Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI
Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI

While US President Donald Trump rails against the media, he made a major concession in his pick for labour secretary — and got turned down by his choice to replace his top security adviser.

Oh, and Ford has made a U-turn on its U-turn on its plans to build new factories in Mexico.

The media

Trump insisted there was "zero chaos" in his crisis-buffeted White House and railed against enemies in the media, politics and the courts on Thursday, in a meandering first solo news conference.

The US president vented frustrations, insisted he was "not a bad person" and wondered out loud about a "nuclear holocaust", in a remarkable one hour, 16 minute ask-me-anything appearance.

Russia

Trump dismissed a growing controversy about ties between his aides and Russia as a "ruse" and a "scam" perpetrated by the hostile news media, and denied any of his associates had contacts with Moscow before last year’s election.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, at Nato headquarters in Brussels, said he did not see the conditions for military collaboration with Russia — a blow to Moscow’s hopes for repairing ties with the US following Trump’s election.

Ford

Mexico City — Ford is sticking with its plan to build two new factories in Mexico, despite an announcement in January that it had scrapped plans for a plant in the central state of San Luis Potosi — which followed pressure from Trump.

The US car maker said a factory planned for the central state of Guanajuato would build engines and transmissions, while another in the northern city of Chihuahua would make car parts for use by Ford factories in the US, South America and Asia.

Security

Trump said he would issue a new executive order to replace his controversial directive suspending travel to the US by citizens of seven mostly Muslim countries.

Cabinet and administration

Trump announced his new choice to lead the labour department, former National Labor Relations Board member Alexander Acosta, after his original pick withdrew under congressional pressure.

Meanwhile, Trump’s choice for national security adviser, retired Vice-Adm Robert Harward, turned down the offer, a senior White House official said.

The Senate moved closer to approving Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency even as nearly 800 former officials urged the chamber to reject the nominee.

US-Israel

The US ambassador to the UN said the US still supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a day after Trump suggested he was open to new ways to achieve peace.

Trump’s uttering the phrase "one-state" — rather than a two-state solution to the conflict, the bedrock of international diplomacy for two decades — took him to a place in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where past presidents feared to tread.

Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Israel faces repeated heckling at a Senate confirmation hearing before apologising for his stinging criticism of liberal American Jews and promising to be less inflammatory in an official capacity.

Supreme Court

The confirmation hearing for Trump’s US Supreme Court nominee, conservative federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch, would begin on March 20, the panel’s Republican chairman said.

Immigration

Businesses shut their doors, students skipped class and thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in cities across the US on Thursday to protest against Trump’s immigration policies.

Healthcare

Trump and Republicans in Congress said they would soon unveil plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, providing a timeframe for a legislative goal they have struggled with for weeks.

Europe

Vice-President Mike Pence will bear the responsibility of assuring Europe this weekend that the US is a reliable ally despite the Trump administration’s "America First" strategy of a hard line on Nato contributions and trade relations.

Reuters, Bloomberg and AFP

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