Key points from Trump interview
US President-elect Donald Trump has given a joint interview to The Times and Bild newspapers, discussing a range of topics that will hit his inbox following Friday's inauguration.
Here are his thoughts on the key issues, according to a full transcript of the interview published on The Times website on Monday:
- Deal with Russia? -
Trump suggested he may try to strike a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his nuclear arsenal.
"They have sanctions on Russia -- let's see if we can make some good deals with Russia," he said. "I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that's part of it."
- Merkel's 'mistake' -
Despite expressing respect for Angela Merkel, Trump criticised the German leader's "catastrophic" decision to open Europe's doors to those fleeing violence in the Middle East.
"I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals, you know taking all of the people from wherever they come from. And nobody even knows where they come from".
Trump said he would take office with a policy of "trusting" both Merkel and Putin, but warned: "Let's see how long that lasts. It may not last long at all."
- Syria -
The incoming leader slammed Putin's intervention in Syria, calling it "a very bad thing" that had led to a "terrible humanitarian situation".
He also appeared to criticise outgoing president Barack Obama's failure to respond after the Syrian regime overstepped his "line in the sand" by using chemical weapons, saying it was now "too late".
- Brexit -
Trump said believes that Britain's departure from the EU is going "to end up being a great thing", and that he would seek a swift trade deal once Brexit is finalised.
"I'm a big fan of the UK, we're gonna work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly," he said.
- European Union -
The billionaire businessman was less enthusiastic about the EU, calling it a "vehicle for Germany" and predicting that more countries could depart.
"I think people want their own identity, so if you ask me, others, I believe others will leave."
"Look, the EU was formed, partially, to beat the United States on trade, OK? So, I don’t really care whether it's separate or together, to me it doesn’t matter."
- NATO -
Trump repeated his criticism that NATO was "obsolete" in the modern world "because it wasn’t taking care of terror."
However, the president-elect said the alliance was "very important to me" and that it could become relevant once again if it tackled terrorism and if its member countries met their funding obligations.
- Terrorism -
Defeating the Islamic State group will be Trump's priority for the military as commander-in-chief.
He said he will also announce plans for "extreme vetting" of people trying to enter the US from "various parts of the world that have lots of terrorism problems" and that he could even impose travel restrictions on some Europeans.
- Iran -
Trump refused to say whether he would tear up Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran.
"I'm not happy with the Iran deal, I think it's one of the worst deals ever made, I think it’s one of the dumbest deals I’ve ever seen, one of the dumbest."
- Israel -
The president-elect confirmed that son-in-law Jared Kushner will be tasked with trying to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, but said Washington's abstention in a UN vote in December demanding an end to Israeli settlements had made the task more difficult.
"People are giving away (bargaining) chips, they're giving away all these chips."
"Ya know what, Jared is such a good kid and he’ll make a deal with Israel that no one else can -- ya know he’s a natural," he said.
- Twitter -
Despite initial suggestions that he would tone down his Twitter diatribes on becoming president, Trump said he will still tweet after Friday.
"I thought I'd do less of it, but I'm covered so dishonestly by the press that I can put out Twitter — I can go bing bing bing and I just keep going."
© 2017 AFP