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9 Takeaways From Trump’s Contentious ‘New York Times’ Interview

9 Takeaways From Trump’s Contentious ‘New York Times’ Interview: Drew Angerer / Getty

Drew Angerer / Getty

Donald Trump’s relationship with the New York Times has been tumultuous, to say the least. He called the paper “a disgusting fraud” and “a joke” during his campaign for the presidency. But then he got elected. The paper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, and the president-elect decided to put aside their differences and meet for an on-the-record chat about some of Trump’s policy plans, but not without a few bumps along the way.

In a series of early morning tweets, Trump initially canceled the meeting because he felt that the paper “[continues] to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone.” The New York Times was not aware that the meeting had been canceled until they saw Trump’s tweets, but no harm done—just a few hours later, the meeting was back on. He met with a group of the paper’s editors and reporters, with Sulzberger acting as a sort of moderator. In typical rambling fashion, Trump spoke with his signature vagueness about his plans to study climate change, moderate his numerous conflicts of interest, and his relationship with the alt-right. Here are nine of the most interesting, if not convoluted, take-aways from the meeting.


ON BEING TREATED “UNFAIRLY”
“I think I’ve been treated very rough. It’s well out there that I’ve been treated extremely unfairly in a sense, in a true sense. I wouldn’t only complain about The Times. I would say the Times was about the roughest of all.”

ON DISASSOCIATING HIMSELF FROM THE ALT-RIGHT
“I don’t want to energize the group. I’m not looking to energize them. I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group. They, again, I don’t know if it’s reporting or whatever. I don’t know where they were four years ago, and where they were for Romney and McCain and all of the other people that ran, so I just don’t know, I had nothing to compare it to. But it’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why.”

ON BREAKING HIS PROMISE TO PROSECUTE HILLARY CLINTON
“Look, I want to move forward. I don’t want to move back. And I don’t want to hurt the Clintons. I really don’t. She went through a lot. And suffered greatly in many different ways. And I am not looking to hurt them at all. The campaign was vicious. They say it was the most vicious primary and the most vicious campaign. This has been looked at for so long. Ad nauseam. Let’s go forward. And you know, you could also make the case that some good work was done in the foundation and they could have made mistakes, etc. etc. I think it’s time, I think it’s time for people to say let’s go and solve some of the problems that we have, which are massive problems and, you know, I do think that they’ve gone through a lot. I think losing is going through a lot. It was a tough, it was a very tough evening for her. I think losing is going through a lot…I also think that would be a very divisive, well I think it would be very divisive, you know I’m talking about bringing together…I think it would be very, very divisive for the country.”

ON CLIMATE CHANGE
“I have an open mind to it. It’s one issue that’s interesting because there are few things where there’s more division than climate change. You don’t tend to hear this, but there are people on the other side of that issue who are, think, don’t even…I have a very open mind. And I’m going to study a lot of the things that happened on it and we’re going to look at it very carefully.”

ON CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
“As far as the, you know, potential conflict of interests, though, I mean I know that from the standpoint, the law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest. That’s been reported very widely. Despite that, I don’t want there to be a conflict of interest anyway…And I understand why the president can’t have a conflict of interest now because everything a president does in some ways is like a conflict of interest, but I have, I’ve built a very great company and it’s a big company and it’s all over the world. People are starting to see, when they look at all these different jobs, like in India and other things, number one, a job like that builds great relationships with the people of India, so it’s all good.“

ON RUNNING HIS BUSINESS
“[I]n theory, I can be president of the United States and run my business 100 percent, sign checks on my business, which I am phasing out of very rapidly, you know, I sign checks, I’m the old-fashioned type. I like to sign checks so I know what is going on as opposed to pressing a computer button, boom, and thousands of checks are automatically sent… But I am phasing that out now, and handing that to Eric Trump and Don Trump and Ivanka Trump for the most part…But in theory I could run my business perfectly, and then run the country perfectly…I would like to try and formalize something, because I don’t care about my business.”

ON STEVE BANNON
"I’ve known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist, or alt-right, or any of the things that we can, you know, the terms we can use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him. First of all, I’m the one that makes the decision, not Steve Bannon or anybody else…And if he said something to me that, in terms of his views, or that I thought were inappropriate or bad, number one I wouldn’t do anything, and number two, he would have to be gone…But Steve went to Harvard, he was a, you know, he was very successful, he was a Naval officer, he’s, I think he’s very, very, you know, sadly, really, I think it’s very hard on him. I think he’s having a hard time with it. Because it’s not him. It’s not him.”

ON RUST BELT VOTERS
“To me more important is taking care of the people that really have proven to be, to love Donald Trump, as opposed to the political people. And frankly if the political people don’t take care of these people, they’re not going to win and you’re going to end up with maybe a total different kind of government than what you’re looking at right now. These people are really angry. They’re smart, they’re workers and they’re angry. I call them the forgotten men and women. And I use that in speeches, I say they’re the forgotten people—they were totally forgotten. And we’re going to bring jobs back. We’re going to bring jobs back, big league. I’ve spoken to so many companies already, I say, don’t plan on moving your company, ’cause you’re not going to be able to move your company and sell us your product.“

ON THE WIND
“The wind is a very deceiving thing.”

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