Read Donald Trump’s First TV Interview as President
On Wednesday, ABC News World News Tonight anchor David Muir interviewed President Donald Trump in the White House—marking his first one-on-one television interview since being sworn in on Jan. 20.
During the interview, Muir pressed Trump on issues regarding immigration—specifically about his plans to build a wall on the U.S./Mexico border, as well as his recent executive order that limits Muslim entry.
Read the interview in full below.
MUIR: Mr. President, I know you’re only five days in. Has it changed you? <TRUMP>: I don’t want to change too much. I’ve had a wonderful life and wonderful success. I want to make this a great success for the American people and for the people that put me in this position. So I don’t want to change too much.
I can be the most presidential person ever, other than possibly the great Abe Lincoln, all right? But I can be the most presidential person. But I may not be able to do the job nearly as well if I do that.
MUIR: Your predecessor used to talk often about finishing the day to get to his family upstairs — the stairwell’s right over here — to have dinner with them. And I know that the first lady, Melania, has a big job back in New York taking care of Barron.
<TRUMP>: She does, yes.
MUIR: Does it make it a lonely place for you at the end of the day?
<TRUMP>: No, because I end up working longer. And that’s OK. I — I mean, I’m working long hours. I mean, the country has a lot of problems.
MUIR (voice-over): He says a lot of problems, and President <Trump> tonight on the controversial moves he’s made already.
(on-screen): Mr. President, I want to start — we’re five days in. And your campaign promises, I know today you plan on signing the order to build the wall.
MUIR: Are you going to direct U.S. funds to pay for this wall? Will American taxpayers pay for the wall?
<TRUMP>: Ultimately, it’ll come out of what’s happening with Mexico. We’re going to be starting those negotiations relatively soon. And we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico, which I’ve always said…
MUIR: So they’ll pay us back?
<TRUMP>: Yeah, absolutely, 100 percent, yes.
MUIR: So the American taxpayer will pay for the wall at first?
<TRUMP>: All it is, is we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico. Now, I could wait a year and I could hold off the wall. But I want to build the wall. We have to build the wall. We have to stop drugs from pouring in. We have to stop people from just pouring into our country. We have no idea where they’re from. And I campaigned on the wall. And it’s very important. But that wall will cost us nothing.
MUIR: But you talked often about Mexico paying for the wall. And you, again, say they’ll pay us back. Mexico’s president said in recent days that Mexico absolutely will not pay, adding that, “It goes against our dignity as a country and our dignity as Mexicans.” He says, quite simply, they’re not paying.
<TRUMP>: Well, I think he has — David, I think he has to say that. He has to say that. But I’m just telling you, there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. And you have to understand, what I’m doing is good for the United States. It’s also going to be good for Mexico.
MUIR: What are you going to say to some of your supporters who might say, “Wait a minute, I thought Mexico was going to pay for this right at the start”?
<TRUMP>: Well, I’d say very simply that they are going to pay for it. I never said they’re going to pay from the start. I said Mexico will pay for the wall.
MUIR: When does construction begin?
<TRUMP>: As soon as we can. As soon as we can physically do it, we’re — we’re…
MUIR: Within months?
<TRUMP>: I would say in months, yeah. I would say in months. Certainly, planning is starting immediately.
MUIR: I want to ask about undocumented immigrants who are here in this country. Right now, they’re protected as so-called Dreamers, the children who were brought here, as you know, by their parents. Should they be worried that they could be deported? And is there anything you can say to assure them right now that they’ll be allowed to stay?
<TRUMP>: They shouldn’t be very worried. They are here illegally. They shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody. We’re going to have a very strong border. We’re going to have a very solid border. Where you have great people that are here that have done a good job, they should be far less worried. We’ll be coming out with policy on that over the next period of four weeks.
MUIR: So, Mr. President, will they be allowed to stay?
<TRUMP>: I’m going to tell you over the next four weeks.
MUIR: I want to ask you about something you said this week right here at the White House. You brought in congressional leaders to the White House. You spoke at length about the presidential election with them, telling them that you lost the popular vote because of millions of illegal votes, 3 million to 5 million illegal votes. That would be the biggest electoral fraud in American history. Where is the evidence of that?
<TRUMP>: So, let me tell you, first of all, it was so misrepresented. That was supposed to be a confidential meeting. And you weren’t supposed to go out and talk to the press as soon as you — but the Democrats viewed it not as a confidential meeting.
