Skip to content
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies. You can change your settings or learn more here.

Donald Trump 'disavows the alt-right' and admits there's 'something' to climate change

Trump finally sat down with The New York Times after earlier cancelling a meeting.
Nov 22nd 2016, 11:22 PM 25,342 133

Trump New York Times President-elect Donald Trump walks past a crowd as he leaves the New York Times building. Source: Mark Lennihan

DONALD TRUMP HAS said he was “open minded” on supporting global accords on climate change.

The US president-elect emerged from cabinet-building talks in his Trump Tower headquarters and travelled ten minutes across town to the New York Times to give a wide-ranging interview on his plans.

He disavowed “alt-right” activists who hailed his election as a victory for white supremacy, distanced himself from calls to prosecute Hillary Clinton and defended his global business empire.

And he appeared to soften his pledge to pull the United States out of accords like last year’s COP21 Paris Agreement, that binds countries to national pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I’m looking at it very closely. I have an open mind to it,” he told New York Times executives and journalists over lunch at their headquarters, according to the paper’s own account.

The Times’ journalists live-tweeted the conversation after a day in which Trump appeared to cancel and then reschedule the interview.

Campaigning ahead of 8 November, Trump repeatedly told crowds of rustbelt and southern voters — factory workers, coal miners and oilmen among them — that he would tear up international climate agreements.

As far back as 2012 he had tweeted:

Now elected and due to become president on 20 January, when he was confronted by Times columnist Thomas Friedman he admitted there may be a link between human industry and global warming.

“I think there is some connectivity. Some, something. It depends on how much,” he said, adding he would nevertheless remain concerned about how much green measures would “cost our companies.”

Nazi salutes

The New York Times sit down, which followed a reportedly hostile off-the-record clash with TV network chiefs on Monday, appeared to represent a perhaps temporary truce with the hated media.

Trump regularly — as recently as this morning — insults the “failing New York Times” in tweets, but distanced himself from threats to toughen libel laws and engaged cheerfully with the paper.

“I do read it. Unfortunately,” he admitted. “I’d live about 20 years longer if I didn’t.”

He also, under repeated questioning, denounced the so-called alt-right, after leaders of the movement met in Washington at the weekend and celebrated his victory with Nazi salutes.

He insisted, somewhat controversially, that his sprawling global business empire does not represent a conflict of interest for a president — at least not according to lawyers he has consulted.

“The law’s totally on my side, the president can’t have a conflict of interest,” he told the paper.

On the bloodshed in Syria, he was vague, saying “we have to end the craziness that’s going on”, and he was gushing in his admiration for President Barack Obama, whom he will replace in White House.

Trump told the paper, despite the aggressive tone of his campaign, he had been honoured to meet Obama — and he stepped back from threats to prosecute his defeated rival Clinton.

During the campaign, Trump had accused Clinton of illegally destroying email records to cover up wrongdoing and alleged fraud at her charitable foundation — as his fans chanted “Lock her up.”

Special prosecutor

Trump was asked by the New York Times whether he stood by a threat, made to Clinton’s face in their second debate, to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her.

“I think it would be very very divisive for the country,” the president-elect admitted.

Time to give thanks

According to two opinion polls published Tuesday, a majority of voters are optimistic that his efforts to “make America great again” will lead the nation to a brighter future.

According to data from Quinnipiac University, most voters think he should stop tweeting but, by a margin of 59 to 37, most “are optimistic about the next four years with Donald Trump as president.”

A similar CNN/ORC poll found a narrow majority, 53% of voters, found Trump would do a good job.

Later today, he was due to set off on a family Thanksgiving break at another of his golf resorts, in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

© – AFP 2016

Read: Taoiseach criticised for “gushing tweet” and manner towards Trump and Pence >

Read: Brendan Howlin has described Shane Ross as ‘Donald Trumpesque’ >

Send a tip to the author



    Back to top