OPERATOR: Good day, and welcome to the transition briefing daily conference call. Today's conference is being recorded.
At this time, I'd like to turn the conference over to Sean Spicer and Jason Miller. Please go ahead.
SPICER: Good morning, everyone. Thanks for joining us.
We are 31 days out from the inauguration of the next president. Yesterday, as you know, the president-elect expressed his deepest condolences to the victims of the tragic events that occurred in Europe and Turkey. The president-elect is in regular contact with his national security team with regard to the developing situation in Europe and Turkey. He is closely monitoring and being briefed on these rapidly unfolding events.
The president-elect also released a statement yesterday regarding the vote by the Electoral College formally electing him as -- formally deeming him the president-elect, quote, "Today marks the historic electoral landslide in our nation's democracy. I thank the American people for their overwhelming vote to elect me as their next president of the United States. The official votes cast by the Electoral College exceed the 270 required to secure the presidency by a very large margin, far greater than anticipated by the media.
"The election represents a movement that millions of hard-working men and women all over the country stood behind and made possible. With this historic step, we can look forward to a bright future ahead. I will work hard to unite our country and be the country of all Americans. Together, we will make America great again," end quote.
SPICER: Of note, Hillary Clinton lost five electors, three to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, one to Bernie Sanders and one to Faith Spotted Eagle, which is the third defeat in a row for the Democrats. First was on election night, second was their failed recount efforts in which Mr. Trump picked up votes in states like Wisconsin. And now, yesterday was an effort by the (inaudible) that clearly went the exact opposite way.
With that, let me turn it over to Jason to go over the schedule a little bit more.
MILLER: Thank you, Sean, very much.
Today, the president-elect will hold meetings at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
His first meeting is with Mr. Luis Quinonez, the CEO of IQ Management Inc. Mr. Quinonez has been a tremendous supporter of the president-elect and the Republican National Committee. He's a business owner overseeing a multibillion dollar company related to military and health care issues with 2,200 direct medical staff and a network of 25,000 physicians and close to 8,000 pharmacists. And again, that's Mr. Luis Quinonez, Q-U-I-N-O-N-E-Z.
President-elect Trump will then be meeting with Ms. Jovita Carranza ... the founder and CEO of the JCR Group. Ms. Carranza is the former deputy administrator for the United States Small Business Administration under President George W. Bush, the former V.P. at UPS (inaudible) domestic and international business and was a member of President-elect Trump's Hispanic Advisory Council.
During the election, Ms. Carranza ran a call center out of her home doing thousands of phone calls, targeting Hispanic voters in North Carolina, where President-elect Trump received 38 percent of the Hispanic vote.
President-elect Trump's final meeting of the day is with Dr. Toby Cosgrove, the CEO and president at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Cosgrove has executive health care experience, presiding over a $5 billion health care system and is a member of the president-elect's Strategic and Policy Forum. And again, Dr. Cosgrove, last name is spelled C-O- S-G-R-O-V-E.
Today, Vice President-elect Pence will hold a series of transition meetings in Washington, D.C. that include meeting with former Education Secretary Bill Bennett. Vice President-elect Pence will then be meeting with the members of the national security team, including General Mike Flynn, General Kelly, General Mattis, KT McFarland, as well as Secretary of State Designate Rex Tillerson.
The vice president-elect will then have lunch with Rex Tillerson and then will be meeting with General Kelly and former members of Congress, Susan Combs and Kevin Brady -- oh, I'm sorry, and current House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady. And finally, the vice president-elect will be meeting with Dr. Ben Carson, our designate for HUD secretary.
MILLER: And to recap yesterday, the president-elect held meetings with Mr. Robert Lighthizer, Mr. Don Peebles, Mr. Stephen Miller, Mr. Chris Reyes and Admiral Thad Allen.
Also noting from yesterday, the president-elect nominated former U.S. Army infantry officer and current Virtu Financial founder and executive chairman Vincent "Vinnie" Viola as secretary of the Army.
Mr. Viola, as I said, is an Army veteran, a world-class businessman and a visionary leader, and he's received multiple accolades and statements of support, including from retired General Ray Odierno, former chief of staff of the Army; retired General Keith Alexander, former director of the NSA; and even Democratic U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, showing the broad appeal that Mr. Viola has for this position.
With regard to the rest of this week's schedule, President-elect Trump will remain at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach the entire week, holding meetings, and will also stay there through the Christmas holiday, spending time with the family.
Vice President-elect Pence will spend the Christmas holiday in Indiana.