MUIR: But you have tweeted about the millions of illegal…
<TRUMP>: Let me — sure. And I do — and I’m very — and I mean it. But just so you know, it was supposed to be a confidential meeting. They turned it into not a — number two, the conversation lasted for about a minute. They made it — somebody said it was, like, 25 percent of the — it wasn’t. It was hardly even discussed.
I said it. And I said it strongly, because what’s going on with voter fraud is horrible. That’s number one. Number two, I would’ve won the popular vote if I was campaigning for the popular vote. I would’ve gone to California, where I didn’t go at all. I would’ve gone to New York, where I didn’t campaign at all. I would’ve gone to a couple of places that I didn’t go to. And I would’ve won that much easier than winning the Electoral College.
But as you know, the Electoral College is all that matters. It doesn’t make any difference. With that being said, if you look at voter registration, you look at the dead people that are registered to vote who vote, you look at people that are registered in two states, you look at all of these different things that are happening with registration, you take a look at those registration for — you’re going to find — and we’re going to do an investigation on it…
MUIR: But three to five million illegal votes?
<TRUMP>: Well, we’re going to find out. But it could very well be that much. You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states. You have people registered in two states. They’re registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion. Now… MUIR: But again…
<TRUMP>: I’m going to do an investigation. Now, David, David…
MUIR: You’re now president of the United States.
<TRUMP>: I’m — well, of course. I want the voting process to be legitimate.
MUIR: But what I’m asking — what I’m asking…
<TRUMP>: People that…
MUIR: When you say in your opinion millions of illegal votes, that is something that is extremely fundamental to our functioning democracy, a fair and free election.
<TRUMP>: Sure. Sure. Sure.
MUIR: You say you’re going to launch an investigation.
<TRUMP>: Sure. Done.
MUIR: What you have presented so far has been debunked. It’s been called false.
<TRUMP>: No, it hasn’t. Take a look at the Pew reports.
MUIR: I called the author of the Pew report last night. And he told me that they found no evidence of voter fraud.
<TRUMP>: Really? Then why did he write the report?
MUIR: He said no evidence of voter fraud.
<TRUMP>: Excuse me. Then why did he write the report?
MUIR: So I guess I’m…
<TRUMP>: According to Pew report. Then he’s — then he’s groveling again. You know, I always talk about the reporters that grovel when they want to write something that you want to hear, but not necessarily millions of people want to hear, or have to hear. This is…
MUIR: So you’ve launched an investigation?
<TRUMP>: We’re going to launch an investigation to find out. And then the next time — and — and I will say this. Of those votes cast, none of them come to me. None of them come to me. They would all be for the other side. None of them come to me.
But when you look at the people that are registered: dead, illegal, and two states. And some cases, maybe three states? We have a lot to look into.
MUIR: House Speaker Paul Ryan has said, “I have seen no evidence. I have made this very, very clear.” Senator Lindsey Graham saying, “It’s the most inappropriate thing for a president to say without proof. He seems obsessed with the idea that he could not have possibly lost the popular vote without cheating and fraud.” I want to ask you about something bigger here. Does it matter more now…
<TRUMP>: There’s nothing bigger. There’s nothing bigger.
MUIR: But it is important, because you have…
<TRUMP>: Well, let me just tell you, you know what’s important? Millions of people agree with me when I say that. If you would have looked on one of the other networks and all of the people that were calling in, they’re saying, “We agree with Mr. <Trump>. We agree.” They’re very smart people.
MUIR: Let me just ask you, you did win. You’re the president. You’re sitting across from me right now.
<TRUMP>: That’s true. That’s true.
MUIR: Do you think that your words matter more now?
<TRUMP>: Yes, very much.
MUIR: Do you think that — that talking about millions of illegal votes is dangerous to this country…
<TRUMP>: No, not at all.
MUIR: … without presenting the evidence?
<TRUMP>: Not at all. Because many people feel the same way that I do. And…
MUIR: You don’t think it undermines your credibility if there’s no evidence?
<TRUMP>: No, not at all. Because they wouldn’t — they didn’t come to me, believe me. Those were Hillary votes.
MUIR: Mr. President, I just have one more question on this.
MUIR: And it’s — it’s — it’s bigger picture. You — you took some heat — after your visit to the CIA, in front of that hallowed wall, 117 stars — of those lost at the CIA, you talked about other things, but you also talked about crowd size at the inauguration, about the size of your rallies, about covers on Time magazine. And I just want to ask you, when does all of that matter just a little less? When do you let it roll off your back now that you’re the president?
