Two weeks after his shocking election victory, United States President-elect Donald Trump has indicated a U-turn on several of his key poll promises and rhetoric, including his hardline on climate change, torture of detainees and his vow to jail Hillary Clinton.
During an interview with reporters and editors of the New York Times, Trump threw enough hints that he would be an unconventional president in terms of distancing himself from his business, receiving inputs from family members in his governance and relationship with the press.
He held out assurances that he did not intend to embrace extremist positions in some areas, the daily said after the interview with Trump, who ‘vigorously denounced’ a white nationalist conference last weekend in Washington, DC.
Trump made a U-turn from his campaign promise on appointing a special prosecutor to investigate into the alleged email scandal of his presidential rival Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t,” he said, adding, “She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways.”
During the election campaign Trump had said Clinton would be in jail if he won the elections. He now faces the consternation of supporters who took that pledge literally.
On climate change, he said, “I’m looking at it very closely”, as he refused to repeat his promise to abandon the international climate accord.
‘I have an open mind to it’ and that clean air and ‘crystal clear water’ were vitally important, Trump said.
Earlier, Trump had called climate change a ‘hoax’ perpetrated by China and vowed to ‘cancel’ the hard-fought Paris Agreement concluded last year to limit dangerous global warming.
Similarly, on the issue of torture, the President-elect said that he has changed his mind after his meeting with Gen James Mattis (retd), whom he is considering to appoint as the defence secretary.
“He (Mattis) said, ‘I’ve never found it to be useful’,” Trump said, adding that Mattis found more value in building trust and rewarding cooperation with terrorism suspects: “‘Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers, and I’ll do better’.”
“I was very impressed by that answer,” Trump said, adding that torture is ‘not going to make the kind of a difference that a lot of people are thinking’.
During the election campaign, he had advocated for restoring water boarding and other sever torture methods.
Responding to questions on his real flourishing estate business, Trump said it would be extremely difficult to sell off his business, as they are real estate holdings.
At the same time, he said he would like to do something and create ‘some kind of arrangement’ to separate his business from his work in the government.
Responding to a question on his kids, he said, “If it were up to some people, I would never, ever see my daughter Ivanka again.”
The real-estate mogul from New York also indicated that he could appoint his son-in-law Jared Kushner a special envoy charged with brokering peace in the Middle East.
“The president of the US is allowed to have whatever conflicts he or she wants, but I don’t want to do that,” he said, adding that Kushner, an observant Jew, ‘could be very helpful’ in reconciling the longstanding dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
“I would love to be able to be the one that made peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” he said, adding that Kushner ‘would be very good at it’ and that ‘he knows the region’.
Trump, who would become the 45th president of the US, said that he hopes to develop a ‘long-term relationship’ with the outgoing US President Barack Obama.
A fierce critic of Obama during the presidential election when he described him as the worst ever president, Trump said, “I really liked him a lot, and I am a little bit surprised that I am telling you that I really liked him a lot.”