What Trump Said to the New York Times

November 22nd 2016

Willie Burnley Jr.

President-elect Donald Trump met with editors and reporters from the New York Times on Tuesday, after initially cancelling the interview via Twitter earlier that day. From national security, to conflicts of interest, Trump covered a wide range of topics while the publication’s journalist live-tweeted the event. Here are four topics he covered that you need to know about.


1. Prosecuting Hillary Clinton?

In one of the more dramatic reversals of his campaign, Trump walked back talk of prosecuting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The promise had moved from the periphery on the campaign trail to a hallmark of his rallies, a tactic to fundraise from his supporters, and even a direct threat made at the second presidential debate during the general election.

In the course of his hour-long interview with the New York Times, he reportedly told reporters that he didn’t “want to hurt the Clintons” and that Hillary Clinton had already “suffered greatly in many different ways.” When asked about supporters that could be disappointed by his change of direction on her prosecution, he said that they would not be disappointed because he would persuade them that the non-litigious approach would help “save our country.”

2. Conflicts of Interest.

Trump has remained difficult to pin down when it comes how he'll handle his many business dealings to avoid potential conflicts of interest — and whether he sees the need to at all. He has continued to avoid committing to put his assets in a blind trust, which would allow them to be dealt with by an anonymous third-party. Instead he kept the possibility open of running both his company and the executive branch or handing off his company’s responsibilities to his children. At the same time, he has opted to have several family members on his transition team, and last week Trump's daughter Ivanka was photographed sitting in a meeting with foreign leaders.

During the interview, Trump himself even alluded to using his new position on the global stage to persuade politicians to lobby on behalf of his business preferences. When asked if he spoke to British politician Nigel Farage about opposing offshoring wind farms that he worried would reduce the value of his Scottish golf courses, Trump said that he "might have brought it up."

3. On Steve Bannon and the Alt-Right.

Donald Trump defended his embattled chief strategist and former chairman of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, against charges of racism. Civil rights groups have blasted Bannon and the organization he once represented as anti-Semitic, white supremacist, and alt-right.

However, Trump claimed that portrayal is “not him.” He also claimed that Breitbart is “just a publication” like the New York Times except "much more conservative."

4. On Climate Change and Environmental Policy.

When it came to the issue of climate change and how it would impact U.S. policy, the president-elect seemed to take stances with less certainty than he has in the past. Trump said that there was likely “some connectivity” between human activity and environmental changes happening worldwide, abandoning the view that it was a hoax.

He also said he was "looking at it very closely," in regards to the Paris climate deal, continuing that he has "an open mind to it."