<TRUMP>: OK, so I’m glad you asked. So I went to the CIA, my first stop. I have great respect for the people in intelligence and CIA. I don’t have a lot of respect for in particular one of the leaders. But that’s OK. But I have a lot of respect for the people in the CIA.
That speech was a homerun. That speech, if you look at Fox, OK, I’ll mention your network — read — see what Fox said. They said it was one of the great speeches. They showed the people applauding and screaming and — and they were all CIA. There was nobody — somebody was asking Sean, “Well, were they <Trump> people that were put” — we don’t have <Trump> people. They were CIA people. That location was given to me. Mike Pence went up before me, paid great homage to the wall. I then went up, paid great homage to the wall. I then spoke to the crowd. I got a standing ovation, in fact.
MUIR: And you would give the same speech if you went back?
MUIR: In front of that wall?
<TRUMP>: It was great. People loved it. They loved it. They gave me a standing ovation for a long period of time. They never even sat down, most of them, during the speech. There was love in the room. You and other networks covered it very inaccurately. I hate to say this to you, and you probably won’t put it on, but turn on Fox and see how it was covered and see how people respond to that speech. That speech was a good speech. And you and a couple of other networks tried to downplay that speech. And it was very, very unfortunate that you did.
MUIR: I am curious about the first full day here at the White House, choosing to send the press secretary out into the briefing room, summoning reporters to talk about the inaugural crowd size. Does that send a message to the American people that that’s — that’s more important than some of the very pressing issues?
<TRUMP>: Part of my whole victory was that the men and women of this country who have been forgotten will never be forgotten again. Part of that is when they try and demean me unfairly — because we had a massive crowd of people — we — we had a crowd — I looked over that sea of people and I said to myself, “Wow.” And I’ve seen crowds before. Big, big crowds. That was some crowd.
When I looked at the numbers that happened to come in from all of the various sources, we had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches. I said, the men and women that I was talking to who came out and voted will never be forgotten again. Therefore, I won’t allow you or other people like you to demean that crowd and to demean the people that came to Washington, D.C., from faraway places because they like me. But more importantly, they like what I’m saying.
MUIR (voice-over): When we come back, what the president revealed to us about torture and waterboarding.
(on-screen): You’re now the president. Do you want waterboarding? (voice-over): What President <Trump> is now saying tonight, already generating headlines. And our walk through the White House. What it was like being handed the nuclear codes. And his new office.
(on-screen): So we’re in the Oval Office.
<TRUMP>: This is the Oval Office.
MUIR (voice-over): What he shows us, and a letter President Obama left for President <Trump>, when we come back.
MUIR: Mr. <Trump>, let’s talk about many of the things that have happened this week. Chicago, last night, you tweeted about the murder rate in Chicago, saying, “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible carnage going on, I will send in the feds.”
MUIR: You will send in the feds. What do you mean by that?
<TRUMP>: It’s carnage. You know, in my speech, I got tremendous — from certain people, the word carnage. It is carnage. It’s horrible carnage. This is — Afghanistan is not like what’s happening in Chicago. People are being shot left and right. Thousands of people over a period — over a short period of time. This year, which has just started, is worse than last year, which was a catastrophe. They’re not doing the job.
Now, if they want help, I would love to help them. I will send in what we have to send in. Maybe they’re not going to have to be so politically correct. Maybe they’re being overly political correct? Maybe there’s something going on?
But you can’t have those killings going on in Chicago. Chicago is like a warzone. Chicago is worse than some of the people that you report, in some of the places that you report about every night, in the Middle East.
MUIR: So I will — you mention federal assistance. There’s federal assistance, and then there’s sending in the feds. I’m just curious, will you take action on your own?
<TRUMP>: I want them to fix the problem. You can’t have thousands of people being shot in a city, in a country that I happen to be president of. Maybe it’s OK if somebody else is president.
I want them to fix the problem. They have a problem that’s very easily fixable. They’re going to have to get tougher and stronger and smarter, but they got to fix the problem. I don’t want to have thousands of people shot in a city where, essentially, I’m the president.
I love Chicago. I know Chicago. And Chicago is a great city. It can be a great city. It can’t be a great city if people are shot walking down the street for a loaf of bread. It can’t be a great city.
