WASHINGTON AND NEW YORK —
Outside New York's Trump Tower, at the cross section of Fifth Avenue and 56th Street, heated shouting matches warmed an otherwise frosty morning as supporters of a three-state vote recount joined Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in a rally to ensure an "accurate, secure and fair" vote.
"We are here to assure Donald Trump that there is nothing to be afraid of,” said Stein. “If you believe in democracy, if you believe in the credibility of your victory, put down your arms, end your bureaucratic obstruction, end your intimidation and join we the people of America who are calling for a democracy that serves all of us and elections that we can trust."
Protesters interrupted and taunted the group of supporters with shouts and signage. "Illegal voting, far left crybabies, Stein will not change outcome: President Trump on January 20, 2017!!” read one woman’s sign.
“You’re delusional!” yelled a supporter in response.
A judge has ordered that a hand recount begin in Michigan, one of three battleground states that Stein contends may have been hacked due to aging voting machines. Similarly, she is pushing for a federal court order to enact a recount in Pennsylvania.
"As voters, we need to make sure that democracy is not being in any way hindered and that our votes are being counted correctly," said Rachel Desario, a Clinton supporter who attended Monday’s rally.
Still, others see Stein’s effort as a waste of money and time.
"We all get a chance to vote," said Pim Couch, a tourist from Texas. “Everyone did. And now we need to move on.”
Cabinet picks continue
Inside Trump Tower, the president-elect resumed the process of forming his government.
On Monday, he picked one of his former Republican rivals, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, to be his housing and urban development chief. Trump said Monday that Carson "has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities. We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities."
Carson, 65, has no expertise in housing policy but spent part of his childhood living in public housing, which the Department of Housing and Urban Development oversees. In the past, he has voiced opposition to government programs that encourage what he says is "dependency," and has touted the virtues of individual effort in becoming successful.
Carson briefly led Trump in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, but support for him waned and he eventually dropped out and endorsed Trump. He is the first African-American Trump has named to his cabinet.
Carson's appointment, like those of Trump's other cabinet selections for his new administration, must be confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is "confident [Carson's] lifelong career of selfless service will be a positive addition to the incoming administration."
But Nancy Pelosi, leader of the minority Democrats in the House of Representatives, called Carson's appointment a "disconcerting and disturbingly unqualified choice," saying there was "no evidence" that he has "the necessary credentials" to lead the housing agency.
Carson's appointment came as the president-elect continued to meet in New York with other possible cabinet members, with a spokesman saying more selections will be announced this week.
Choice for top diplomat widens
Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who ignored reporters’ questions on possible picks for secretary of state upon arriving Monday at Trump Tower, instead praised the president-elect for his “speed and decisiveness” in formulating his cabinet. He added that the American people “are rightfully encouraged and impressed."
Trump is still weighing his choice for secretary of state, the country's top foreign affairs post, but aides said that choice may not come until next week. Trump appeared last week to have narrowed his list to four names: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, losing 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former Central Intelligence Agency chief David Petraeus and Tennessee Senator Bob Corker. But he also interviewed former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and is talking to several others as well, including retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis, ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson, and former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman.
Huntsman, who has an adopted Chinese daughter and is fluent in Mandarin, is a significant and timely prospect by the president-elect. Trump was criticized over the weekend for accepting a congratulatory call from the president of Taiwan — a move widely considered a snub to China and a risk to Sino-U.S. relations.
Trump talks climate change
Trump also met with former Democratic Vice President Al Gore, who said he had a "lengthy and very productive" meeting with the president-elect. Gore, a leading global advocate for controlling the effects of man-made climate change, called the discussions a "sincere search for common ground."
"I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued, and I'm just going to leave it at that," Gore said.
Trump has called man-made climate change a hoax, but said recently that he has an open mind on continued U.S. compliance with the worldwide Paris climate pact that took effect a month ago.
Meanwhile, Trump continued his attacks Monday on one of his favorite targets, the U.S. news media, although he did not say what story had drawn his ire.
"If the press would cover me accurately & honorably," he tweeted, "I would have far less reason to 'tweet.' Sadly, I don't know if that will ever happen!"
White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas contributed to this report.