In his first post-election interview, President-elect Donald Trump told his supporters who have engaged in racist and bigoted attacks in the days following Tuesday’s election to “stop it,” saying that he wasn’t aware of the incidents and claiming it was “a very small amount.”
“I am so saddened to hear that,” Trump said on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” which aired Sunday. “And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the camera: ‘Stop it.’”
Trump accused the media of amplifying the racist incidents.
“I think it’s built up by the press because, frankly, they’ll take every single little incident that they can find in this country, which could’ve been there before ― if I weren’t even around doing this ― and they’ll make it into an event, because that’s the way the press is.”
There have been numerous reports of incidents of racism and bigotry over the last week following Trump’s election. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Council on American Islamic Relations, two organizations that track hate crimes, have both reported an increase in such incidents and suggested that the level of hate crimes may have surpassed that of the period immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks.
Trump, who spent much of his campaign stoking racist and xenophobic fears and personally maligning Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, said he did not regret the negativity of his campaign.
“I mean, they were tough, and I was tough, and do I regret? I mean, I’m sitting here with you now, and we’re going to do a great job for the country,” he said. “We’re going to make America great again.”
“I can’t regret. No, I wish it were softer, I wish it were nicer, I wish maybe even it was more on policy, or whatever you want to say,” he continued. “But it really is something that I’m very proud of. I mean it was a tremendous campaign.”
He claimed that as president, “I will conduct myself in a very good manner, but depends on what the situation is, sometimes you have to be rougher.”
Trump said of his medium of choice, Twitter, that he would be “very restrained” as president, adding that “I find it tremendous. It’s a modern form of communication.”