By Amy B Wang
In a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday evening on CBS, President-elect Donald J. Trump said he planned to deport up to 3 million undocumented immigrants involved with crime quickly after his inauguration in January.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Trump told “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl. “But we’re getting them out of our country. They’re here illegally.”
Stahl had pressed Trump about his campaign pledge to deport “millions and millions of undocumented immigrants.” Trump told her that after securing the border, his administration would make a “determination” on the remaining undocumented immigrants in the country.
“After the border is secure and after everything gets normalized, we’re going to make a determination on the people that they’re talking about – who are terrific people. They’re terrific people, but we are going to make a determination at that,” Trump said. “But before we make that determination … it’s very important, we are going to secure our border.”
His comments echoed those he had made at the start of his Republican presidential campaign: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump had said in June 2015 when he announced his candidacy. “… They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Trump’s campaign promises also included fully repealing President Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, having Mexico pay for a border wall and temporarily banning Muslims from entering the country.
Regarding his proposed border wall, Trump told Stahl that he would accept fencing along some of the border, as Republicans in Congress have proposed. “For certain areas, I would. But for certain areas, a wall is more appropriate,” Trump said. “I’m very good at this. It’s called construction.”
When asked of reports of racial slurs, harassment and personal threats against African-Americans, gay people, Latinos and Muslims and others by some of his supporters, Trump said that he didn’t hear it but that he “hates” to hear this.
“I am so saddened to hear that,” Trump said. “And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it … helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.’ ”
Seated with his wife, Melania, and his four adult children, Trump spoke with Stahl about his seemingly shifting position on Obamacare, saying he would try to preserve key parts of the health care act, and also praised Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as “very strong and very smart.”
Trump told Stahl that Clinton’s phone call early Wednesday conceding the election was “lovely” and said that making the phone call was likely “tougher for her than it would have been for me.”
“She couldn’t have been nicer. She just said, ‘Congratulations, Donald, well done,’ ” Trump recalled. “And I said, ‘I want to thank you very much. You were a great competitor.’ She is very strong and very smart.”
Trump’s tone in the interview was in sharp contrast to his bitter attacks on the campaign trail, in which he nicknamed Clinton “Crooked Hillary” and encouraged chants of “Lock her up!” at his rallies. Among other insults, Trump also referred to his rival as “the devil,” “a bigot” and – at the tail end of the final presidential debate – “such a nasty woman.”
Trump also told Stahl that Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, called him the following day and “couldn’t have been more gracious.”
“He said it was an amazing run – one of the most amazing he’s ever seen,” Trump said. “He was very, very, really, very nice.”
During the campaign, Trump had tried to use Bill Clinton’s infidelities as a way to attack and embarrass Hillary Clinton.
For the second presidential debate, Trump had sought to intimidate his competitor by inviting women who had accused the former president of sexual abuse to sit in the Trump family box. Debate officials quashed the idea.
In the interview with Stahl, Trump did not rule out calling both of the Clintons for advice during his term.
“I mean, this is a very talented family,” he said. “Certainly, I would certainly think about that.”
Trump also reiterated that he may keep portions of the Affordable Care Act, something he had mentioned he might do after he met Thursday with Obama in the Oval Office.
When Stahl asked whether people with pre-existing conditions would still be covered after Trump repealed and replaced Obamacare, Trump said they would “because it happens to be one of the strongest assets.”
“Also, with the children living with their parents for an extended period, we’re going to … very much try and keep that,” Trump added, referring to portions of the health care act that cover children under their parents’ insurance through age 26. “It adds cost, but it’s very much something we’re going to try and keep.”
When Stahl questioned whether there would be a gap between the repeal of Obamacare and the implementation of a new plan that could leave millions of people uninsured, Trump interrupted her.
“Nope. We’re going to do it simultaneously. It’ll be just fine. It’s what I do. I do a good job. You know, I mean, I know how to do this stuff,” Trump said. “We’re going to repeal and replace it. And we’re not going to have, like, a two-day period, and we’re not going to have a two-year period where there’s nothing. It will be repealed and replaced. I mean, you’ll know. And it will be great health care for much less money.”
When asked by Stahl if he plans to nominate a Supreme justice who would overturn 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, Trump said that whomever he names will be “very pro-life” and that “if it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states.”
Trump has previously said that he would nominate justices to overturn Roe v. Wade and, in Vice President-elect Mike Pence, he will be bringing one of the nation’s most anti-abortion politicians into the White House.
Trump also said he is “fine” with same-sex marriage being legal. Trump, who did not release his tax returns during the campaign, told “60 Minutes” that he will make them public “at the appropriate time.”
Trump said he believes that some of the people involved in demonstrations that have taken place in major cities since Trump’s victory are “professional protesters” and that people shouldn’t be scared of his administration.
“Don’t be afraid,” Trump said. “We are going to bring our country back. But certainly, don’t be afraid. You know, we just had an election, and sort of like you have to be given a little time.”