SPECIAL HOLIDAY AND YEAR END WRAP UP
A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Just like all of our faithful Carolina-Canada Connections readers, we hope, Team Wilkins is getting ready to wind down a bit, recharge our batteries, spend some coveted time with beloved family and friends, and simply enjoy this sacred time of the year.
And did we mention eat? Oh man, eat – a lot!
So on behalf of all of us – whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah or Christmas – we wish you God’s special blessings and a peaceful and prosperous 2017!
We’ll hit the New Year running with Team Wilkins attending the Inauguration of our new president and lots to report from Washington, DC.
And if your former US ambassador is really, really lucky – the New Year will bring with it a Fiesta Bowl win for his Clemson Tigers who play on New Year’s Eve. (Editor’s note: If the Tigers beat Ohio State on December 31, it would mean another shot at the national championship title!)
So you keep your fingers crossed for a Tigers win and we’ll keep you posted (if they win!)
Until then, God bless all y’all!
A Grand Christmas! David and Susan Wilkins and their wondergrandtwins, Whit and Clary Wilkins.
Weekly Washington Wrap
Mighty Markets – The mainstream media continues to pound him but the markets sure seem to love him. Stocks have risen sharply since President-elect Donald Trump's shock victory as optimism surges around the hopes of reduced regulations and tax cuts after eight years of the Obama administration. Since the November 8 election, the major indexes have risen at least 4.5 percent, with the small-caps Russell 2000 soaring more than 15 percent. The Dow, meanwhile, has posted 15 record closes since then and gains in 21 of the past 25 sessions.
Meanwhile, Rates Raising – Yesterday, Federal Reserve officials raised interest rates for the first time this year and forecast a steeper path for borrowing costs in 2017. The widely expected decision moved the Fed’s benchmark rate to a range of 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent. The decision marked only the second time since the financial crisis of 2008 that the Fed has raised the rate citing an improved economic outlook. President-elect Trump has accused Fed Chair Janet Yellen of keeping rates low to help Democrats, a charge she denied.
Cut the Counting – President-elect Donald Trump simply picked up more votes as the Clinton-supported, Green Party-pushed bid to contest the presidential outcome with targeted recounts ended, once again this week, in defeat. Trump’s Wisconsin victory was reaffirmed Monday following a recount that showed him besting Democrat Hillary Clinton by more than 22,000 votes – Trump actually picked up a net 162 votes in the recount. Meanwhile, a federal judge issued a stinging rejection of Green Party Jill Stein’s request to recount paper ballots in Pennsylvania's presidential election and scan some counties' election systems for signs of hacking. Michigan’s recount was also blocked by the courts. Stein only got about 1 percent of the vote in each of the states that Trump narrowly won on his way to the White House. She argued, without a shred of evidence, that voting machines in all three states were susceptible to hacking. The Judge in Pennsylvania said Stein’s suspicion’s “borders on the irrational."
New Administration Picks of the Week
Rex Tillerson – The ExxonMobil CEO is President-elect Trump’s pick for the United States Secretary of State. Tillerson is said to have come to the President-elect’s attention through the recommendations of former Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The 64-year-old Tillerson began his career at Exxon in 1975 as an engineer, rising through the ranks and becoming president and director in 2004 and CEO two years later. He was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, and studied civil engineering at the University of Texas.
Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) – The longest-serving governor in Texas history is now on board to become the new United States Secretary of Energy. Perry served as Texas governor from December 2000 to January 2015. (He was elected lieutenant governor of Texas in 1998 and became governor in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become president.) DOE has nearly 13,000 employees and is responsible for nuclear weapons, nuclear power for the U.S. Navy, waste disposal, funding energy technology, overseeing federally-run labs and transmitting electricity. The Trump transition is questioning the agency’s work on global warming issues and inquiring about ways DOE could keep aging nuclear reactors online. (Editor’s note: David Wilkins served as chairman of Perry’s South Carolina campaign when he ran for president in 2012.)
As always, your former US ambassador to Canada is making sure to make the most out of every minute while some of us have already begun to make merry. Last week found Wilkins in Toronto and Ottawa, and this week finds him even deeper up in the wintery wonderlands of Canada – in snowy, but glorious, Saint-Félicien, Quebec. He’s up there for board meetings for Resolute Forest Products.
South Carolina’s top newspaper, The State, did a lengthy profile last week on Governor Nikki Haley as she prepares for her Senate confirmation as Trump’s pick to be the next US ambassador to the United Nations.
