The 8 Most Important Moments From The Donald Trump/New York Times Meeting
Trump On His Business Conflicts of Interest
After canceling, and then a few hours later un-canceling, his meeting with the New York Times, President-elect Donald Trump held one of his first on-the-record sessions with the press since being elected President. It was a wide-ranging meeting that covered many vital topics.
Here are the most important moments from Trump’s meeting with the New York Times:
Trump on his businesses/conflict q's: "The law's totally on my side, the president can't have a conflict of interest.
This was one of Trump’s most noteworthy statements from the meeting. It brings back memories of Nixon, who famously said “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” In response to whether or not the “law” is on his side, some would point to to the Emoluments Clause in Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution. This clause states that the President can’t, “accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
Some say this clause may come into play as reports emerge of Trump meeting with his Indian business partners, Ivanka sitting in on meetings with foreign leaders, foreign delegations feeling pressure to stay at Trump’s DC hotel, and in a phone call with Nigel Farage, Trump reportedly expressed his opposition to Scottish wind farms that may obstruct the view of his golf course. Trump later spoke on his DC hotel and the reports on the Scottish wind farm
Trump acknowledges the DC hotel he owns is "probably a more valuable asset than it was before." Says the brand is "hotter.
I might have brought it up," Trump says of Farage meeting and wind farms.
Trump On Climate Change
After previously stating that global warming was a hoax created by the Chinese and that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, President-elect Donald Trump took a distinctly different position during the meeting.
I think there is some connectivity" between humans and climate change, Trump says.
Tom Friedman asks if Trump will withdraw from climate change accords. Trump: "I'm looking at it very closely. I have an open mind to it.
Trump On The Middle East
I don't think we should be a nation-builder," Trump says of the US role in the world.
Syria, we have to solve that problem," Trump says. Adds he has a "different view than everybody else.
Trump stated he has a “different view” when it comes to Syria. This statement and the reference to not feeling that the U.S. should be a nation builder, coupled with his past supportive statements of Russia and Assad, may give you a good idea of what his approach will be when it comes to Syria. He also mentioned Israel and Palestine.
Trump: Jared Kushner could help make peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
I asked PEOTUS what role he sees Kushner playing. Indicates formal role unlikely but he could be a player on Mideast peace.
Jared Kushner is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka and played an important advisory role during Trump’s campaign. What qualifications does Kushner have to negotiate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians? We don’t know, but that may not make a difference seeing how Trump wouldn’t be allowed to appoint him to any formal position.
5 U.S. Code § 3110 restricts public officials, including the President, from appointing, employing, promoting a relative in or to a position in an agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction. And seeing how private citizens are not authorized to conduct U.S. foreign policy, this suggestion of Kushner negotiating peace in the Middle East, appears to be DOA.
Trump On Bannon
Trump has drawn criticism for his appointment of former Executive Chairman of alt-right news site Breitbart, Steve Bannon, to the role of Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor. Many point to this appointment as a sign that Trump would govern in the same divisive manner as he campaigned. Trump dismissed the criticism.
On Bannon:"If I thought he was a racist or alt-right or any of the things, the terms we could use, I wouldn't even think about hiring him.
Trump On The Alt-Right And The Neo-Nazi Conference
Donald Trump has received a lot of support from the white supremacist “Alt-Right” hate group. The National Policy Institute, a white supremacist organization, held an event this past weekend in Washington, D.C. The group has felt empowered by Trump’s appointment of Bannon and the divisive rhetoric throughout his Presidential campaign. The videos of attendees at the event chanting “Hail Trump!” and partaking in Nazi salutes drew outrage from the public at large. Trump, finally commented on this event and the alt-right.
Dean Baquet asks if Trump feels like he did things to energize the alt-right movement. "I don't think so, Dean," Trump replies.
Trump: "I don't want to energize the group, and I disavow the group." (1/2)
Trump: "It's not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why." (2/2)
Trump On Clinton
After 18 months of a distinctly anti-Clinton campaign and holding rallies that prominently featured “Lock her up!” chants, Donald Trump completely backtracked on his promise to do just that. Even though the office of the President does not have the power to prosecute Clinton unilaterally, this didn’t stop Trump from making the promise to his supporters that he would appoint a special prosecutor to pursue charges against Hillary Clinton.
During the meeting today, the President-elect reversed course.
Trump is pressed if he has definitively ruled out prosecuting Hillary Clinton. "It's just not something that I feel very strongly about.
I don't want to hurt the Clintons, I really don't. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways.
Trump On Obama
Before meeting with President Obama in person, Trump was arguably his fiercest critic. Trump led the hateful birther movement and constantly berated his Presidency over the past 8 years. But in the weeks since meeting President Obama, President-elect Trump has consistently spoken highly of Obama. He continued to do so today.
I had a great meeting with President Obama," Trump says, says he never met him before. "I really liked him a lot.
He said very nice things after the meeting and I saidvery nice things about him," Trump says of Obama.Says he didn't know if he'd like him.
I think he's looking to do absolutely the right thing for the country in terms of transition," Trump says of Obama.
Trump On The First Amendment
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has repeatedly mentioned he would open up libel laws. This is especially troubling when you take into account how often he attacks the press (Especially the NYT) for reporting negative stories about him. Media scrutiny comes with the job when you hold public office. When pressed on this topic, President-elect Trump said the following:
Trump gets asked about his commitment to first amendment, says, "I think you'll be happy.
Open up the libel laws? Trump says someone told him, "You know, YOU might be sued a lot more.' I said, You know, I hadn't thought of that.
Trump has been unusually secretive in comparison with past President-elects. He has abandoned his press pool on a few occasions and has yet to hold an official televised press conference since being elected President. This meeting with the New York Times gave us one of the most open and revealing days since Nov 8th. One can only hope we’ll “be happy” with his commitment to the first amendment, and he begins to treat the press with the constitutional respect they deserve.