What can we expect from a Trump presidency? 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl finds some of his campaign issues were not meant to be taken literally, but as opening bids for negotiation
The following script is from “The 45th President,” which aired on Nov. 13, 2016. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Rich Bonin and Ruth Streeter, producers.
During what seemed an interminable campaign, a divided country found all kinds of ways to describe Donald Trump: visionary businessman, vulgar self-promoter, political neophyte.
But after Tuesday, for all Americans, there’s only one description that counts: president-elect.
Since the election, demonstrations against him have broken out in over a dozen cities across the country. And people on both sides are on edge.
What we discovered in Mr. Trump’s first television interview as president-elect, was that some of his signature issues at the heart of his campaign were not meant to be taken literally, but as opening bids for negotiation.
Tonight, you will also hear from his family about whether they’ll play roles in a Trump presidency.
But we begin with President-elect Trump, whom we interviewed Friday in his penthouse home in the Trump Tower.
PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP
Lesley Stahl: Well, congratulations, Mr. Trump.
Donald Trump: Thank you.
Lesley Stahl: You’re president-elect.
Donald Trump: Thank you.
Lesley Stahl: How surprised were you?
Donald Trump: Well, I really felt we were doing well. I was on a string of about 21 straight days of speeches, sometimes many a day and the last two days I really– I really had a pretty wild time. I did six speeches and then I did seven and–
Lesley Stahl: But everyone thought you were going to lose.
Donald Trump: I know, I did my final speech in Michigan at 1:00 in the morning and we had 31,000 people, many people outside of the arena. And I felt– when I left, I said, “How are we gonna lose?” We set it up a day before. And we had all of these people. And it was literally at 1:00 in the morning and I said, “This doesn’t look like second place.” So we were really happy, I mean, it was– these are great people.
Lesley Stahl: On election night, I heard you went completely silent. Was it a sort of realization of the enormity of this thing for you?
Donald Trump: I think so, it’s enormous. I’ve done a lotta big things, I’ve never done anything like this. It is so big, it is so– it’s so enormous, it’s so amazing.
Lesley Stahl: It kind of just took your breath away? Couldn’t talk?
Donald Trump: A li– a little bit, a little bit. And I think– I realized that this is a whole different life for me now.
Lesley Stahl: Hillary called you. Tell us about that phone call.
Donald Trump: So Hillary called and it was a lovely call and it was a tough call for her, I mean, I can imagine. Tougher for her than it would have been for me. And for me, it would have been very, very difficult. She couldn’t have been nicer. She just said, “Congratulations, Donald, well done.” And I said, “I want to thank you very much, you were a great competitor.” She is very strong and very smart.
Lesley Stahl: What about Bill Clinton? Did you talk to him?
Donald Trump: He did, he called the next day.
Lesley Stahl: Really? What did he say?
Donald Trump: He actually called last night.
Lesley Stahl: What did he say?
Donald Trump: And he– he couldn’t have been more gracious. He said it was an amazing run. One of the most amazing he’s ever seen.
Lesley Stahl: He said that.
Donald Trump: He was very, very– really, very nice.
Lesley Stahl: It was a pretty nasty campaign. Do you regret any of the things you said about her?
Donald Trump: Well, it was a double-side nasty.
Donald Trump: I mean they were tough and I was tough and– do I regret? I mean, I’m sitting here with you now and we’re gonna do a great job for the country. We’re going to make America great again, I mean, that’s what– it– it began with that and that’s where we are right now. There are so many–
Lesley Stahl: So no– no regrets about–
Donald Trump: I can’t regret. No– I wish it were softer, I wish it were nicer, I wish maybe even it was more on policy, or whatever you want to say. But– but I will say that– it really– it really is something that I’m very proud of I mean it was a tremendous campaign.
Lesley Stahl: Can we talk about yesterday with President Obama?
Donald Trump: Sure.
Lesley Stahl: 90 minutes. You were scheduled for what? 15?
Donald Trump: 15 max.
[Barack Obama: We talked about foreign policy, we talked about domestic policy.]
