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From Iran nuke deal to Twitter, what Donald Trump said in his interviews

From the Iran nuclear deal to his use of Twitter to air his views, here’s what US president-elect Donald Trump said in his interviews with two European newspapers.

world Updated: Jan 16, 2017 13:57 IST
HT Correspondent
File photo of US president-elect Donald Trump speaking with reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York.
File photo of US president-elect Donald Trump speaking with reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. (AP)

There’s been no dearth of reports on what US president-elect Donald Trump intends to do during his first 100 days in office and the man himself outlined his position on key global issues in two interviews. Here’s what he said on issues such as terrorism, immigration and the Iran nuclear deal:

Afghanistan:

Trump told The Times that the campaign against terrorism in Afghanistan was “going badly”. He told Bild newspaper of Germany that the US had not succeeded in Afghanistan after intervening militarily 17 years ago. “If you look at the Taliban there…They’re just getting bigger and bigger and bigger every year. And you ask yourself ‘what’s going on there?’”

He added, “But when you look at the whole region – in all fairness – we didn’t let our people do what they were tasked to do.”

Immigration:

He told Bild that people entering the US will face “extreme” security checks, including nationals of some European countries. He told The Times that orders will be signed by January 23 to strengthen US borders, including possible ¬travel restrictions on Europeans and “extreme vetting” for people from parts of the world affected by Islamist terrorism.

Trump also told The Times that he believed German Chancellor Angela Merkel had made a ¬“catastrophic mistake” by letting in more than 1 million migrants. In an apparent reference to the truck attack in Berlin in December by a Tunisian asylum-seeker, Trump told Bild: “And no one knows where they come from at all. You will find out, you’ve had a clear impression of that...So I am of the opinion that she (Merkel) made a catastrophic mistake, a very serious mistake.”

NATO:

Trump acknowledged that the trans-Atlantic military alliance is important but “has problems”. He told the Bild that NATO is “obsolete…because it was designed many, many years ago” and that its members “aren’t paying what they should”. He also noted that NATO “didn’t deal with terrorism”. Trump told The Times only five NATO members were paying their fair share and that some countries “don’t pay what they should pay”.

Iran:

Trump told The Times he would not divulge the specifics of his Iran policy even as he attacked President Barack Obama’s historic deal with Tehran. “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…Where you give…$150 billion back to a country, where you give $1.7 billion in cash. Did you ever see $100 million in hundred-dollar bills?...$1.7 billion in cash. Plane loads.”

Russia:

Trump told The Times he would be willing to remove sanctions on Russia in exchange for “some good deals”, including a new deal to cut Moscow’s nuclear arsenal. He added, “For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it.”

Syria:

Speaking to The Times, Trump was very ¬critical of Russia’s intervention in Syria, saying it was “a very bad thing” that led to a “terrible ¬humanitarian situation”. He was critical of Obama for failing to restrain Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Putin in their campaign against Syrian rebels, saying it had led to a humanitarian crisis. “Aleppo was nasty. I mean when you see them shooting old ladies walking out of town – they can’t even walk and they’re shooting ’em – it almost looks like they’re shooting ’em for sport…that’s…a terrible situation,” he said.

He told the Bild that security zones paid for by “Gulf states” should have been set up in Syria. “That would have been considerably cheaper…than the trauma that Germany is now going through. I would have said: create security zones in Syria.”

Israel:

Trump told the Bild he will appoint his son-in-law Jared Kushner to broker a Middle East peace deal. Talking about Kushner’s possible role, he said: “Jared is such a good lad, he will secure an Israel deal which no one else has managed to get…He has an innate ability to make deals, everyone likes him.” He described the Obama administration’s decision to abstain in a UN Security Council vote on Israeli settlements in December as “terrible”. He also refused to comment on whether he would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Twitter:

Trump told The Times he will continue to use the @realDonaldTrump account with 46 million followers after being sworn-in despite criticism that he used Twitter too much. “…and the tweeting, 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 they put it on and as soon as I tweet it out…,” he said.