President-elect Donald Trump told The New York Times on Tuesday that he doesn’t want to energize the “alt-right” movement.
Trump said he did not think he had energized the movement but that if they were energized he wanted to find out why.
“It’s not a group I want to energize,” Trump said, according to Times reporter Maggie Haberman. “And if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why.”
Trump offered the comments during an on-the-record session with Times reporters and columnists. Times reporters are live-tweeting the event.
Trump specifically defended future White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and dismissed any notions that he’s racist or associated with the “alt-right” movement. Bannon has come under fire for his role as a former Breitbart News executive.
“If I thought he was a racist or alt-right or any of the things, the terms we could use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him,” Trump reportedly said
Trump’s comments are part of a larger meeting with the New York Times. He abruptly canceled it hours before the meeting, but later reinstated it.
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