President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to move aggressively on a conservative agenda in filling Supreme Court vacancies, cracking down on immigration and cutting taxes, but also sought to reassure worried Americans they have nothing to fear from his presidency.
Setting aside the strident tone of his campaign, the 70-year-old assumed a gentler manner in his first television interview since his shock election, saying he was “saddened” by reports of harassment of Muslims and Hispanics, and telling the perpetrators: “Stop It.”
The interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” which was taped Friday and aired in full Sunday, offered Trump an opportunity to reintroduce himself after an ugly, name-calling campaign and surprise victory that sparked protests in cities across the United States.
Millions were expected to tune in to Trump’s interview for clues on how the billionaire will govern, and to what degree he intends to convert his slogans into policy.
Trump earlier Sunday named anti-establishment firebrand Steve Bannon his top strategist and senior Republican Reince Priebus his White House chief of staff, blending pragmatism with a rabble-rousing edge in the first appointments of his new administration.
On the issues, however, Trump made it clear he intends to aggressively push a right-wing agenda, pledging to name justices to the Supreme Court who are against abortion and for gun rights.
“The judges will be pro-life,” Trump told CBS. “In terms of the whole gun situation,” he added, “they’re going to be very pro-Second Amendment.”
On immigration, Trump reaffirmed his signature campaign pledge to build a wall on the border with Mexico, although he conceded parts of it may be just a fence.
While Trump has veered on some pledges, his choice of Bannon as top strategist suggests he intends to preserve his populist edge.
Bannon, who was campaign chairman in the final months of the Trump campaign, is CEO of the right-wing, conspiracy-mongering Breitbart News website known for withering attacks on the Republican elite.