There has been intense speculation over exactly what the new US president-elect Donald Trump plans to do with his tenure in the White House. Given he has no prior political experience, he is, to all intents and purposes, a completely unknown quantity, so it’s extremely difficult to predict exactly how many of his campaign promises he actually intends to follow through with now he has the power to pursue them.
In an illuminating interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl, his first since winning the election, Trump gave a few indicators at what’s in store.
One of the most alarming takeaways from the interview was Trump confirming his commitment to nominating pro-life federal judges in an attempt to repeal the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision which ruled that it was unconstitutional for a state to ban abortion. If Trump is successful, individual states will have the power to make it illegal once again. A woman seeking the procedure in a state which would outlaw it will “have to go to another state” Trump confirmed.
More reassuringly, Trump seemed to indicate no intention to repeal same-sex marriage, as had previously been feared. “It’s irrelevant because it was already settled, it’s law, it was already settled at the Supreme Court. It’s done.”
Unequivocal on his plans to follow through with his deportation of undocumented immigrants, Trump declared "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." Discussing those without criminal records, Trump described them “terrific people” but reaffirmed that he was “going to make a determination” on their citizen status.
Trump confirmed his ambition to construct his wall along the Mexican border; stating "I'm very good at this. It's called construction."
Prosecuting Hillary Clinton
Having previously stated an intention to “instruct [his] attorney general to have a special prosecutor to look into [Clinton’s] situation” if he became president, he gave an altogether less emphatic and slightly confusing response this time around: “I’m gonna think about it… I feel that I want to focus on jobs, I want to focus on health care, I want to focus on the border and immigration. We want to have a great immigration bill… and get the country straightened away. She did some bad things. I don’t want to hurt them. They’re good people, I don’t want to hurt them. And I will give you a very, very good and definitive answer the next time we do 60 Minutes together.”
The Electoral College
Despite having effectively won due to the quirk of the Electoral College system, whereby he won office in spite of losing the popular vote to Clinton, Trump told Stahl he still planned to address an electoral system he has long claimed is rigged. “"I'm not going to change my mind just because I won… I would rather see it where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes and somebody else gets 90 million votes and you win."
"We're going to substantially simplify and lower the taxes," Trump said, without giving much indication of how exactly he plans to do this. On releasing his own tax returns, he said: “At the appropriate time I will release them. But at the (current) time, I’m under routine audit, and nobody cares.”
“It’s very much something we’re going to try to keep,” said Trump, though he still indicated his desire to repeal and replace Obamacare. “It’ll be just fine. We’re not going to have a two-year period where there’s just nothing… and it’ll be great health care for much less money.”
Stahl confronted Trump with the fact that there has been an alarming spike in his supporters committing hate crimes directed at minorities and the LGBT community since his election. "I am very surprised to hear that… I think it's a very small amount," he replied, but when pressed further on a stronger response, he said: “I am so saddened to hear that, and I say stop it. And if it helps, I’ll say it right to the cameras: Stop it.”