Donald Trump: This was just going to be a quick little chat and it lasted close to an hour and a half. And it could have gone on for four hours. I mean it was– just– in fact, it was almost hard breaking it up because we had so many things to say. And he told me– the good things and the bad things, there are things that are tough right now–
Lesley Stahl: Like what?
Donald Trump: Well…
Lesley Stahl: Give us some meat.
Donald Trump: Well, look I don’t want to divulge, but we talked about the Middle East, that’s tough. It’s a tough situation. I wanted to get his full view and I got his, you know I got a good part of his view.
Lesley Stahl: Uh-huh.
Donald Trump: And I like having that because I’m going to be inheriting that in a short period of time. I found him to be terrific. I found him to be– very smart and very nice. Great sense of humor, as much as you can have a sense of humor talking about tough subjects, but we were talking about some pretty tough subjects.
Donald Trump:–and we were talking about some victories, also, some things that– that he feels very good about. But–
Lesley Stahl: Like–
Donald Trump: Well, what I really wanted to focus on was– the Middle East, North Korea, Obamacare is tough. You know, healthcare is a tough situation.
Lesley Stahl: Oh, I bet he asked you not to undo it.
Donald Trump: Well, he didn’t ask me, no, he told me– you know, the merits and the difficulties. And we understand that.
Lesley Stahl: You looked pretty sober sitting there in the Oval Office, did something wash over you or–
Donald Trump: No, I think I’m a sober person. I think the press tries to make you into something a little bit different. In my case, a little bit of a wild man. I’m not. I’m actually not. I’m a very sober person. But it was respect for the office, it was respect for the president. Again, I never met him before, but we had– we had a very good chemistry going. And– and I really found—it might not be that I agree with him, but I really found the conversation unbelievably interesting.
[Barack Obama: I want to emphasize to you, Mr. President-elect, that we now are gonna want to do everything we can to help you succeed, because if you succeed then the country succeeds.]
Lesley Stahl: Was it at all awkward, at all, given what you’ve said about each other? You said he was not born in this country, he said things about you, he said you’re– unqualified–
Donald Trump: You know what, it was a very– it was a very interesting thing because– I mean, few people have asked me from my family, what was that first period of time like?
Lesley Stahl: Yeah.
Donald Trump: We never discussed what was said about each other. I said terrible things about him, he said terrible things about me. We never ever discussed what we said about each other—
Lesley Stahl: There was no awkwardness?
Donald Trump: I’ll be honest, from my standpoint zero, zero. And that’s strange. I’m actually surprised to tell you that. It’s– you know, a little bit strange.
[Donald Trump: Thank you, sir.]
Lesley Stahl: Do you think that– that your election is a repudiation of his presidency?
Donald Trump: No, I think it’s a moment in time where politicians for a long period of time have let people down. They’ve let ‘em down on the job front. They’ve even let ‘em down in terms of the war front. You know, we’ve been fighting this war for 15 years–
Lesley Stahl: This was the message of your campaign.
Donald Trump: We’ve spent $6 trillion in the Middle East, $6 trillion, we could have rebuilt our country twice. And you look at our roads and our bridges and our tunnels and all of the– and our airports are, like, obsolete. And I think it was just a repudiation of what’s been taking place over a longer period of time than that.
Lesley Stahl: You know, you surprised everyone by winning the primaries, beating 17 other Republicans or 16, whatever– people are really surprised that you won this election. Are people going to be surprised about how you conduct yourself as president?
Donald Trump: You know, I’ll conduct myself– in a very good manner, but depends on what the situation is, sometimes you have to be rougher. When I look at– when I look at the world and you look at how various places are taking advantage of our country, and I say it, and I say it very proudly, it’s going to be America first. It’s not going to be what we’re doing—we, we’ve lost– we’re losing this country. We’re losing this country. That’s why I won the election. And by the way, won it easily, I mean I won easily. That was big, big.
Lesley Stahl: Are you going to sometimes have that same rhetoric that you had on the stump? Or are you going to reign it in?
Donald Trump: Well, sometimes you need a certain rhetoric to get people motivated. I don’t want to be just a little nice monotone character and in many cases I will be.
Lesley Stahl: Can you be?