And for your planning purposes, as everyone is mapping out the rest of their pre-holiday run-up here, we will hold a press call both tomorrow and Wednesday and on Thursday. There will not be a call on Friday, the 23rd or the 26th or 27th. And we'll resume then on the -- Wednesday, the 28th.
And on that, let's go ahead to open it up to a few questions.
OPERATOR: If you'd like to ask a question, you can do so by signaling with star-one on your telephone keypad. If you're using a speakerphone, please make sure your mute function is turned off to allow your signal to reach our equipment.
And again, that's star-one for questions. And we'll pause just for a moment to allow everyone the opportunity to signal for questions.
We'll take our first question from Julie Pace from the Associated Press. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Hi, guys. Thanks for doing the call. There's been a couple of questions about various charity or fund- raising efforts that the president-elect's children have been involved in. And I'm wondering if the president-elect either has set an overall policy or is looking at setting an overall policy for what his immediate family members can do when it comes to fund-raising, even if it's for charities that aren't related to politics?
MILLER: Thank you, Julie, very much.
I've not spoken yet with the president-elect on that particular issue. I'm happy to ask him and try to get back to you with an answer.
OPERATOR: We'll take our next question from Fin Gomez from Fox News. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Hey, it's Peter Doocy with Fin.
Has President-elect Trump spoken to President Obama about the terrorist attack and assassination in Europe yet? And if not, does he plan to do so?
MILLER: Thank you very much, Peter, for that. I do not know if the president-elect has spoken with the president on this particular issue. The president-elect has been in touch with his national security team -- his own national security team. But I don't have an update on President Obama. So, I'll ask on that and try to get back to you with an answer if there's anything to report.
OPERATOR: And we'll take our next question from Kathleen Walter from CBS 12, West Palm Beach. Please go ahead.
I'm wondering, will the president-elect be attending religious services to celebrate Christmas while here in Palm Beach and if so, can you give us any details on that as to exactly when and where? We know he likes to attend Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.
MILLER: Thank you very much for that question.
We had -- that question was also asked yesterday and it's my understanding that the president-elect's family is finalizing their exact plans for over Christmas itself including attending service which they did last year. So, just as soon as that is finalized then we'll make sure to share that with the press corps.
OPERATOR: And we'll take our next question from Doug Palmer from Politico Pro.
QUESTION: Hi, yeah, thanks.
We've noticed that there's been a number of people who have been sort of on the list of people thought to be considered for the U.S. trade representative. Dan DiMicco was in last week and Robert Lighthizer was in yesterday. I just wondered if you could say, you know, how far along the president-elect is in the selection process? Would you expect there to be an announcement before Christmas on that?
And does -- do you all anticipate that USTR will still be the lead negotiator for the United States when it comes in terms of negotiating trade agreements? I just ask that because I noticed in his speech that he gave in Orlando over the weekend, he talked about the billionaires or the -- or the businessmen that he'd appointed all being rich and how they would be negotiating for the United States, but those are all in other departments.
So, I just wondered if you could -- if you could clarify whether USTR or commerce or some other agency would be the lead negotiator and how far you are in the selection process for USTR.
This is an important one. As the president made his overall trade policy a pretty big -- a pretty big deal on the campaign trail and I think it's part of the reason why he was so successful, particularly as we talk about states that were traditionally viewed as democratic strongholds like Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania.
With Ms. Jovita Carranza who is coming in today, former deputy administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2006 to the end of President George W. Bush's term, she is someone who is being worked out for that position.
Some of the other names that you mentioned are also people who might be -- there are some other names that you mentioned that could possibly be in the mix, but with specific regard to Ms. Carranza, I can say that that's a position that she's being considered for.
As we talk about kind of the broader issue of how trade policy and trade negotiations will work within the administration, a lot of the details between the commerce department and the U.S. trade rep's office are still being worked out. Obviously there's certain guidelines and statutory issues, but then also certain things where the administration can come in and -- can come in and put their own footprint on how exactly the relationship will work.
MILLER: I'm previously on the record that -- as noting that Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross will ultimately direct much of the administration's trade policy at the direction of President- elect Trump. Mr. Ross not only has negotiated some very good deals over his lifetime, he's also the person who worked closely with the president-elect on crafting his trade policy over the administration, but that's someone who will be very intimately involved with setting much of the overall direction.
But I can tell you that there's no talk of the U.S. trade rep's office being merged into Commerce. That still will be its own entity and they'll still be performing all the functions that the U.S. trade rep normally would do. But Mr. Ross will be playing a big role in any trade particulars in this administration.
