Donald Trump makes U-turn to praise ‘passion’ of protesters

Donald Trump  with wife Melania at the Capitol in Washington. Picture: Getty Images
Donald Trump with wife Melania at the Capitol in Washington. Picture: Getty Images
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President-elect Donald Trump yesterday rowed back on criticism of thousands of protesters staging demonstrations around the US over his shock election victory.

Mr Trump had denounced the protesters in a sternly worded tweet, questioning their right to assemble. He wrote: “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!”

Together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding this nation – specifically jobs, security and opportunity.

President-elect Donald Trump

But in the latest example of Mr Trump’s uncharacteristic conciliatory tone, he took to the social network yesterday to praise those taking part in the protests.

“Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country,” he wrote. “We will all come together and be proud!”

In Portland, hundreds of people marched throughout the city as protests turned violent, with people smashing store windows and lighting firecrackers.

Police declared a riot, said there were people with baseball bats in the crowd and told marchers via loudspeaker to move on.

Oregon department of transportation officials closed portions of Interstate 5 and Interstate 84 in the area intermittently as a precaution.

It comes as politicians from across the divide have appealed for calm and unity in the wake of Mr Trump’s election. President Barack Obama, one of the controversial magnate’s most withering critics during the election campaign, said his priority was to “facilitate a transition that ensures our president-elect is successful”.

However, not everyone has followed suit. Harry Reid, the Democrats’ outgoing leader in the Senate, said Mr Trump’s victory had “emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry”, adding that it “does not feel like America”.

Mr Trump spent yesterday in New York discussing who to appoint to his cabinet once he takes the oath of office in January,

It was confirmed yesterday that vice-president-elect Mike Pence will lead president-elect Trump’s transition team, replacing New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Mr Christie was once tipped as Mr Trump’s running mate but their relationship became strained.

Mr Trump choice of his transition chairman was his biggest staffing announcement since he won the election. Mr Christie will now serve as vice-chairman and will be joined on the executive committee by former house speaker Newt Gingrich, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Alabama senator Jeff Sessions.

In a statement, it was confirmed that more than a dozen other people will advise Mr Trump on transition issues, a group that includes three of the 70-year-old’s children – Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka – as well as Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus and former Breitbart news executive Steve Bannon.

The newspaper proprietor Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband, is also part of the team. He played a significant role in Mr Trump’s campaign and was spotted at the White House on Thursday as Mr Trump met Mr Obama to discuss the transition of power.

The statement from Mr Trump said that Mr Pence would “build on the initial work” carried out by Mr Christie in recent months, adding: “Together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding this nation – specifically jobs, security and opportunity.”