WASHINGTON — In a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday, President-elect Donald Trump said he planned to immediately deport 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants after his inauguration next January.
"What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate," Trump told 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl, according to CBS. "But we're getting them out of our country. They're here illegally."
Stahl had pressed Trump about his campaign pledge to deport "millions and millions of undocumented immigrants." Trump told her that after securing the border, his administration would make a "determination" on the remaining undocumented immigrants in the country.
"After the border is secure and after everything gets normalized, we're going to make a determination on the people that they're talking about — who are terrific people. They're terrific people, but we are gonna make a determination at that," Trump said. "But before we make that determination ... it's very important, we are going to secure our border."
In Trump's first televised interview since winning the election last week, his comments echoed those he had made at the start of his campaign: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," Trump had said last June when he announced his candidacy. "They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
Trump's campaign promises also included fully repealing the Affordable Care Act, forcing Mexico to pay for a border wall and banning Muslims from entering the U.S.
Regarding his border wall plans, Trump told Stahl that he would accept fencing along some of the border, as Republicans in Congress have proposed.
"For certain areas, I would. But for certain areas a wall is more appropriate," Trump said. "I'm very good at this. It's called construction."
Seated with his wife, Melania, and his four adult children, Trump spoke to Stahl about his seemingly shifting position on Obamacare, saying he would try to preserve key parts of the health care act, and also praised Hillary Clinton as "very strong and very smart."
Trump told Stahl that Clinton's phone call conceding the election was "lovely" and acknowledged that making the phone call was likely "tougher for her than it would have been for me.
"She couldn't have been nicer. She just said, 'Congratulations, Donald, well done,' " Trump told Stahl. "And I said, 'I want to thank you very much. You were a great competitor.' She is very strong and very smart."
Trump's tone in the interview was in sharp contrast to his bitter attacks on the campaign trail, in which he nicknamed Clinton "Crooked Hillary" and encouraged chants of "Lock her up!" at his rallies. Among other insults, Trump also referred to his competitor as "the devil," "a bigot" and — at the tail end of the final presidential debate — "such a nasty woman."
Trump also told Stahl that former President Bill Clinton called him the following day and "couldn't have been more gracious."
"He said it was an amazing run — one of the most amazing he's ever seen," Trump said. "He was very, very, really, very nice."
Trump did not rule out calling both of the Clintons for advice during his term.
"I mean, this is a very talented family," he said. "Certainly, I would certainly think about that."
Trump also reiterated that he may keep portions of the Affordable Care Act, something he had mentioned he might do after meeting with President Barack Obama in the White House on Thursday.
When Stahl asked whether people with pre-existing conditions would still be covered after Trump repealed and replaced Obamacare, Trump said they would "because it happens to be one of the strongest assets."
"Also, with the children living with their parents for an extended period, we're going to ... very much try and keep that," Trump added, referring to portions of the health care act that cover children under their parents' insurance through age 26. "It adds cost, but it's very much something we're going to try and keep."
When Stahl questioned whether there would be a gap between the repeal of Obamacare and the implementation of a new plan that could leave millions of people uninsured, Trump interrupted her.
"Nope. We're going to do it simultaneously. It'll be just fine. It's what I do. I do a good job. You know, I mean, I know how to do this stuff," Trump said. "We're going to repeal and replace it. And we're not going to have, like, a two-day period and we're not going to have a two-year period where there's nothing. It will be repealed and replaced. I mean, you'll know. And it will be great health care for much less money."