MUIR: And if they are unable to fix it, that’s when you would send in the feds?
<TRUMP>: Well, so far they have been unable — it’s been going on for years. And I wasn’t president. What’s going on? So all I’m saying is, to the mayor, who came up to my office recently, I say, you have to smarten up and you have to toughen up. Because you can’t let that happen. That’s a warzone.
MUIR: This is a warning.
<TRUMP>: I want them to straighten out the problem. It’s a big problem.
MUIR: Let me ask you about a new report that you are poised to lift a ban on so-called CIA black sites, prisons around the world that have been used in the past. Is that true?
<TRUMP>: Well, I’ll be talking about that in about two hours.
MUIR: Are you going to lift the ban?
<TRUMP>: You’re going to see in about two hours.
MUIR (voice-over): Tonight, we are still waiting for word from the <Trump> White House on any decision involving those so-called black sites.
(on-screen): The last president, President Obama, said the U.S. does not torture. Will you say that?
<TRUMP>: Well, I have a general who I have great respect for, General Mattis, who said — I was a little surprised — who said he’s not a believer in torture. As you know, Mr. Pompeo was just approved, affirmed by the Senate. He’s a fantastic guy. He’s going to be the head of the CIA. And you will have somebody fabulous, as opposed to the character that just got out who didn’t — was not fabulous at all.
And he will, I think, do a great job. And he is, you know — I haven’t gone into great detail, but I will tell you, I have spoken to others in intelligence and they are big believers in, as an example, waterboarding.
MUIR: You did tell me…
<TRUMP>: Because they say it does work. It does work.
MUIR: Mr. President…
<TRUMP>: Now, personally…
MUIR: Mr. President, you told me during one of the debates that you would bring back waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse, in your words.
<TRUMP>: Yeah. I would do — what I would do — I want to keep our country safe. I want to keep our country safe.
MUIR: What does that mean?
<TRUMP>: When they’re shooting, when they’re chopping off the heads of our people and other people, when they are chopping off the heads of people because they happen to be a Christian in the Middle East, when ISIS is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding? As far as I’m concerned, we have to fight fire with fire.
Now, with that being said, I’m going with General Mattis. I’m going with my secretary, because I think Pompeo is going to be phenomenon. I’m going to go with what they say. But I have spoken, as recently as 24 hours ago, with people at the highest level of intelligence, and I asked them the question. Does it work? Does torture work? And the answer was: Yes, absolutely.
MUIR: You’re now the president. Do you want waterboarding?
<TRUMP>: I don’t want people to chop off the citizens’ or anybody’s heads in the Middle East, OK? Because they’re Christian or Muslim or anything else. I don’t want — look, you are old enough to have seen a time that was much different. You never saw heads chopped off until a few years ago. Now they chop them off, and they put them on camera, and they send them all over the world.
So we have that. And we’re not allowed to do anything. We’re not playing on an even field. I will say this. I will rely on Pompeo and Mattis and my group. And if they don’t want to do, that’s fine. If they do want to do, then I will work toward that end. I want to do everything within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally. But do I feel it works? Absolutely, I feel it works.
MUIR: So you’d be OK with that as president?
<TRUMP>: I want to keep — no, I want to — no, I will rely on General Mattis, and I am going to rely on those two people and others. And if they don’t want to do it, it’s 100 percent OK with me. Do I think it works? Absolutely.
MUIR (voice-over): We head outside to the colonnade where we discussed what happened shortly after President <Trump> took the oath of office.
(on-screen): This is the famous walk you’ve seen so many presidents…
<TRUMP>: Right, so many. It’s amazing.
MUIR: Let me ask you. Right after the oath of office, they give you the nuclear codes, “the biscuit.” Sobering moment?
<TRUMP>: When they explained what it represents and the kind of destruction that you’re talking about, it is a very sobering moment, yes. It’s very, very — very scary, in a sense.
MUIR: Does it keep you up at night?
<TRUMP>: No. But it’s — confident that I’ll do the right thing. The right job. But it’s a very, very scary thing.
MUIR: Every president does get asked, though, what keeps them awake, what’s unsettling. What has been most unsettling for you now that you’re five days in?
<TRUMP>: Well, I think I see a tremendous amount of waste. I see a tremendous amount of job opportunities that have been let go for many years, and I’m not just talking about President Obama. I’m talking about for many, many years. And I was a big, big fan of Ronald Reagan, but I was a never big fan on trade with respect to Ronald Reagan.
