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Trump seeks to calm protests, tells racist supporters to ‘stop it’

In first televised interview after election, president-elect also tries to reassure his backers on gun rights, abortion, immigration

'60 Minutes' correspondent Lesley Stahl interviews President-elect Donald J. Trump and his wife Melania at their home, November 11, 2016, in New York (Chris Albert for CBSNews/'60 Minutes' via AP)
'60 Minutes' correspondent Lesley Stahl interviews President-elect Donald J. Trump and his wife Melania at their home, November 11, 2016, in New York (Chris Albert for CBSNews/'60 Minutes' via AP)

NEW YORK – Donald Trump sought in his first televised interview as president-elect to reassure Americans fearful of a crackdown on minorities — while assuring his core supporters he will not let them down on gun rights, abortion or immigration.

The Republican billionaire — whose shock election on a populist and anti-immigration platform has spurred days of protests — told demonstrators they have no reason to fear his presidency.

“Don’t be afraid. We are going to bring our country back,” he said in the interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Trump said he was “saddened” by reports that incidents of harassment and intimidation of minorities had spiked since his election — and called for it to end.

“I hate to hear that. I am so saddened to hear that,” Trump said when asked about the reports. “If it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”

Trump’s comments come as House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has backed Trump since the election victory on November 8, said the people generating the racist graffiti in the wake of Trump’s win are “not Republicans” and “we don’t want them in our party.”

President-elect Donald Trump talks with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President-elect Donald Trump talks with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Wisconsin congressman told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that “people should really just put their minds at ease. We are pluralistic, we are inclusive… that’s the kind of country we are still going to have.”

He said he’s “confident Donald Trump feels the same way.”

Millions were expected to tune in to “60 Minutes” for clues on how the populist billionaire will govern, and how far he intends to convert his strident campaign slogans into hard and fast policy.

Trump sent out clear signals to his core electorate on a string of flashpoint issues.

He reaffirmed plans to aggressively deport or jail as many as three million undocumented immigrants — those with criminal records, he said.

Trump also said he stood by his pledge to build a wall on the Mexican border — although he said it could include some fencing.

And on the key issue of the Supreme Court — where one of nine seats is currently vacant — he vowed his nominees would support abortion restrictions, and defend the constitutional right to bear arms.

“The judges will be pro-life,” Trump told CBS. “In terms of the whole gun situation,” he added, “they’re going to be very pro-Second Amendment.”

But he also signaled that he would not seek to overturn the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States.

“It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done,” Trump said when asked on CBS’s “60 minutes” if he supports marriage equality. “And I’m — I’m fine with that,” he added.

And in a final conciliatory gesture, the billionaire said he would forego the $400,000 salary that comes with the function of US president.

“I’m not going to take the salary. I’m not taking it,” he said. “I think I have to by law take $1, so I’ll take $1 a year,” he added.

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