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Trump says will have most Cabinet posts filled next week

US President-elect Donald Trump, who takes office on 20 January, is still weighing who to choose as his secretary of state.

US President-elect Donald Trump. Picture: AFP

NEW YORK – US President-elect Donald Trump was set to interview more candidates for top jobs in his administration on Friday and said he expected to have most members of his Cabinet announced next week.

Trump, who takes office on 20 January is still weighing who to choose as secretary of state. The Republican president-elect said on Thursday he had chosen retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as defense secretary and would make a formal announcement on that on Monday.

“We have tremendous people joining the Cabinet and beyond the Cabinet. You'll be seeing almost all of them next week,” Trump said in an interview that aired on Friday on Fox News.

Trump plans to move quickly after taking office on 20 January on his goals to overhaul taxation, healthcare and immigration laws, his Vice President-elect Mike Pence said in an interview published by the Wall Street Journal on Friday.

Top priorities include curbing illegal immigration, abolishing and replacing President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare programme, and filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court, Pence told the newspaper.

Asked what he would do on his first day in office, Trump told Fox News he may address his campaign pledge to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, though he did not go into specifics.

“We could do the wall, we’re going to do some repealing, we’re going to do some executive orders that we think are inappropriate,” Trump told Fox, referring to the possibility of reversing executive orders issued by Obama, a Democrat, during his eight-year term.

This week, Trump revealed his picks for leaders at the treasury, commerce and health departments, as well as Mattis to head the Pentagon. Cabinet positions will require confirmation by the Republican-controlled Senate.

“We’re getting credit for having one of the great cabinets ever picked,” Trump said on Fox. “These are people of great distinction, great success, which is what you need.”

He has narrowed the field for secretary of state to four candidates, including the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, who attacked Trump throughout the 2016 campaign but spoke glowingly of the president-elect after having dinner with him earlier this week.

“There was actually good chemistry,” Trump said on Fox.

In a separate interview with Fox News that aired late on Thursday, Trump said he has whittled a list of potential Supreme Court nominees down to “probably three or four” and that an announcement would be made soon.

A seat on the nine-member Supreme Court has been vacant since last February, when Justice Antonin Scalia died and the Republican-controlled Senate refused to consider Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland.

Trump also plans to continue his post-election “thank you tour” next week through battleground states that supported him in the November election.

On his first stop, in Cincinnati on Thursday, Trump railed against globalisation, slammed the media and promised the return of manufacturing jobs to American workers.

As Trump forms his administration, the Green Party is seeking a recount of the vote in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Such recounts would be extremely unlikely to overturn Trump's victory over his Democratic rival for the White House, Hillary Clinton.

On Friday, Michigan’s attorney general said he had filed a lawsuit to halt the requested recount in that state, saying it would be too expensive.