US President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday addressed his first media conference after winning the presidential election on Nov 8.
Trump addressed questions on various issues including Russian hacking claims, US’s business policy, his equation with Vladimir Putin and his company Trump Organisation.
He was highly critical of recent intelligence reports featuring him being leaked to the media, and blasted media outlets such as Buzzfeed and CNN for publishing what he said was “fake” news against him.
Here are the highlights from Trump’s conference,
On claims that Russia has comprising information on Donald Trump
Donald Trump rejected allegations that Russia had sensitive information about him that could compromise his decision making as US President.
News website Buzzfeed, based on leaked intelligence documents, claimed that Trump and a few of his close associates were prone to blackmail by Russia on account of their past actions. The president-elect rejected the intelligence document as fake, as well as questioned some sections of US intelligence for leaking information to the press.
The explosive claims against Trump were published by Buzzfeed and later appeared on CNN. Other major media organisations such as the New York Times and Guardian,on the other hand, dubbed the Buzzfeed article as fake news.
On Russia and Vladimir Putin
Donald Trump reckoned that if Russian President Vladimir Putin liked him, it was an asset and not a liability for the United States.
We have a horrible relationship with Russia at present, he said.
“Russia can help us fight ISIS, which we created in the first place by leaving at the wrong time.”
He expressed confidence that the Putin government wouldn’t have committed any hacking activity had he been the president.
On conflict of interest
Donald Trump said that he would be transferring control of Trump Organisation to his sons Donald and Eric Trump. The president elect said he would refrain from being involved in any decision-making in the organisation. According to Trump’s lawyer, who also briefed the reporters during the conference ,Trump’s companies wouldn’t be allowed to make any new foreign deals during his presidential term.
Trump even claimed that he was offered a bribe of $2 billion by his friend to invest in a property in Dubai, an offer he refused since it would create conflict of interest with his presidential duties.
On the Mexican wall
Trump said that he would go ahead with his election pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border, but the US would be footing the bill initially.
The 70-year old said that he would make Mexico pay for the wall one way or another in an year or year-and-a-half’s time.
Donald Trump said he would repeal Obamacare and replace it with another healthcare plan. Officially known as the Affordable Care Act, it has been the flagship welfare programs of the Barack Obama administration.
“We are doing the Democrats a tremendous service by scrapping Obamacare. It would have imploded in an year anyway. We will repeal and replace it with a much better plan.”
On his cabinet
Trump defended his cabinet picks, when a reporter pointed out that the people he had nominated such as state secretary pick Rex Tillerson could have conflict of interest. Tillerson was the chairman and the CEO at oil giant ExxonMobil until being asked by Trump to serve in his cabinet.
He also defended his Attorney General-pick Jeff Sessions, the Alabama senator known to have controversial views on race relations.
On Hillary Clinton
Trump said he was untroubled by reports that Russians liked him over Hillary Clinton.
He compared US intelligence reports of Russia hacking the servers of rival Democratic Party in order to influence the US election to earlier hacking scandals which he said had been committed by China.
He said that the Democrats were to be blamed for lax internet security, as he failed to criticise Russia.
On daughter Ivanka Trump
Trump said his daughter Ivanka Trump, along with her husband Jared Kushner and their kid, would move to the White House.
He said that Ivanka would resign from all positions she holds in Trump’s businesses so as not to create any conflict of interest. Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner is reportedly going to hold an influential position in the White House as Trump’s advisor.
On US business policy under him
He praised Carrier to go back on its decision to shutter a factory in the state of Indiana and move to Mexico. According to news reports, Trump played a role in forcing the air conditioning parts manufacturer to not move US operations to Mexico, that would have resulted in around 1,000 job losses.
Trump said that his government would levy huge border tax on companies that moved manufacturing outside from the US as strategy to save jobs in America.
Trump has been highly critical of companies that manufacture overseas and sell their products and services in the US through his presidential campaign, and is widely expected to carry out his campaign promises.
On news media
Trump had a brief argument with one of the reporters during the press conference, as his rocky relationship with media continued. After rejecting reports published by Buzzfeed about Russia possessing sensitive information on him as false, Trump attacked Buzzfeed and CNN for carrying what he said he were fake intelligence reports.
“I will tell you, some of the media outlets that I deal with are fake news, more so than anybody.”
He asked journalists to have some moral compass.
Here’s a video of Donald Trump’s press conference
(Source: Youtube/PBS Newshour)