Under the headline, “The Education of Nikki Haley”, The State took a long look at how South Carolina’s governor is prepping for the biggest diplomatic job in the land – and what your former US ambassador to Canada had to say about the whole process he faced himself a decade ago on his way up to Ottawa.
Here’s a few key excerpts from last Sunday’s piece:
COLUMBIA — Before a S.C. governor steps on a plane for a foreign economic development trip, he or she first spends weeks studying a thick briefing book, prepared by the state Department of Commerce.
There are dossiers on corporate officials the governor will meet, plus a rundown of the company’s history, its relationship with the United States and South Carolina, the jobs it could bring and the specifics of its potential investment in the Palmetto State.
In some cases, the governor gets a tutorial on the country’s social norms: Businessmen in the Far East present their business cards with two hands and a bow, and it is an affront in some cultures to stop drinking before the host…
Until now, those trips have served as the bulk of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s foreign policy experience: eight visits to seven countries, helping attract more than $13 billion in overseas investment in the Palmetto State since 2011, according to the state Commerce Department.
That means President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has work to do before her Senate confirmation hearing, expected in January.
Haley’s office is tight-lipped on how she is preparing…
‘Drinking from a fire hose’…
Since her nomination, Haley has reached out to David Wilkins, a Greenville attorney who was U.S. ambassador to Canada under former President George W. Bush, and spoken with (Senator Lindsey) Graham.
Graham said he talked to Haley about his views on the Middle East. But neither he nor (David) Wilkins would go into detail on their discussions with the governor.
“We’ve had a couple of conversations about following your instincts, relying on (your staff),” Wilkins said. “There’s no way you cannot feel overwhelmed at first, but it’ll all come to you.”
Prospective ambassadors, typically, receive an intense “crash course” from U.S. State Department officials, several former ambassadors said last week.
That usually starts with a two-week “ambassadors’ school” on everything from State Department jargon – DCH stands for “deputy chief of mission,” for example – to how to handle different document classifications, speak with media and run an embassy.
“It’s like drinking from a fire hose to start with because there’s so much being thrown at you,” Wilkins said…“She is very qualified,” said Wilkins, the former ambassador to Canada. “She’s a quick study. She’s smart. She’s got good people skills. She’s a very good communicator. She’s dealt with officials. She’s handled crises. All those skills she honed as a governor are very transferable.”
They Said What?
- "The United States and Canada both need this vital pipeline. Keystone XL would improve US competitiveness, it would increase North American energy security and it would strengthen the relationship with one of our most important allies and most valued trading partners. But approval of the pipeline has been taken out of the hands of experienced career officials, and it has become a tool of political manipulation,” – President-elect Donald Trump’s Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson in a speech to the Economic Club of Washington, DC, last year, as quoted by the Canadian Press this week.
- “The final Wisconsin vote is in and guess what - we just picked up an additional 131 votes. The Dems and Green Party can now rest. Scam!” – President-elect Donald Trump tweet after Wisconsin confirmed that Trump not only won the state but won with additional votes after the recount.
- "…we're talking about a candidate who's lost in a historic way in terms of the popular vote but clearly won in the Electoral College. Is this something of a national emergency? And are journalists afraid to say so because they're going to sound partisan?” – CNN’s media analyst Brian Stelter in a discussion regarding the President-elect and allegations that the Russians wanted Trump to win the White House.
- “Because they can’t handle the truth, they are turning their tantrums into a witch hunt and wild conspiracy theories. The sudden fascination with fake news and Russian hacking reveals only their rage against reality,” – New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin on the mainstream media and some Democrats’ focus on “fake news” and waging an on-going campaign to undermine the incoming administration.
- “Mr. Trump has not said one word against blacks. Not a single syllable. He has not said one word against gays. Not a peep. The charge that he’s an anti-Semite is a bad joke. His son-in-law is an orthodox Jew. His daughter converted to Judaism, with Trump’s blessing. They love him in Israel…Yes, he has spoken too forcefully about illegal immigrants, perhaps. But they’re illegal…And yes, he should not have talked the way he did about women and fame. But what he talked about is a trifle compared with what Bill Clinton did — and what Hillary defended him over. The real problem is not Trump. The problem is the big, spoiled, sulking babies of the left who cannot believe that America made up its own mind instead of following their orders. They are the control freaks, not Trump,” – Political commentator Ben Stein writing in the American Spectator.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.