Essential Politics: A transition in transition

Essential Politics: A transition in transition

Donald Trump put out a Twitter tease about his Cabinet picks. He met with Sen. Ted Cruz. He even went out for a steak dinner. But one week after the Republican won the presidency, the transition team had yet to discuss even basic elements of the government handoff with key players at the Pentagon, the State Department and other vital agencies, in large part because of a delay in signing the paperwork dictating the nuts and bolts of the process.

I'm Christina Bellantoni. Welcome to Essential Politics.


As some key players drop out of the transition picture, Lisa Mascaro and Noah Bierman report that it appears Trump's shoot-from-the-hip style is informing his approach to the handoff of power.

As Cathleen Decker writes, uncertainty reigns as the transition gets underway, because Trump came into office riding the anger of an electorate whose resentments he correctly assessed, rather than because Americans fully embraced his policy positions. There were in fact few of those, and mostly without details.

Late Tuesday, that paperwork to get the ball rolling finally arrived at the White House, allowing the Obama administration to formally start collaborating with the incoming team. And Congress came back to town with Republicans hailing Trump and promising to get to work.

Still, don't be fooled by the "Make America Great Again" hats — some deep divisions remain between the GOP Congress and the next president.


Ben Carson is sitting this one out. The retired neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate won't be joining Trump's new cabinet, a longtime advisor said. The reason? Carson doesn't believe he has enough experience to run a federal agency.

Also out of the transition: former Rep. Mike Rogers and Eliot Cohen, who had been a conservative critic of the GOP nominee.

Get the latest about the Trump transition on Trail Guide and follow @latimespolitics.


Retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) filed legislation Tuesday to abolish the Electoral College in light of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote but still losing the election.

Sarah Wire reports that such legislation makes a statement after an election that shocked Democrats, but is unlikely to gain traction with Republicans holding control of both chambers of Congress in a lame-duck session.

California Rep. Judy Chu on Tuesday urged the Obama administration to protect the names of "Dreamers," people brought to the country illegally as children who applied for temporary status in the United States, before Trump takes office.

At the state government level, the California Legislative Women's Caucus is vowing to fight Trump on abortion and healthcare issues.



House Republicans elected California's Kevin McCarthy to remain as their majority leader on Tuesday, as House Democrats pushed back their elections amid a possible challenge to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The California freshmen will get to vote on the party's next congressional leaders. Wire introduces you to the six newest members, who are in Washington this week for orientation.

For news on California politics and campaigns throughout the day, keep an eye on our Essential Politics news feed.


The Los Angeles Times on Thursday will look back at the election and look ahead to what the Trump administration might mean for California.

We've got a hot lineup of lawmakers, political consultants and your favorite members of our political team. The symposium will be held in downtown Los Angeles. Reserve your free tickets here.


-- We examine what Trump's policies could be on contraceptives covered by the Affordable Care Act, as California doctors and Planned Parenthood offices report that in the last week an increased number of women have asked about IUDs. The devices are inserted once and some types could even outlast a two-term Trump presidency. Google Trends shows more searches for "IUD" on Nov. 10 than in the previous 90 days.

-- A Republican assemblywoman who tweeted a link to a hoax story about violent anti-Trump protesters changed her mind on Tuesday, deleting the tweet and saying she's sorry.

-- As many as 4 million ballots remain uncounted across California, with two statewide propositions still too close to call.

-- Members of the Erotic Services Providers Union delivered petitions to Gov. Jerry Brown in support of decriminalizing sex work.

-- As Trump threatens to roll back some environmental regulations, state Senate leader Kevin de León is leading a delegation of seven other state officials to a conference in Morocco on climate change.


-- We report on what might happen in California's sanctuary cities.

-- At the start of his foreign trip, President Obama said he didn't see Trump's victory as a rejection of his own worldview.

-- Jessica Roy has tips for how to keep fake news out of your social feeds.


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7:15 a.m.: This article was updated to accurately reflect the number of new members in Washington this week.

This article was originally published at 3 a.m.