In his first televised interview since winning the election this week, a “more serious, more subdued” Donald Trump spoke to 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl from his penthouse in the Trump Tower.
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 debate.
“I’m going to think about it,” 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.
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The full interview is below:
(For those in areas where this video is not allowed, here is a link to the live feed)
And the full interview transcript is below: