World

Donald Trump Softens Stand on Clinton, Climate Change, Other Key Issues

In a conversation with the New York Times, the US president-elect appeared to have moderated his views on key issues, including prosecuting Hillary Clinton.

US president-elect Donald Trump at the New York Times headquarters. Credit: Twitter

US president-elect Donald Trump at the New York Times headquarters. Credit: Twitter

US president-elect Donald Trump spoke on a wide range of issues with New York Times editors and reporters on Tuesday.

The following is a summary of some of his comments as reported by the newspaper or its reporters.

Clinton investigation

Trump said prosecuting Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for her handing of classified information while secretary of state or the dealings of the Clinton Foundation was “not something that I feel very strongly about.”

“I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t,” Trump said. “She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways.”

“I think it would be very very divisive for the country,” he said, referring to prosecuting Clinton or her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

During campaign rallies, Trump often fired up his supporters by calling for pressing for investigations of Hillary Clinton, spurring chants of “Lock her up!” by the crowd.

Climate change

Trump, who previously called man-made global warming a hoax, said: “I think there is some connectivity” between humans and climate change.

“I’m looking at it very closely,” Trump said about the 2015 Paris climate accord, which he had promised to quit during the presidential campaign. “I have an open mind to it.”

Alt-right and Steve Bannon

Trump condemned an alt-right conference in Washington over the weekend where some members performed a Hitler salute and yelled: “Hail Trump!” after a speech about white nationalism.

“I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn,” he said.

“It’s not a group I want to energise. And if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why.”

Rejecting charges by some critics that his chief White House strategist Steve Bannon is a racist,Trump said: “I’ve known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist, or alt-right … I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.”

Critics say Bannon, a former head of the conservative Breitbart News, had made the website a forum for the alt-right, a loose grouping that rejects mainstream politics and includes neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites.

Conflict of interest

The real estate mogul said he saw no conflict in his business dealings and being president.

“In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There’s never been a case like this,” Trump said.

“I’d assumed that you’d have to set up some type of trust or whatever and you don’t,” he said. But he added: “I would like to do something.”

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

Dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Trump said his son-in-law and close aide, Jared Kushner, could help broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and that the president-elect himself could play a role in achieving what has eluded his predecessors.

“I would love to be the one who made peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump said. “That would be such a great achievement.”