Donald Trump: Sure I can. I can be easily, that’s easier. Honestly to do that, it’s easier.
Lesley Stahl: So let’s go through very quickly some of the promises you made and tell us if you’re going to do what you said or you’re going to change it in any way. Are you really going to build a wall?
Donald Trump: Yes.
Lesley Stahl: They’re talking about a fence in the Republican Congress, would you accept a fence?
Donald Trump: For certain areas I would, but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I’m very good at this, it’s called construction.
Lesley Stahl: So part wall, part fence?
Donald Trump: Yeah, it could be – it could be some fencing.
Lesley Stahl: What about the pledge to deport millions and millions of undocumented immigrants?
Donald Trump: What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate. But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally. After the border is secured and after everything gets normalized, we’re going to make a determination on the people that you’re talking about who are terrific people, they’re terrific people but we are gonna make a determination at that– But before we make that determination– Lesley, it’s very important, we want to secure our border.
[Paul Ryan: We had a fantastic, productive meeting.]
Lesley Stahl: So you were with Paul Ryan, you met with the Republican leadership, what was the– one thing that you all agreed you want to get done right away?
Donald Trump: Well, I would say there was more than one thing, there were three things, it was healthcare, there was immigration and there was a major tax bill lowering taxes in this country. We’re going to substantially simplify and lower the taxes–
Lesley Stahl: And you’ve got both Houses?
Donald Trump: And I have both Houses and we have the presidency, so we can do things–
Lesley Stahl: You can do things lickety-split.
Donald Trump: It’s been a long time since it’s happened.
Donald Trump: And they gave me a lot of credit. Don’t forget, I was abused four or five weeks ago, they said I was going to– instead of having all three, we would lose all three. So that was good. But those are the three things that we really discussed.
Lesley Stahl: You said that lobbyists owned politicians because they give them money.
Donald Trump: Yeah.
Lesley Stahl: You admitted you used to do it yourself. You have a transition team—
Donald Trump: And when you say lobbyists, lobbyists and special interests.
Lesley Stahl: And you want to get rid of all of that?
Donald Trump: I don’t like it, no.
Lesley Stahl: You don’t like it, but your own transition team, it’s filled with lobbyists.
Donald Trump: That’s the only people you have down there.
Lesley Stahl: You have lobbyists from Verizon, you have lobbyists from the oil gas industry, you have food lobby.
Donald Trump: Sure. Everybody’s a lobbyist down there–
Lesley Stahl: Well, wait
Donald Trump: That’s what they are. They’re lobbyists or special interests—
Lesley Stahl: On your own transition team.
Donald Trump:–we are trying to clean up Washington. Look–
Lesley Stahl: How can you claim–
Donald Trump: Everything, everything down there– there are no people– there are all people that work — that’s the problem with the system, the system. Right now, we’re going to clean it up. We’re having restrictions on foreign money coming in, we’re going to put on term limits, which a lot of people aren’t happy about, but we’re putting on term limits. We’re doing a lot of things to clean up the system. But everybody that works for government, they then leave government and they become a lobbyist, essentially. I mean, the whole place is one big lobbyist.
Lesley Stahl: But you’re, but you’re basically saying you have to rely on them, even though you want to get rid of them?
Donald Trump: I’m saying that they know the system right now, but we’re going to phase that out. You have to phase it out.
Lesley Stahl: Let’s talk about your cabinet.
Donald Trump: OK.
Lesley Stahl: Have you made any decisions?
Donald Trump: Yes.
Lesley Stahl: Tell us.
Donald Trump: Well, I can’t tell you that, but I have made–
Lesley Stahl: Oh, come on—
Donald Trump: You know the amazing thing to show you the incredible nature of our country. First of all, every major leader and probably less than major le- has called me, I’ve spoken to many of them and I’ll call the rest of them, but and I said, “Boy, this really shows you how powerful our country is.” France and U.K. and I mean everybody, all over Asia—and very, just to congratulate. But it really shows the power of our country.
Lesley Stahl: One of the things you’re going to obviously get an opportunity to do, is name someone to the Supreme Court. And I assume you’ll do that quickly?
