A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Weekly Washington Wrap
Presidential Speak – President Donald Trump delivered his first address to Congress Tuesday night and put flesh on the bones to his agenda. In an upbeat address that was judged positively by a whopping 70 percent of those who heard it according to immediate post-speech polls, majorities of Americans overall approved the President’s vision Tuesday night for the military, trade, foreign policy, the budget deficit, and taxes – as well as his plans to build roads and bridges.
Markets Dig It – The US markets also liked what they heard and vaulted to fresh highs early Wednesday in the wake of the President’s address to a joint session of Congress. Some pundits say the overall tone combined with the lack of protectionist comments instilled confidence among investors, sending global equity markets higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading in record territory above 21,000, after surging more than 300 points.
Commerce Confirmed – Meanwhile, the man who will be a key player in our country’s economic health and recovery was confirmed by the Senate on Monday. 79-year-old Wilbur Ross made his name as a private equity investor and is a billionaire. As our new Commerce Secretary, his portfolio will now include responsibilities ranging from the Patent and Trademark Office to the Census Bureau and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Interior Insider – And yesterday, President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of the Interior, Montana Republican Representative Ryan Zinke, was confirmed by the Senate on a 68-31 vote. Zinke will now be responsible for more than 400 million acres of public land. The 55-year-old former US Navy Seal vowed to clear the estimated $12 billion backlog in maintenance and repair at national parks and to stand firm against pressure to sell or transfer federal lands. He’s also a steadfast supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline project.
No Complaining! – Speaking of the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada, the company building the project, has dropped the $15 billion NAFTA complaint it filed against the US last year, the company announced this week. TransCanada filed the complaint in January 2016 after the Obama administration killed its plans for the Keystone XL pipeline but now says it is no longer seeking damages through the trade agreement's dispute resolution process. On the second day of his new administration, President Donald Trump breathed life back into the project that Obama let languish for seven long years before finally rejecting it.
Wilkins Workin’ It!
It’s been just the typical whirlwind week in the life of your former US ambassador to Canada. Monday found David Wilkins in magnificent Montreal for meetings of the Resolute Forest Products Board.
Champions in the Capital City!
By Tuesday morning he had made it to Columbia, South Carolina, the capital city and home of the historic statehouse – Wilkins’ stomping grounds for 25 years where he served as a member of the House of Representatives – 11 of those years as speaker of the House. (Editor’s note: Savvy Carolina-Canada Connections readers know Wilkins only stepped down as speaker in 2005 to fly up to Canada that summer and become US ambassador to Canada.)
Wilkins was back in the House for the best of all reasons – to help celebrate the annual Clemson Day at the Statehouse. And this year was extra special because as everyone who has ever read this newsletter knows, Wilkins’ beloved Clemson football team just happened to win a National Championship title in January. (Editor’s note: In case it slipped your mind, Clemson beat powerhouse Alabama 35-31 in an epic, final second, for-the-history-books win.)
So because it was such a big deal, Clemson head football coach, Dabo Swinney, was honored with a rare address to a Joint Legislative Session where he gave a rousing speech to members of both the House and Senate. He was joined at the statehouse by members of the football team as well as key Clemson administration, staff, and board members including Wilkins.
And in an unexpected and especially thoughtful gesture, former Governor Nikki Haley (who is now our UN ambassador) and a Clemson grad herself, left behind a gift of Clemson flags that had been flown atop the statehouse following the championship win. They were presented to Wilkins, Clemson Board Chair Smyth McKissick, Coach Swinney, and Clemson President Jim Clements Tuesday afternoon.
Flyin’ the colors – proud Clemson family receives Clemson flags that flew over the South Carolina statehouse after the Tigers’ championship win.
Here are some other cool photos from a great day:
Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney and his most loyal fan, David Wilkins, at the South Carolina Statehouse Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Sam Holland, SC House
A sign of the times! Clemson Day celebrated at the Statehouse! Photo courtesy of Sam Holland, SC House
On to DC
The very next morning Wilkins was up in Washington, DC for two very busy days of meetings. It was great to see Canada’s Ambassador to the US David MacNaughton, as well as our good friends, Elizabeth Dial Pinkerton and Britton Clark.
Tomorrow, Wilkins will be back in Greenville, SC and is honored to be introducing South Carolina’s new governor – but longtime statesman – Henry McMaster to a gathering of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce.
Lectures on Leadership
Last Thursday evening, your former US ambassador to Canada and Susan Wilkins enjoyed a fabulous evening at the University of South Carolina where David Wilkins was honored to be the featured speaker at the Donald S. Russell Lecture – the annual signature event of the South Carolina Political Collections held at the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library.
In a sometimes funny, sometimes poignant presentation, Wilkins covered the topic of leadership and mentioned such distinguished Canadians as our good friend and esteemed Canadian, General Rick Hillier, as well as the valiant and brave Holocaust survivor David Shentow and his wonderful wife, Rose, who hail from Ottawa.
Wilkins shares with key South Carolina leaders what leadership means to him and leaders who’ve impacted him the most through the years.
Wilkins covered his days leading the South Carolina House of Representatives and of course, recalled the day former Governor Mark Sanford carried his two now infamous piggy friends, Pork and Barrel, to the statehouse doors – always good for a few laughs!
He also shared with the crowd memories of his visit with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and his admiration of the tremendous leadership example former Governor Nikki Haley and former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley offered our state in the dark days following the 2015 Charleston church shooting.
They Said What?
- “We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, widow of a US Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William ‘Ryan’ Owens. Ryan died as he lived: a warrior and a hero — battling against terrorism and securing our nation…Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity. Thank you,” – President Donald Trump delivering an emotional and touching tribute to the wife of fallen Navy Seal Ryan Owens in his Tuesday night address to Congress.
- “I love you, baby,” – the words Carryn Owens appeared to whisper to heaven during the more than two minute long applause and standing ovation she received in the House Chamber Tuesday night as President Trump paid tribute to her fallen hero husband.
- “He became President of the United States in that moment. Period,” – CNN analyst, former Obama staffer and frequent Trump critic, Van Jones, regarding Trump’s eloquent recognition of Navy Seal widow Carryn Owens Tuesday night.
- "I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. … Power can be very addictive. We need an independent media to hold people like me to account,” – former President George W. Bush on NBC’s Today Show Monday.
- “Yes, we agree wholeheartedly. But President Bush seemed to imply today's media were fulfilling that role. They aren't. And there's no better example than Bush's own two terms in office…the media spent much of Bush's eight years in office actively lying about what he was doing and what he was trying to do…the media consistently mischaracterized Bush's actions (in Iraq), and served as a willing mouthpiece for the "Bush lied, people died" mantra of the left…Likewise, the media outright lied about what happened during Hurricane Katrina, painting a picture of an out-of-touch, racist chief executive who didn't really care about the deaths of African Americans from the ravaging floodwaters,” – Investor’s Business Daily editorial opining this week on Bush’s Today Show remarks.
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.