MUIR: So the economy…
<TRUMP>: I just think we’ve had years and years of allowing our jobs to be dissipated in this country, and there’s no reason for it.
MUIR: So the economy keeps you up more than terrorism and homeland security?
<TRUMP>: I view it all the same.
MUIR: You do? <TRUMP>: All very important. Yep. Terrorism is to me number one, because we have to keep people safe. Most importantly, we have to keep people safe. But the economy is certainly — I mean, we have to bring the jobs back. I talked to forgotten men and women. They’re not forgotten anymore, because they came out and voted. A lot of people — you folks — didn’t know they existed, in a true sense. Everyone is saying, where did they all come from? It was pretty amazing, wasn’t it?
MUIR (voice-over): When we come back, what the president says about plans for sweeping executive action suspending immigration from certain countries.
(on-screen): Is this the Muslim ban?
(voice-over): And here at home, we ask the president about the millions of Americans who are concerned they could lose their health care if Obamacare is repealed.
(on-screen): Can you assure those Americans watching this right now that they will not lose their health insurance or end up with anything less?
(voice-over): And the March, the more than a million protesters, women, men, children, across this country, we ask what the president would say to them tonight.
MUIR: Mr. President, I want to ask you about refugees. You’re about to sign a sweeping executive action to suspend immigration to this country.
MUIR: Who are we talking about? Is this the Muslim ban?
<TRUMP>: We’re talking about — no, it’s not the Muslim ban, but it’s countries that have tremendous terror. And it’s countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems. Our country has enough problems without allowing people to come in, who in many cases, or in some cases, are looking to do tremendous destruction.
MUIR: Which countries are we talking about?
<TRUMP>: You look at what’s happened – I have a whole list. You will be very thrilled. You’re looking at people that come in, in many cases, in some cases with evil intentions. I don’t want that. They’re ISIS. They’re coming under false pretense. I don’t want that. I’m going to be the president of a safe country. We have enough problems.
Now, I’ll absolutely do safe zones in Syria for the people. I think that Europe has made a tremendous mistake by allowing these millions of people to go into Germany and various other countries. And all you have to do is take a look. It’s — it’s a disaster what’s happening over there.
I don’t want that to happen here. Now, with that being said, President Obama and Hillary Clinton have a — and Kerry — have allowed tens of thousands of people into our country. The FBI is now investigating more people than ever before having to do with terror. They — and it’s from the group of people that came in.
So, look, look, our country has a lot of problems, believe me. I know what the problems are even better than you do. They’re deep problems. They’re serious problems. We don’t need more.
MUIR: Let me ask you about some of the countries that won’t be on the list: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia…
<TRUMP>: You’re going to see. You’re going to see. We’re going to have extreme vetting in all cases. And I mean extreme. And we’re not letting people in if we think there’s even a little chance of some problem.
MUIR: Are you at all…
<TRUMP>: Because we are — we are excluding certain countries, but for other countries, we’re going to have extreme vetting. It’s going to be very hard to come in. Right now, it’s very easy to come in. It’s going to be very, very hard. I don’t want terror in this country. You look at what happened in San Bernardino. You look at what happened all over. You look at what happened in the World Trade Center, OK? I mean, take that as an example. People don’t even bring that up.
MUIR: Are you at all concerned — are you at all concerned it’s going to cause more anger among Muslims around the world?
<TRUMP>: Anger? There’s plenty of anger right now. How can you have more?
MUIR: You don’t think it will exacerbate the problem?
<TRUMP>: Look, look, David, David, I mean, I know you’re a sophisticated guy. The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What, you think this is going to cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. All of this has happened. We went into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out. The world is a total mess. The world is a mess, David.
MUIR: You brought up Iraq and something you said that could affect American troops in recent days. You said, “We should have kept the oil, but, OK, maybe we’ll have another chance.” What did you mean by that?
<TRUMP>: Well, we should have kept the oil when we got out. And you know, it’s very interesting. Had we taken the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS, because they fuel themselves with the oil. That’s where they got the money.
MUIR: So you believe we can go in and take the oil?
<TRUMP>: We should have taken the oil. You wouldn’t have ISIS if we took the oil.
MUIR: You’ve heard the critics who say that would break all international law, taking the oil. But I want to get to the words that you said…
<TRUMP>: Can you believe that? Wait a minute. Can you believe that? Who are the critics that say that? Fools. I don’t call them critics. I call them fools.
