prompted me to work hard, try harder to the absolute nth degree on anything I was doing because I didn't want to let my country down."
Ohio Terror – President Obama’s press secretary Josh Earnest said this week while “there is plenty of available evidence” to suggest Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somali refugee, carried out an act of terrorism after attacking several people with a knife on Monday at Ohio State University, Earnest said he “may” have been motivated by extremism and notes the investigation is continuing. 18-year-old Ratan plowed his car into a group of people on campus and then began slashing them with a butcher’s knife. A campus police officer killed Artan at the site of the terror attack. On Tuesday, ISIS claimed Artan was a “soldier” of the Islamic State.
Wilkins Workin’ Washington
David Wilkins spent the majority of his week in Washington working it like only Wilkins can with wall to wall meetings.
It was good to see a number of great Canadians and Americans in our nation’s capital city including Gitane De Silva, Alberta’s representative in the US.
With the incoming Trump presidency the one and only topic of official Washington, Wilkins was honored to enjoy lunch with Ed McMullen who’s playing a key role on President-elect Trump’s transition team. While in DC, it is always wonderful to catch up with Senator Lindsey Graham and his team.
Wilkins also met with Canada’s Ambassador to the US, David MacNaughton, as well as our old friend Jim Dickmeyer, the former US Consul General in Toronto who is now with the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center. And it’s always good to see Patrick Kilbride and our friends at the United States Chamber of Commerce.
So lots of worthwhile meetings and business but you can bet Wilkins is ready for the weekend – not because he’s ready to rest – but because he’s ready to rumble! Read on!
First Chickens Now Turkeys!
So last week we told you that intra-state braggin’ rights were on the line when Wilkins’ Clemson Tigers football team played their annual rivalry game against the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
Well, it wasn’t pretty – for the Gamecocks.
The Tigers fried them chickens 56-7, topping their rivals for the third straight time and putting Clemson on the path to this Saturday and the ACC title game where they’re facing a more fearsome flock in the Virginia Tech Hokies. (Editor’s note: According to the Internet – which means it has to be right – “The official definition of "hokie" is "a loyal Virginia Tech Fan.” The “hokie” evolved from a “HokieBird” which evolved from a turkey. Virginia Tech teams were once called the "gobblers!”)
At any rate, the big game will be played down in Orlando, Florida. Virginia Tech is ranked #19 in the country, and the Clemson Tigers – featuring Heisman hopeful star QB Deshaun Watson (who rocked it last Saturday, just sayin’…)— are currently ranked #3 in the US.
The Tigers need to eat some turkey Saturday to keep the dream alive of playing again for a shot at the national championship. It all goes down 8 pm on ABC TV.
Wilkins will be there and you’ll read all about it in the next edition of your Carolina-Canada Connections (but only if Clemson wins, of course.)
Speaking of champions, Team Wilkins is sending out big congrats to our ol’ hometown peeps in Ottawa as you celebrate your national champs – the Redblacks! Wahoo and here’s to the Grey Cup!
They Said What?
- “Disgraceful. Why do young socialists idolize totalitarian tyrants? Castro, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot – all evil, torturing murderers. #truth,” – Texas Senator Ted Cruz responding to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “deep sorrow” statement mourning the death of Cuba’s dictator Fidel Castro.
- “Osama Bin Laden was certainly a controversial figure, but his contribution to airport security is unparalleled. #TrudeauEulogies,” – tweet by “Deplorable Michael” as part of the trending #TrudeauEulogies in response to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s tribute to the Cuban dictator.
- "I had a wonderful evening with President-elect Trump. We had another discussion about affairs throughout the world and these discussions I've had with him have been enlightening, and interesting, and engaging. I've enjoyed them very, very much,” – Former Massachusetts governor and Trump rival Mitt Romney, said to be in the running for Trump’s secretary of state, after a dinner meeting with the president-elect this week.
- “Thanks for advice David Frum. Saw video of you on CBC election night saying Trump trying to win “solidly Dem” Michigan was “delusional,’” – Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway’s tweet responding to David Frum, senior editor of The Atlantic, after Frum recommended via Twitter that the Trump transition not discount Americans who are questioning the election results.
- “Media credibility is very low, and not just the media, but the para-media... the pundits, the consultants, all the people who miscalled this election from day one, really ought to be ashamed of themselves. The truth is that a lot of what they told us was social science, numbers-based analysis, was just advocacy. They were lying. They had strong preferences, and they allowed those preferences to color their interpretation of what was going to happen…they're not admitting it, which is infuriating to me,” – FOX News’ Tucker Carlson on the image of the media in the wake of the 2016 election.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.