OPERATOR: And we'll take our next question from Lydia Beyoud from Bloomberg BNA. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Hi. It's Lydia Beyoud of Bloomberg BNA. Thanks for taking my call.
I wanted to ask if you have anything similar to what the incoming Obama team did in 2008 and 2009, called the "Tiger Team," which brought in sort of policy thinkers and a lot of the same agency landing groups that you've already designated to advise on innovation, technology, and what those policies might look like for the next administration.
Does the incoming Trump administration have some sort of larger umbrella policy advisory team for tech and telecom and innovation?
MILLER: So, with regard to the particular -- and Sean, (inaudible) if you have any detail on this one, that's not something that I've spoken with other transition team officials about, so I don't have any additional update on that one.
SPICER: Well, let me just add, you know, as you saw last week, there was all of the titans of tech came in and sat down with the president for an hour-and-a-half. I mean, that was part of that process. I mean, they were speaking directly to him about issues that can help both job creation and economic growth.
So, you know, I would suggest to you that they're speaking -- that those are conversations the president reiterated that he wanted to have that conversation continue possibly on a quarterly basis. So, at a staff level, obviously the landing teams are in the agencies, but then the -- the folks from the transition have been meeting with organizations and companies from every sector, not just tech, but they've met with health care, energy, the environment, you name it.
But there's been a constant level of discussion with organizations and companies about issues that affect them, whether it's regulation or ways that we can create more American jobs, both at the staff level and then clearly at the presidential level.
OPERATOR: We'll take our next question from Alexis Simendinger from Real Clear Politics. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Thanks very much.
Hey, Jason and Sean, in the past, transitions have -- presidents- elect have put their White House teams before they've put their Cabinets together. And in fact, transition advisers have suggested that it be done in that order. We're waiting to see more about the White House staff choices.
How soon are we going to see that? And how much time is the president-elect spending on those questions this week before Christmas?
MILLER: Thank you very much for the question.
The president-elect -- first I'd point out how well he's doing at forming this Cabinet and this administration -- how far ahead of the pace he is compared to where other administrations have been over the past 30, 40 years. In fact, I believe he's still well ahead of any other administration for where they've been, going all the way back to -- going all the way back to Carter, for example.
MILLER: So, we're very happy with the progress and the top- flight, A-list talent that's coming on board to be in the Cabinet.
At the same time, also have -- the president-elect has been working very hard to get the proper structure put together within his White House and the rest of the administration. We've had a handful of very top folks who have been announced so far. The transition team has been working around the clock to put together the rest of the staff.
I'd say I would expect you'd probably hear additional announcements on the staff front -- the administration staff front sooner rather than later. I think there's a very good likelihood there'll be additional staff announcements this week. And also, I'd -- I'd say that the schedule's a testament to the president-elect's work ethic as far as him spending this entire week continuing with meetings and meeting with team members and getting these right pieces in place.
We have full confidence that the team that's ultimately put together at the staff level will be just as impressive as the team that's put together at the Cabinet level.
OPERATOR: And we'll take our next question from Jordan Fabian from The Hill.
QUESTION: Hi, thanks for taking my call.
I wonder if you have a more specific scheduling update for when President-elect Trump will hold the news conference? I know there was some appetite yesterday to hear from him in person on the record reacting to the attacks yesterday as well to the Electoral College and as well as to (inaudible) issues.
So I know there was something out there that said he was going to do one in January, but just wondering if there's any more specific date that you can give us at this point?
MILLER: You're correct in that the president-elect will be holding a press conference in January. He's made that very clear, as have transition team officials including both Sean and myself.
As far as the exact day, that's not yet set up, but they're working to nail that down. So as soon as we have that, we'll be sure to make it publicly available. I -- I don't think it'll be tough to cover that one. I think everybody's going to know with plenty of notice on when that's going to be.
SPICER: Hey, guys. That's going to wrap up for today.
Just want to reiterate what Jason mentioned earlier in the call. Our plan is to have this briefing tomorrow, Wednesday, then Thursday, and then we will not have one on Friday, Monday, or Tuesday. We will resume the following Wednesday.
Obviously, Jason, myself, Hope Hicks remain available. If you have any questions as they come up, we will continue to try to make sure that we get out via the pool the meeting schedule the president- elect will have. And then, if you have any logistical questions for the pool, Stephanie Grisham should be -- still be onsite. So, with that, I'll see you all tomorrow.
MILLER: Great. Thank you, Sean. And thank you, everybody, for dialing in today.
OPERATOR: This does conclude today's presentation. Thank you for your participation. You may disconnect.