At first glance the Democrat seems an unlikely counsellor, but her criticism of Obama and hard line on immigration might appeal to the president-elect
Donald Trumps unorthodox US presidential transition continued on Monday when he held talks with one of the most prominent supporters of leftwing Democrat Bernie Sanders.
The president-elects first meeting of the working day at Trump Tower in New York was with Tulsi Gabbard , a Democratic maverick who endorsed the socialist Sanders during his unsuccessful primary battle with Hillary Clinton.
Over the past few days Trump has also held talks with Mitt Romney, who once branded him a phony but is now under consideration for possible secretary of state, Ted Cruz, whom he labelled Lyin Ted during the Republican primary campaign, and Democrat Michelle Rhee, the former schools chief of Washington, who is mooted as a possible education secretary.
The celebrity tycoons aides have characterised him as a bargain manufacturer who intends to cast the net wide for diverse talents. Barack Obama has called Trump pragmatic , not an ideologue, while former secretary of state Henry Kissinger said he would be a unique chairperson because he has no obligation to any particular group. He is entertaining both loyalists and contenders, although his three appointments so far Jeff Sessions for us attorney general, Mike Pompeo for CIA chief and Michael Flynn for national security consultant have been in the former category.
At first glance Gabbard, who is from Hawaii and is the first Hindu member of the US Congress, seems an unlikely counsellor. She resigned from the Democratic National Committee to back Vermont senator Sanders and formally nominated him for chairman at the party convention in July, crediting him with starting a movement of love and compassion, although by then Clintons victory was certain.
But the Iraq war veteran has also expressed views that might appeal to Trump, criticising Obama, condemning interventionist wars in Iraq and Libya and taking a hard line on immigration. In 2014, she called for a rollback of the visa waiver programme for Britain and other European countries with what she called Islamic extremist populations.
In October last year she tweeted: Al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 and must be defeated. Obama wont bomb them in Syria. Putin did. #neverforget911. She was then among 47 Democrat who joined Republican to pass a bill mandating a stronger screening process for refugees from Iraq and Syria coming to the US.
Media reports have suggested that Trumps chief strategist Steve Bannon is an admirer of Gabbard. Last week, when 169 Democrat signed a letter condemning Bannons appointment by Trump for fostering white nationalism, she was not among them.
Trump, the former host of The Apprentice, continues to throw out hints and teases about his cabinet pickings reminiscent of a reality Tv show. We really had some great sessions, and youll be hearing about them soon, he said on Sunday.
His other meetings on Monday included talks with Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin, former Texas governor and Republican presidential rival Rick Perry, and executives and anchors from major TV networks.