Trump softens tone, calls minority harassers to ‘stop it’
NEW YORKU.S. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to move aggressively on a conservative agenda in filling Supreme Court vacancies, cracking down on immigration and cutting taxes, but also sought to reassure worried Americans they have nothing to fear from his presidency.
Setting aside the strident tone of his campaign, the 70-year-old U.S. President-elect Donald Trump assumed a gentler manner in his first television interview since his shock election, saying he was “saddened” by reports of harassment of Muslims and Hispanics, and telling the perpetrators: “Stop It.”
The interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” which was taped on Nov. 11 and aired in full on Nov. 13, offered Trump an opportunity to reintroduce himself after an ugly, name-calling campaign and surprise victory that sparked protests in cities across the United States.
“I just don’t think they know me,” the billionaire real estate mogul said at one point, of the thousands of protesters who have massed in streets below his Trump Tower headquarters.
Told that many Americans are scared of his presidency, Trump said: “Don’t be afraid. We are going to bring our country back.”
Trump earlier on Nov. 13 named anti-establishment firebrand Steve Bannon his top strategist and senior Republican Reince Priebus his White House chief of staff, blending pragmatism with a rabble-rousing edge in the first appointments of his new administration.
On the issues, however, Trump made it clear he intends to aggressively push a right-wing agenda, pledging to name justices to the Supreme Court who are against abortion and for gun rights.
“The judges will be pro-life,” Trump told CBS. “In terms of the whole gun situation,” he added, “they’re going to be very pro-Second Amendment.”
He will have an immediate opportunity to fill a vacancy on the court left by the death of arch conservative justice Antonin Scalia. U.S. President Barack Obama’s attempt to fill the seat was blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate.
On immigration, Trump reaffirmed his signature campaign pledge to build a wall on the border with Mexico, although he conceded parts of it may be just a fence.
And he said as many as three million undocumented immigrants with criminal records would be deported or incarcerated.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers,” he said.
“We have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” he said.
Trump also said that he will not seek to overturn the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States.
“It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done,” Trump said.
“And I’m - I’m fine with that,” he added.
In a call to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump told the leader he believes they will have “one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward,” according to a statement released by the president-elect’s team early Nov. 14.
Trump - who frequently savaged China on the campaign trail and threatened to impose a 45-percent tariff on Chinese-made goods - agreed to meet “at an early date” to discuss the relationship, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said.