Trump disavows alt-right, walks back climate change claims in meeting with New York Times

Posted at 3:42 PM, Nov 22, 2016

During a meeting with reporters and editors of the New York Times on Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump appeared to be open to compromise on a number of the issues he raised throughout his campaign.

Per tweets from Times reporters in the room with Trump, the President-elect conceded that humans may have had a hand in climate change, reiterated that his administration would not seek charges against political rival Hillary Clinton and appeared to back off claims that he would “open up libel laws” against journalists.

Trump also formally disavowed support from the alt-right and hate groups that seem to have been emboldened by his win.

“Of course I disavow and condemn them,” he said, according to Times reporters in the room.

Trump also addressed concerns about his top adviser, Steve Bannon, the former CEO of Breitbart — a conservative news website that is said to be a platform for the alt-right.

“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," he said.

As for Breitbart itself, Trump called the website “just a publication.”



Part of the hour-long meeting between the President-elect and the nation’s second-largest newspaper was spent discussing climate change. In the past, Trump has tweeted that global warming is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese. But on Tuesday, Trump seemed to backtrack from his older tweets.

“I think there is some connectivity. Some, something. It depends on how much," he said, according to Times reporters.

Trump implied that the economy would come first, saying that he is keeping in mind “how much it would cost our companies.”



Hours after a Trump aide said that his administration would not seek charges against Hillary Clinton, the President-elect confirmed those sentiments in his own words.

“It’s just not something I feel very strongly about,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways.”

During a nationally televised debate, Trump said he would appoint a special prosecutor to look into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State.



Trump began the meeting by expressing his disappointment with the coverage he has received by the Times throughout his campaign.

“I think I have been treated very rough,” he said, according to Times reporters. “I will says (coverage by) the Times is the roughest of all.”

Trump went on to say that while he feels unfairly treated, he hopes to improve his relationship with the paper.



Trump’s meeting with the Times came hours after he tweeted that the meeting had been cancelled after the times “changed the terms of the meeting.” The Times refuted the claims in a story published Tuesday morning.

Trump has been critical of the paper since being elected earlier this month. Nine of his tweets since his election have been critical of the Times, far more than any other media outlet.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.