MUIR: Let me talk about your words…
<TRUMP>: We should have kept — excuse me. We should have taken the oil. And if we took the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS, and we would have had wealth. We have spent, right now, $6 trillion in the Middle East, and our country is falling apart. It’s not right.
MUIR: What got my attention, Mr. President, was when you said maybe we’ll have another chance.
<TRUMP>: Well, don’t let it get your attention too much, because we’ll see what happens. I mean, we’re going to see what happens. You know, I told you and I told everybody else that wants to talk, when it comes to the military, I don’t want to discuss things. I want to let — I want to let the action take place before the talk takes place.
I watched in Mosul, when — a number of months ago, generals and politicians would get up and say, we’re going into Mosul in four months. Then they’d say we’re going in, in three months, two months, one month, we’re going in next week. OK. And I kept saying to myself, gee, why do they have to keep talking about going in?
All right. So now they go in, and it is tough, because they’ve given the enemy all this time to prepare. I don’t want to do a lot of talking on the military. I want to talk after it’s finished, not before it starts.
MUIR (voice-over): When we come back, the millions of Americans who want to know what the replacement will be for Obamacare.
MUIR (on-screen): I’m just asking about the people who are nervous and watching you for reassurance.
<TRUMP>: We — here’s what I can assure you.
MUIR (voice-over): And later, the moment in the Oval Office, President <Trump> revealing the conversation with President Obama, as they got into the motorcade, sharing that ride to the Capitol.
(on-screen): What was that car ride like to the Capitol?
(voice-over): When we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MUIR: Let me ask you, Mr. President, about another promise involving Obamacare, to repeal it. And you told the Washington Post that your plan to replace Obamacare will include insurance for everybody. That sounds an awful lot like universal coverage.
<TRUMP>: It’s going to be — what my plan is, is that I want to take care of everybody. I’m not going to leave the lower 20 percent that can’t afford insurance. Just so you understand, people talk about Obamacare, and I told the Republicans this. The best thing we can do is nothing for two years, let it explode, and then we’ll go in and we’ll do a new plan and the Democrats will vote for it, believe me.
Because this year, you’ll have 150 percent increases. Last year, in Arizona, 116 percent increase. Minnesota, sixty some odd percent increase. And I told them — except for one problem. I want to get it fixed.
The best thing I could do as the leader of this country, but as wanting to get something approved with support of the Democrats, if I didn’t do anything for two years, they’d be begging me to do something. But I don’t want to do that.
So just so you — Obamacare is a disaster. It’s too expensive. It’s horrible health care. It doesn’t cover what you have to cover. It’s a disaster.
I said to the Republican folks, and they’re terrific folks, Mitch and Paul Ryan. I said, look, if you go fast — and I’m OK in doing it, because it’s the right thing to do — we want to get good coverage at much less cost — I said, if you go fast, we then own Obamacare. They’re going to put it on us. And Obamacare is a disaster waiting to explode. If you sit back and let it explode, it’s going to be much easier.
That’s the thing to do. But the right thing to do is to get something done now. I want to make sure that nobody’s dying on the streets when I’m president.
MUIR: You’ve seen the estimate that 18 million Americans could lose their health insurance if Obamacare is repealed and there is no replacement. Can you assure those Americans watching this right now that they will not lose their health insurance or end up with anything less?
<TRUMP>: So nobody ever deducts all the people that have already lost their health insurance that liked it. You had millions of people that liked their health insurance and their healthcare and their doctor and where they went. You had millions of people that now aren’t insured anymore.
MUIR: I’m just asking about the people who are nervous and watching you for reassurance.
<TRUMP>: No, no, we — here’s what I can assure you. We are going to have a better plan, much better health care, much better service treatment, a plan where you can have access to the doctor that you want and the plan that you want. We’re going to have a much better health care plan at much less money.
We’re going to have an explosion. And to do it right, sit back, let it explode, and let the Democrats come begging us to help them, because it’s on them. But I don’t want to do that. I want to give great health care at a much lower cost.
MUIR: So no one who has this health insurance through Obamacare will lose it or end up with anything less?
<TRUMP>: Well, you know, when you say no one, I think no one. Ideally, in the real world, you’re talking about millions of people — will no one? And then, you know, knowing ABC, you’ll have this one person on television saying how they were hurt. OK. We want no one. We want the answer to be no one. But I will say: Millions of people will be happy. Right now, you have millions and millions and millions of people that are unhappy.