Donald Trump: Yes. Very important.
Lesley Stahl: During the campaign, you said that you would appoint justices who were against abortion rights. Will you appoint– are you looking to appoint a justice who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade?
Donald Trump: So look, here’s what’s going to happen– I’m going to– I’m pro-life. The judges will be pro-life. They’ll be very—
Lesley Stahl: But what about overturning this law–
Donald Trump: Well, there are a couple of things. They’ll be pro-life, they’ll be– in terms of the whole gun situation, we know the Second Amendment and everybody’s talking about the Second Amendment and they’re trying to dice it up and change it, they’re going to be very pro-Second Amendment. But having to do with abortion if it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states. So it would go back to the states and–
Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but then some women won’t be able to get an abortion?
Donald Trump: No, it’ll go back to the states.
Lesley Stahl: By state—no some —
Donald Trump: Yeah.
Donald Trump: Yeah, well, they’ll perhaps have to go, they’ll have to go to another state.
Lesley Stahl: And that’s OK?
Donald Trump: Well, we’ll see what happens. It’s got a long way to go, just so you understand. That has a long, long way to go.
Lesley Stahl: Are you in any way intimidated, scared about this enormous burden, the gravity of what you’re taking on?
Donald Trump: No.
Lesley Stahl: Not at all?
Donald Trump: I respect it. But I’m not scared by it.
Lesley Stahl: Now you’re not scared, but there are people, Americans, who are scared and some of them are demonstrating right now, demonstrating against you, against your rhetoric–
Donald Trump: That’s only because they don’t know me. I really believe that’s only because–
Lesley Stahl: Well, they listened to you in the campaign and that’s–
Donald Trump: I just don’t think they know me.
Lesley Stahl: Well, what do you think they’re demonstrating against?
Donald Trump: Well, I think in some cases, you have professional protesters. And we had it– if you look at WikiLeaks, we had–
Lesley Stahl: You think those people down there are—
Donald Trump: Well Lesley—
Lesley Stahl: are professional?
Donald Trump: Oh, I think some of them will be professional, yeah–
Lesley Stahl: OK, but what about – they’re in every city.
Lesley Stahl: When they demonstrate against you and there are signs out there, I mean, don’t you say to yourself, I guess you don’t, you know, do I have to worry about this? Do I have to go out and assuage them? Do I have to tell them not to be afraid? They’re afraid.
Donald Trump: I would tell them don’t be afraid, absolutely.
Lesley Stahl: But that’s not what you’re saying, I said it-
Donald Trump: Oh, I think, no, no, I think– I am saying it, I’ve been saying it.
Lesley Stahl: OK.
Donald Trump: Don’t be afraid. 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. I mean, people are protesting. If Hillary had won and if my people went out and protested, everybody would say, “Oh, that’s a terrible thing.” And it would have been a much different attitude. There is a different attitude. You know, there is a double standard here.
It has been five full days since the election and anti-Trump demonstrations, driven in part by Hillary Clinton’s edge in the popular vote, have been significant.
When we interviewed him on Friday afternoon Mr. Trump said he had not heard about some of the acts of violence that are popping up in his name… or against his supporters.
Nor he said had he heard about reports of racial slurs and personal threats against African Americans, Latinos and gays by some of his supporters.
Donald Trump: I am very surprised to hear that– I hate to hear that, I mean I hate to hear that–
Lesley Stahl: But you do hear it?
Donald Trump: I don’t hear it—I saw, I saw one or two instances…
Lesley Stahl: On social media?
Donald Trump: But I think it’s a very small amount. Again, I think it’s–
Lesley Stahl: Do you want to say anything to those people?
Donald Trump: I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, ‘cause I’m gonna bring this country together.
Lesley Stahl: They’re harassing Latinos, Muslims–
Donald Trump: I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, “Stop it.” If it– if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.
During the campaign Mr. Trump said he would appoint a special prosecutor to look into Hillary Clinton’s email issue.
So we asked him if he plans to carry that out.
That part of the interview and a discussion with the next first lady, Melania Trump, when we come back.
SOURCE: Lesley Stahl
CBS / 60 Minutes