Sen. Lankford Worries Over Trump In Private Meeting
OKLAHOMA CITY - Senator James Lankford (R) told a group of Oklahoma business leaders he' s nervous about President-Elect Donald Trump, according to a leaked transcript of a conference-call meeting held last week.
The transcript was leaked to the online tabloid The Lost Ogle and was later confirmed by Lankford’s office. On the call were prominent Oklahoma business executives, including those from large manufacturing companies like M-D Building Products, KimRay and Jasco Building. The 30-minute tele-meeting was meant to reassure business leaders about Mr. Trump. Lankford’s office said they are standing by what he expressed.
Lankford, who is normally stilted, was more candid during the conference call. He said he had some reservations about Mr. Trump when it came the President-elect’s ideas on trade deals. Mr. Trump referred to trade agreements between the United States and other countries, namely the members of NAFTA and China, as “bad deals” and the rhetoric was a corner stone of his campaign.
“[He] has reassured me that he is a trade person and does want deals—he just wants a good deal, but I have never heard what a good deal is,” Lankford told those on the conference call.
Lankford also told those listening in on the call he had some worries over how Mr. Trump would handle meeting foreign leaders.
Mr. Trump was critical of other countries and their leaders specifically China, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Senator is currently a sitting member on the Senate committees on Homeland Security and Intelligence.
Mr. Trump criticized the members of NATO for “not paying their fair share” when it came to agreed defense spending, at some points threatening to pull U.S. military presence and protection from NATO allies. Lankford called similar rhetoric Mr. Trump used on the issue during presidential debates “sloppy” and said he didn’t know what Trump’s foreign policy would be.
“My one nervous moment will be the first State dinner when Trump has a foreign leader over to the White House for dinner, meeting with all those different folks and what is going to be said and done because the President’s words do have international effect,” Lankford said.
"This private conference-call meeting was meant to be private and off-the-record, but there isn't anything in this summary that is different than what the Senator has said in public venues numerous times. The same James Lankford in private is the same James Lankford in public," Lankford’s press secretary said in an email on Thursday.
The Senator’s office didn’t know who was responsible for the leaked story but said despite the publication of the 6,000-word transcript and his past comments Lankford will support the President-elect.