Chris Christie’s Hopes for R.N.C. Job Dim, but Economic Numbers Give Trump-Pence a Head Start

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President-elect Donald J. Trump is back at Trump Tower as his team takes shape.

  • He will meet with Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a Democrat who seems interested in a job in Mr. Trump’s cabinet, perhaps as the secretary of agriculture.
  • Economic numbers that will end the Obama era give Mr. Trump a leg up.
  • The search also begins for a new leader of the Republican National Committee.

Trump to White House: Thanks, Obama.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in November, while payrolls rose by 178,000, the 74th straight month of private sector gains — the longest expansion by far. Economic growth last quarter hit 3.2 percent.

Mr. Trump’s campaign painted the bleakest of portraits of the American economy, one that never really fit reality. Now, he will be taking office with a big head of steam thanks at least in part to his predecessor, President Obama.

Not the party of Reagan anymore.

Jaw-dropping quote of the morning, from Vice President-elect Mike Pence to The New York Times:

“The free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing,” Mr. Pence added, as Mr. Trump interjected, “Every time, every time.”

Passed over again?

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey may be pressing his own candidacy to be the next chairman of the Republican National Committee, but Mr. Trump, who has the final say, appears to have other ideas.

A person close to Mr. Trump said the president-elect’s allies are coalescing around Nick Ayers, a member of the transition team, to be the party’s chairman. Mercedes Schlapp, another Republican operative, is being considered for a role as co-chairwoman.

Mr. Christie called Mr. Trump to put his name forward on Thursday morning, according to Politico. That was already something of a comedown from the governor’s former job leading Mr. Trump’s transition team and his aspirations to become the attorney general.

Now even the party chairmanship, which will change hands when Reince Priebus becomes Mr. Trump’s White House chief of staff, may slip out of Mr. Christie’s reach.

Fast-food chain C.E.O. rises in cabinet talk.

Andrew Puzder, the chief executive of CKE Restaurants and a financial supporter of Mr. Trump’s campaign, has gained steam as a candidate to become the secretary of labor, according to a transition official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the process.

Mr. Puzder, whose company oversees restaurant chains such as Hardee’s, has been extremely critical of Obama administration policies, including a push for a higher minimum wage and new overtime rules for workers who are considered management, but have few managerial responsibilities.

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