MUIR (voice-over): And as we walked through the White House, we asked the president about the voices, just outside in Washington, D.C., and across the country, the more than a million women, men and children who marched the day after the inauguration.
(on-screen): Let me just ask you while we’re standing outside. Could you hear the voices from the women’s march here in Washington? We know there were more than a million people who turned out. And you are their president now, too.
<TRUMP>: It’s true.
MUIR: Could you hear them from the White House?
<TRUMP>: No, I couldn’t hear them. But the crowds were large, but you’re going to have a large crowd on Friday, too, which is mostly pro-life people. You’re going to have a lot of people coming on Friday.
And I will say this — and I didn’t realize this, but I was told — you will have a very large crowd of people. I don’t know, as large or larger. Some people say it’s going to be larger, pro-life people, and they say the press doesn’t cover them.
MUIR: I don’t want to compare crowd sizes again.
<TRUMP>: No, you shouldn’t. But let me just say, what they do say is that the press doesn’t cover them.
MUIR: We saw the marches around the country. And you are their president now. Do you sense the responsibility to reach out now and to unite them? And for those women, men, children who marched who are watching this, what would you say to them?
<TRUMP>: Well, I do, but I have to also say: We just had an election a few weeks ago. And they voted, in many cases, and some cases, they didn’t vote, I imagine. And we did have an election. With that being said, absolutely I have responsibility to everybody, including people that didn’t vote for <Donald> Trump. Totally.
This is the Oval Office.
MUIR (voice-over): When we come back, President <Trump> takes us into the Oval Office.
(on-screen): What moves you the most about this room?
(voice-over): The president on what he’s changed already here. And the letter left by President Obama and the phone call after reading it, when we come back.
MUIR: So we’re in the Oval Office.
<TRUMP>: This is the Oval Office. This is truly one of the great spaces. And I bring people in from General Motors and from Ford and the biggest people, and I bring in the labor leaders, and the people that are in the labor movement. And they walk into this room, and they just want to take it in. They could stand here for an hour just taking it in.
MUIR: What moves you the most about this room?
<TRUMP>: Just the history of it. The importance of it. What’s happened here. I actually put some pictures up that I thought would be great. Some of the paintings that I thought would be really appropriate, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, who a lot of people, they compare the campaign of <Trump> with, the campaign of — you have to go back to 1828, but that seems to be a comparison for, you know, certain obvious reasons. But we put some of these up. MUIR: And we’re standing on — we’re standing on Ronald Reagan’s rug?
<TRUMP>: This was Ronald Reagan’s. And you have a choice, you know, when you come in. They have eight or nine carpets. They have different furniture. The desk is…
MUIR: The resolute desk.
<TRUMP>: Yes. Yes. It’s the resolute desk. This is actually very nice. This is actually a couple of things that are interesting. This was given to me by one of the combatants that I fought to get here, and Adams versus Jefferson, and this book, they say this was the most vicious campaign ever fought for president until this.
MUIR: Who gave this to you?
<TRUMP>: Somebody. A combatant. And this was the letter given to me by President Obama.
MUIR: We saw that image of him the final morning that he was here putting the letter on the desk.
<TRUMP>: Which was — I won’t show it to you or read it to you. But a — just a beautiful letter.
MUIR: Is there a line you can share that struck you most?
<TRUMP>: There were numerous lines. So well-written. So thoughtful. So thoughtful. And in the drawer, you know, put in the drawer, which is a custom, but I doubt too many of them were written in this manner. He really — in fact, I called him and thanked him for the thought that was put into that letter.
MUIR: I have to say, I have looked at a lot of those presidential letters that they have left for the next president. That one looks a lot longer than the ones that I have seen.
<TRUMP>: It was long, it was complex, it was thoughtful, and it took time to do it, and I appreciated it. And I called him and thanked him.
MUIR: Was there something he said in that letter that surprised you?
<TRUMP>: Well, I think nothing that surprised me, but it was stated beautifully. But — and I’m representing a lot of people, and I’m carrying on a very important tradition, and just do a great job. He wants me to do a great job.
He said something that was very interesting to me. He said, you know, if I thought your health care plan was going to be better than his plan, Obamacare, I would support it, and I believe he would. I believe he would.
