As CBS’ Lesley Stahl summarized the interview, “what we discovered in Mr. Trump’s first television interview as president-elect, was that some of his signature issues at the heart of his campaign were not meant to be taken literally, but as opening bids for negotiation.
Before we get into the nuances of Trump’s interview whose full transcript is presented at the end of this post, for those pressed for time here are the key highlights from Trump’s interview:
Trump says he will talk with FBI Director Comey before deciding whether to ask his resignation, says “I respect him a lot”
Trump, on pledge to appoint special prosecutor to investigate Clintons, says “I don’t want to hurt them. They’re good people”
Trump says he is “fine” with same-sex marriage; says He Does Not Intend To Overturn Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage
Trump confirms he will forego salary as president
Trump tells protesters: “don’t be afraid”
Trump condemns harassment of minorities
Trump vows to name pro-life, pro-gun rights Supreme Court justices
Among many things discussed, Trump told Stahl that Clinton’s phone call conceding the election was “lovely” and acknowledged that making the phone call was likely “tougher for her than it would have been for me,” according to previews of the interview released by CBS. Trump said “she couldn’t have been nicer. She just said, ‘Congratulations, Donald, well done,’” Trump told Stahl. “And I said, ‘I want to thank you very much. You were a great competitor.’ She is very strong and very smart.”
Trump’s tone in the interview contrasted his attacks on the campaign trail, in which he nicknamed Clinton “Crooked Hillary” and encouraged chants to “Lock her up!” during his rallies.
Trump also told Stahl that former president Bill Clinton called him the following day and “couldn’t have been more gracious.” “He said it was an amazing run – one of the most amazing he’s ever seen,” Trump said. “He was very, very, really, very nice.”
During the campaign, Trump had tried to use Bill Clinton’s infidelities as a way to attack and embarrass Hillary Clinton. For the second presidential debate, Trump had sought to intimidate his competitor by inviting women who had accused the former president of sexual abuse to sit in the Trump family box. Debate officials quashed the idea.
In the interview with Stahl, Trump did not rule out calling both of the Clintons for advice during his term. “I mean, this is a very talented family,” he said. “Certainly, I would certainly think about that.”
Ironically, Trump was also asked if he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary’s private server as he suggested he would during the second debtate.
“I’m going to think about it….I don’t want to hurt them,” he said in the “60 Minutes” interview. “Um, I feel that I want to focus on jobs, I want to focus on healthcare, I want to focus on the border and immigration and doing a really great immigration bill. We want to have a great immigration bill. And I want to focus on — all of these other things that we’ve been talking about.”
Trump also reiterated on “60 Minutes” that he may keep portions of the Affordable Care Act, something he had mentioned he might do after meeting with President Barack Obama in the White House on Thursday.
When Stahl asked whether people with pre-existing conditions would still be covered after Trump repealed and replaced Obamacare, Trump said they would “because it happens to be one of the strongest assets.”
“Also, with the children living with their parents for an extended period, we’re going to… very much try and keep that,” Trump added, referring to portions of the healthcare act that cover children under their parents’ insurance through age 26. “It adds cost, but it’s very much something we’re going to try and keep.”
When Stahl questioned whether there would be a gap between the repeal of Obamacare and the implementation of a new plan that could leave millions of people uninsured, Trump interrupted her.
“Nope. We’re going to do it simultaneously. It’ll be just fine. It’s what I do. I do a good job. You know, I mean, I know how to do this stuff,” Trump said. “We’re going to repeal and replace it. And we’re not going to have, like, a two-day period and we’re not going to have a two-year period where there’s nothing. It will be repealed and replaced. I mean, you’ll know. And it will be great healthcare for much less money.”
Trump’s campaign promises included fully repealing the Affordable Care Act, forcing Mexico to pay for a border wall and banning Muslims from entering the U.S., however in the last few days Trump appears to have taken a more moderate stance on these matters and now seems to be walking back his more extreme positions.
Trump was also asked for his take on the Supreme Court and Roe v Wade.
On this important issues Trump said that he is “pro-life. The judges will be pro-life. They’ll be pro-life, they’ll be– in terms of the whole gun situation, we know the Second Amendment and everybody’s talking about the Second Amendment and they’re trying to dice it up and change it, they’re going to be very pro-Second Amendment. But having to do with abortion if it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states. So it would go back to the states.” He added that perhaps women “will have to go to another state.”
On the topic of violence in the streets since his election victory, Donald Trump says he’s “saddened” to hear some of his supporters are inciting violence: “If it helps. I will say this…Stop it”
Trump said had he heard about reports of racial slurs and personal threats against African Americans, Latinos and gays by some of his supporters.
Donald Trump: I am very surprised to hear that– I hate to hear that, I mean I hate to hear that–
Lesley Stahl: But you do hear it?
Donald Trump: I don’t hear it—I saw, I saw one or two instances…
Lesley Stahl: On social media?
Donald Trump: But I think it’s a very small amount. Again, I think it’s–
Lesley Stahl: Do you want to say anything to those people?
Donald Trump: I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, ‘cause I’m gonna bring this country together.
Lesley Stahl: They’re harassing Latinos, Muslims–
Donald Trump: I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, “Stop it.” If it– if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.
Trump was also asked about his opinion on demonstrators:
Lesley Stahl: [T]here are people, Americans, who are scared and some of them are demonstrating right now, demonstrating against you, against your rhetoric–
Donald Trump: That’s only because they don’t know me. I really believe that’s only because–
Lesley Stahl: Well, they listened to you in the campaign and that’s–
Donald Trump: I just don’t think they know me.
Lesley Stahl: Well, what do you think they’re demonstrating against?
Donald Trump: Well, I think in some cases, you have professional protesters. And we had it– if you look at WikiLeaks, we had–
Lesley Stahl: You think those people down there are—
Donald Trump: Well Lesley—
Lesley Stahl: are professional?
Donald Trump: Oh, I think some of them will be professional, yeah–
Lesley Stahl: OK, but what about – they’re in every city. When they demonstrate against you and there are signs out there, I mean, don’t you say to yourself, I guess you don’t, you know, do I have to worry about this? Do I have to go out and assuage them? Do I have to tell them not to be afraid? They’re afraid.
Donald Trump: I would tell them don’t be afraid, absolutely…. We are going to bring our country back. But certainly, don’t be afraid. You know, we just had an election and sort of like you have to be given a little time. I mean, people are protesting. If Hillary had won and if my people went out and protested, everybody would say, “Oh, that’s a terrible thing.” And it would have been a much different attitude. There is a different attitude. You know, there is a double standard here.