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The Latest: Trump introduces pick for China ambassador

NEW YORK — The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times EST):

8:40 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is calling Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to the stage in Des Moines to announce him as his choice to be the nation's next ambassador to China.

Trump was in Des Moines on the third stop of his "Thank you" tour to salute the states that gave him the White House.

Trump, who announced Branstad earlier this week, said he "knew how to get things done" and, with China, would improve "one of the most important relationships we have."

The stop in Des Moines also featured the first protests of the "thank you" tour. Several small groups shouted at Trump after he took the stage. One held a sign that read, "Iowa says no."

Trump dismissed them by saying, "They're on our side, they just don't know it yet."


8:15 p.m.

Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development says he doesn't plan to dismantle social safety net programs.

Dr. Ben Carson spoke Thursday night at Yale University, his alma mater.

He told an audience made up mostly of Yale students that suggestions he wants to end housing programs that help the poor are "crap."

But Carson says he does want to create mechanisms that would allow people to end their dependence on such programs and take care of their own needs.

Carson said those who believe that because he is a former doctor, he can only "know one little thing" show their own ignorance.

As HUD secretary, Carson would oversee a budget of nearly $50 billion that provides rental assistance for more than 5 million households.


5:40 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is calling the survivors of last week's attack at Ohio State University "great people, amazing people."

Trump flew to Columbus, Ohio, to meet Thursday with several people who were slashed by Ohio State student Abdul Razak Ali Artan. The attacker first rammed a campus crowd with his car before getting out with a knife and stabbing students. He was fatally shot by police.

The president-elect spent about 30 minutes with some of the victims and their families.

He says, "The families have come through this so well." He is also paying tribute to the first responders who tended to the victims and subdued the attacker.

Trump met with the families privately and aides did not immediately provide an accounting of what was discussed.


5:05 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is announcing his plans to nominate fast food executive Andy Puzder as his secretary.

In a statement, Trump says Puzder will fight to make American workers "safer and more prosperous." The president-elect also says he expects Puzder to protect small businesses from "unnecessary regulations."

Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl's Jr., Hardee's and other chains. He says the right government policies "can result in more jobs and better wages for the American worker."

Puzder's nomination brings another wealthy businessman into Trump's Cabinet.


3:50 p.m.

The United States has asked other nations to refrain from sending delegations to President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration.

The State Department says in a cable to embassies around the world that special delegations shouldn't head to Washington for the ceremony on Jan. 20.

A State Department official says the guidance is in line with long-standing practice for presidential inaugurations.

Foreign ambassadors posted in Washington are invited to the inaugural events.

The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the internal cable and spoke on condition of anonymity.

— By Associated Press Writer Bradley Klapper


3:25 p.m.

A local union president slammed by Donald Trump on Twitter says he won't stop saying the president-elect is inflating the number of jobs being saved in a deal with Carrier Corp. to stop the closing of an Indianapolis factory.

United Steelworkers Local 1999 President Chuck Jones says he finds Trump's barbs amusing and that won't back off despite harassing phone calls since Trump criticized him on Twitter Wednesday night.

Jones tells The Associated Press he's grateful Trump intervened to stop about 800 jobs from being outsourced to Mexico. But Jones says Trump gave workers false hope by saying 1,100 jobs were being saved. That figure includes positions which the company had always said would remain in Indianapolis.

Trump tweeted that Jones "has done a terrible job representing workers."


2:20 p.m.

The international president of the steelworkers union is defending the Indiana union leader who's been trading barbs with Donald Trump over the president-elect's deal to save jobs at a Carrier Corp. factory in the state.

Union President Leo Gerard says Local 1999 leader Chuck Jones was "simply clarifying what happened" in the deal that Trump and Mike Pence made with Carrier.

Jones says about 800 jobs were saved — 300 less than the 1,100 jobs Trump claims.

Gerard says at a Capitol Hill news conference that Jones is "a very effective and well-qualified local president" who was merely "standing up for his members."

Trump slammed Jones on Twitter this week, saying he "has done a terrible job representing workers." Jones challenged Trump to back up his claim.


1 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's campaign checked out James Stavridis when she was considering a running mate, and now the retired Navy admiral has met with President-elect Donald Trump — who's looking for a secretary of state.

Stavridis was NATO's top commander in Europe from 2009 to 2013 — says he and Trump discussed the military, cybersecurity and global affairs.

Here's what Stavridis said as he walked through the lobby at Trump Tower: "When I first heard there was a short list, I thought they were referring to short people. I would definitely be on that list. But in terms of any job, I would say, why don't you talk to the people upstairs?"

Stavridis is dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Last summer, after Trump said the U.S. might revisit NATO's policy of defending its allies against possible Russian aggression if he became president, Stavridis tweeted: "Trump on NATO: deeply dangerous will dismay our closest Allies but great cheer in Kremlin: I can hear Vladimir Putin chortling from here."


12:10 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to pick fast-food executive Andrew Puzder to lead the Labor Department.

That's according to a Republican official and a person close to Trump's transition.

Puzder heads CKE Restaurants Holdings, the parent company of Carl's Jr., Hardee's and other chains. His selection would bring another wealthy business person and elite donor into Trump's Cabinet.

The Californian was one of Trump's earliest campaign financiers. Puzder was a co-chairman of Trump's California finance team, and he was organizing fundraisers well before most major donors got on board with the Republican presidential nominee.

The Republican official and the person close to the transition weren't authorized to disclose the expected nomination before Trump's official announcement, and they spoke on condition of anonymity.

—By Alan Fram and Julie Pace


10:35 a.m.

Another day, another telephone conversation with a foreign leader for President-elect Donald Trump.

This time it's Finland's president, Sauli Niinisto. His office says the two leaders discussed U.S.-Finland relations, Russia and the Arctic Council.

Also noted was the Finland's independence anniversary — a reference to next year's celebrations of the Nordic country's 100th anniversary of independence from Russia.

On Twitter, Niinisto later wrote in English to thank Trump "for a great discussion. Until next time!"

Trump's transition team has provided no readout of the call — even though it's standard for current and past presidents to share some details of conversations with overseas leaders.

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