MUIR: What was that car ride like to the Capitol, when you got into the car with the president who was about to leave, and you were about to…
<TRUMP>: The amazing thing to me — and he may say differently — is that we I think have sort of a great relationship, and yet it was a vicious campaign, and vicious things were said by him and by me about each other.
I mean, he said that, you know, I would never represent the Republican Party. Then, I won, that I will never win. And I said vicious things about him. It was a very — you know, you talk about Jefferson and Adams. This was rough. And Hillary had a great asset on her side, him and Michelle, who is a phenomenal person. But Hillary had these two people that were really campaigning, big league.
In fact, I was going out and campaigning — you know, really complaining about it. I was saying, not really fair. But to have that kind of vitriol, to have that kind of stuff going on, and then we’re riding in a car together up Pennsylvania Avenue, and I’m saying to myself — I actually said to him, “This is a little weird, isn’t it, huh?”
But we really — we didn’t discuss the negative. We only discussed the future and the positive. And we really got along well. Now, again, he may say differently, but I don’t think he would. We really got along well.
MUIR: Mr. President, you bring up Hillary Clinton. You had her stand up at Statuary Hall and said some very kind things about her.
<TRUMP>: She fought hard. She fought hard.
MUIR: Do you think America is done hearing about investigations into Hillary Clinton?
<TRUMP>: I just don’t know. I mean, I hope so. From my standpoint, we want to move onto the future. So I hope so. I don’t know what the status of that is. I know it’s a lot of very serious stuff, but I certainly hope so.
MUIR: We have seen the amount of action at this desk already this week.
MUIR: The Dow hit 20,000 today.
<TRUMP>: Right. I’m very proud of that. Very proud of that. The business community and the labor community, you saw that with the labor leaders that came out. One of them said it was the single greatest meeting I’ve ever had with anybody, it’s the highlight of my life. And the Dow on top of it just hit 20,000. First time in history. I’m very proud of that. Now, we have to go up, up, up. We don’t want it to stay there.
MUIR: That’s the challenge, Mr. President.
<TRUMP>: That’s going to be the challenge, but it’s gone up a lot since I won. Don’t forget, when I won, people thought, oh, maybe it will go down. But the business world doesn’t think that. The business world knows me. They don’t think that. And it was a steady climb. And now we just hit a record and a number that’s never been hit before. So I was very honored by that.
MUIR (voice-over): The president then takes us through the West Wing to show us the photos they already have on the walls.
<TRUMP>: Now, these are some of the pictures that were taken. This is the swearing in and the first dance with Melania. Here’s a picture of the event. Here’s a picture of the crowd. Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive. And I would actually take that camera and take your time (ph), if you want to know the truth.
MUIR (on-screen): I do want to ask you, Mr. President, about this photo right here. I saw this moment on Inauguration Day. I saw you put your hand on President Obama’s back there, as he boarded Executive One, no longer Marine One. What did you say to him? I saw you smiling.
<TRUMP>: There is a warmth — look, if you see that picture, there is a warmth there. But that was an incredibly beautiful moment. And I’ve seen it over the years. I’ve seen the good and the bad. But the scene of that great machine turning on and lifting off, it was really something special.
MUIR (voice-over): He points to an image of his daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, now a senior adviser to the president.
(on-screen): Is there any chance Ivanka might have an office right here in the White House?
<TRUMP>: Well, right now, she is just getting settled, moved to Washington. Her husband, Jared, very, very smart. Good guy.
MUIR: We know he’ll have a role. He has an office.
<TRUMP>: Right, he does. And he has an office. We’ll have to see what happens. She is a special person.
MUIR: You’re not ruling it out?
<TRUMP>: She’s smart and she’s got every quality you could possibly have. I don’t rule out anything. No, there’s certainly a possibility. And Jared has been here, and he’s doing a great job.
MUIR (voice-over): And just before we leave, the president tells us he wants to show us just one more image.
<TRUMP>: One thing this shows is how far over they go here. Look. Look how far this is. This goes all the way down here. All the way down. Nobody sees that. You don’t see that in the pictures. But when you look at this tremendous sea of love — I call it a sea of love. It’s really something special, that all these people traveled here from all parts of the country, maybe the world, but all parts of the country. Hard for them to get here. Many of these people were the forgotten men and women, many of them. And they loved what I had to say. More importantly, they’re going to love the result.
MUIR: Mr. President.
<TRUMP>: Thank you very much. Thank you, David.
MUIR: Thank you.