PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump declared Wednesday that the deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Germany was “an attack on humanity and it’s got to be stopped.” He also suggested he might go forward with his campaign pledge to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from coming to the United States.
“All along, I’ve been proven to be right, 100 percent correct,” Trump said when asked if the attack in Berlin had caused him to reevaluate the proposal. “What’s happening is disgraceful.”
Trump proposed the Muslim ban during the Republican primary campaign, prompting criticism from both parties. He shifted his rhetoric during the general election to focus on temporarily halting immigration from an unspecified list of countries with ties to terrorism, though he did not disavow the Muslim ban.
Trump addressed reporters for less than two minutes before a meeting with incoming White House national security adviser Michael Flynn. Transition officials did not respond to questions Wednesday seeking clarification about Trump’s positions.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack in Berlin that left 12 people dead and 48 injured. On Wednesday, German officials launched a Europe-wide manhunt for a “violent and armed” Tunisian man suspected in the killings.
Trump was spending the final days of 2016 huddling with advisers at his palatial private estate in South Florida. He also met Wednesday with Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, whose company has a multi-billion dollar contract to build two new Air Force One planes.
Earlier this month, Trump said the cost of the project, which he estimated to be $4 billion, was “out of control.” Following his meeting with the president-elect, Muilenburg vowed to get the job done for less.
“We’re committed to working together to make sure that happens,” he said.
The president-elect was also finalizing his senior White House team, wrapping up a decision-making process that has been dogged by infighting among rival factions within Trump’s organization. Some of Trump’s original campaign aides have expressed concern to the president-elect himself that they are getting boxed out in favor of those more closely aligned with incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Among the early advisers who will not be joining Trump at the White House is Corey Lewandowski, his combative first campaign manager. But the operative won’t be far away — Lewandowski announced plans to start a political consulting firm with offices just a block away from the White House.
Lewandowski oversaw Trump’s campaign through the Republican primaries, but he clashed with the candidate’s family and was fired. Still, he remained close to Trump, talking with him frequently and showing up occasionally at the president-elect’s offices during the transition.
Lewandowski said he was offered “multiple opportunities” to join the administration, though people with knowledge of the process said those opportunities did not include senior positions in the West Wing.
The president-elect announced plans to hire economist Peter Navarro to run a new National Trade Council that will be housed in the White House. Navarro, author of “Death By China,” has endorsed a hard line approach toward relations with Beijing.
In a statement, the Trump transition team said the creation of the council “demonstrates the president-elect’s determination to make American manufacturing great again.”
Trump also named billionaire investor Carl Icahn as an adviser on regulatory reform, though the transition team said Icahn would not be serving as a federal government employee.
Transition officials said additional announcements on White House jobs were expected this week.
Trump opened his day by boasting anew about his Nov. 8 election victory, tweeting that his win in the Electoral College was more difficult to pull off than winning the popular vote would have been if he had tried. Democrat Hillary Clinton won at least 2.6 million more votes than Trump, an apparent sore point for the president-elect. “
“I would have done even better in the election, if that is possible, if the winner was based on popular vote – but would campaign differently,” he tweeted.