Trump condemns white nationalists and defends Steve Bannon from attacks in New York Times interview

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President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday disavowed the "alt-right," the group consisting of self-described white nationalists who overwhelmingly supported his presidential bid, while asserting that his White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is not among their ranks.

Tweets from Trump's meeting with the New York Times from reporters Maggie Haberman, Mike Grynbaum, Julie Davis, and others detailed a lengthy exchange on Trump's alt-right support and Bannon.



"I don't want to energize the group, and I disavow the group," Trump said. "It's not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why."

Trump rejected the notion that he energized the alt-right. The president-elect was also asked about a white nationalist conference held recently in Washington, DC, that has garnered attention.

Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist who coined the term "alt-right" spoke at length at the conference about Trump's victory leading to a return to power for "Europeans" and made Nazi-esque remarks regarding Jews, with his speech ending in chants of "Heil Trump" from the crowd.

READ MORE: Journalists' tweets during Trump's visit to the New York Times

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Journalists live tweet Donald Trump at the New York Times
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Journalists live tweet Donald Trump at the New York Times
Trump: Jared Kushner could help make peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
“I would love to be the one who made peace with Israel and the Palestinians, that would be such a great achievement."
"Syria, we have to solve that problem," Trump says. Adds he has a "different view than everybody else."
"I don't think we should be a nation-builder," Trump says of the US role in the world.
"I had a great meeting with President Obama," Trump says, says he never met him before. "I really liked him a lot."
"He said very nice things after the meeting and I saidvery nice things about him," Trump says of Obama.Says he didn't know if he'd like him.
"I think he's looking to do absolutely the right thing for the country in terms of transition," Trump says of Obama.
'He did tell me what he thought were the biggest problems, in particular one problem," Trump says. Won't say what that was.
"I feel comfortable," Trump says of adapting to the job.
Trump on GOP leaders @McConnellPress & @SpeakerRyan: "Right now they’re in love with me. Four weeks ago, they weren’t in love with me"
Asked point-blank about Nazi conference in DC over wknd: @realDonaldTrump tells @nytimes "of course" "I disavow and condemn them"
Trump is asked about concerns from minority groups about Breitbart News’s coverage under Steve Bannon. His reply: https://t.co/FBqCGwQpBr
"Paul Ryan, right now, loves me. Mitch McConnell loves me," Trump says. Then says, "I've liked Chuck Schumer for a long time."
Trump: “If you see something or you get something where you feel that I’m wrong, I'd love to hear it. You can call me. Arthur can call me."
"A lot of people are coming to his defense right now," Trump says of Bannon. Reince voices support too at conference table.
On Bannon:"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."
Trump on Bannon: "I think it's very hard on him. I think he's having a hard time with it. Because it's not him."
Trump: "Breitbart is just a publication."
Trump says "in theory" he could continue signing checks at his company, but he is "phasing that out now" and giving to his kids.
"In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There's never been a case like this,"he says of his tangles
"I'd assumed that you'd have to set up some type of trust or whatever and you don't," Trump says.But he adds "I would like to do something."
"I might have brought it up," Trump says of Farage meeting and wind farms.
Trump acknowledges the DC hotel he owns is "probably a more valuable asset than it was before." Says the brand is "hotter."
"My company's so unimportant to me relative to what I'm doing." Trump.
What about selling your company? “That’s a really hard thing to do, because I have real estate."
Conflicts of interest? Trump says: “If it were up to some people, I would never, ever see my daughter Ivanka again."
Trump on his businesses/conflict q's: "The law's totally on my side, the president can't have a conflict of interest."
"I think it would be very very divisive for the country," Trump says about prosecuting the Clintons.
"My inclination would be for whatever power I have on the matter is to say let's go forward.This has been looked at for so long, ad nauseum"
That last tweet was Trump making clear he doesn't favor prosecution. Added people could argue the Clinton Foundation has done "good work."
On climate change, Trump says he is also thinking about "how much it will cost our companies” & the effect on American competitiveness.
Does Trump think human activity is linked to climate change? “I think there is some connectivity. Some, something. It depends on how much."
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"I disavow and condemn them," Trump said. "Of course."

Speaking about Bannon, a top executive at Breitbart News, a website he has called "the platform for the alt-right," Trump said: "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."

Bannon, accused of past anti-Semitism, has insisted he is not anti-Semitic. But his appointment was met with immediate condemnation from the left and even some on the right.

"A lot of people are coming to his defense right now," Trump said, as his incoming White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, voiced support for Bannon while sitting at the conference table.

"I think it's very hard on him," Trump said. "I think he's having a hard time with it. Because it's not him."

Trump also addressed Breitbart, which he said "is just a publication."

The outlet ran a headline Tuesday that accused him of a "broken promise" after Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway suggested he would not pursue an investigation against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The publication has also come under fire for inflammatory headlines and stories, and it has been unabashedly pro-Trump throughout his campaign.

"They cover stories like you cover stories," he said. "They are certainly a much more conservative paper, to put it mildly, than The New York Times. But Breitbart really is a news organization that has become quite successful. It's got readers, and it does cover subjects on the right, but it covers subjects on the left also. It's a pretty big thing."

SEE ALSO: Trump says he's 'seriously considering' Ben Carson for top Cabinet role one week after Carson said he had no interest

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