In first interview since winning election, Trump says he may not repeal Obamacare and Clinton’s prosecution not a priority
Donald Trump appears to have softened his stance on a range of sweeping campaign pledges, saying in his first interview since his election as US president that he might not repeal Obamacare and that prosecuting Hillary Clinton over confidential emails was not a priority.
The president-elect, who had said he would “immediately repeal and replace” Obamacare after taking office, told the Wall Street Journal he might instead seek to reform the policy, keeping the ban on insurers denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
He said he would also look to retain the provision that allowed young adults to be insured on their parents’ policies, adding that he had been convinced of the virtues of the two points in his meeting with Barack Obama on Thursday.
Trump and his family also filmed an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes to be broadcast on Sunday. The president-elect said he would amend, or repeal and replace Obamacare without any gaps in healthcare provision. “It will be just fine. It’s what I do. I do a good job and I know how to do this stuff,” he told Lesley Stahl.
Having called Clinton a “nasty woman” and “crooked” during the campaign, Trump struck a conciliatory tone towards his former opponent in both interviews. The Wall Street Journal asked about campaign promises to appoint a special prosecutor to pursue criminal charges against his Democratic rival over her use of a private email server to conduct official business as secretary of state.
“It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought, because I want to solve healthcare, jobs, border control, tax reform,” Trump said. The statement may anger the president-elect’s core supporters, many of whom chanted “lock her up, lock her up,” at campaign rallies.
He told 60 Minutes the call in which Clinton conceded the election was “lovely”, adding: “It was a tough call for her, I can imagine … She couldn’t have been nicer. She just said ‘congratulations Donald, well done’.”
“She’s very strong and very smart,” he said, adding that Bill Clinton had also called. “He couldn’t have been more gracious. He said it was an amazing run. One of the most amazing he had ever seen,” Trump said of the former president.
The Republican party’s shock victory has led to protests in some cities and on university campuses, and there have been allegations of racist and Islamophobic attacks. Trump told the Wall Street Journal he wanted to soothe the febrile public mood. “I want a country that loves each other,” he said . The best way to do this was by creating jobs.”
Asked whether the tone of his campaign had gone too far, he said: “No. I won.”
The vice president-elect, Mike Pence, will play a key role in his administration, serving as a liaison with Congress, Trump said. On Friday Trump put Pence in charge of his transition team, while his daughter, Ivanka, her husband, Jared Kushner, and his sons Eric and Donald Jr joined the executive committee. The PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Stephen Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News who directed Trump’s campaign, are also on the committee.
On foreign policy, Trump described resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict as “the ultimate deal … As a dealmaker, I’d like to do … the deal that can’t be made. And do it for humanity’s sake,” he said.
On Syria, he said his focus would be on fighting Islamic State rather than getting rid of the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad. “Russia is now totally aligned with Syria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful, because of us, is aligned with Syria … Now we’re backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are,” he said.
He said had received a “beautiful” letter from the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and would speak to him soon.
Protesters across the US have been preparing for a weekend of demonstrations in response to Trump’s election, as other activists began work on plans to disrupt his inauguration in Washington early next year.