Donald Trump has backed down on a key campaign pledge and warmed toward his top political foes in the days following his election as he sets the stage for his first weeks as president.
Mr Trump has been virtually unrecognisable since taking declaring in New York early Wednesday morning that he would be “president for all Americans”.
In his first post-election interviews, Mr Trump has stifled his combative instincts and signalled that he will be flexible on what until recently appeared to be settled policies.
He has also offered the first indications of what his priorities in office will be- including strengthening border controls and loosening regulations on banks, while reversing longstanding US policies on Russia and Syria.
Mr Trump vowed during the campaign to launch a special investigation into his rival’s use of an unsecured email server as secretary of state. If he were president, Mr Trump told Mrs Clinton last month, “you’d be in jail”.
The threat loomed sufficiently large that the White House would not rule out issuing a pardon to Mrs Clinton to cover any alleged crimes relating to her emails.
It no longer appears that such action will be necessary.
Hillary Clinton is, in Mr Trump’s estimation, no longer a “nasty woman” with “hate in her heart”, but a “very strong”, “very smart” and gracious in defeat.
Mr Trump has “not given much thought” to prosecuting her since the election, he told the Wall St Journal.
The president-elect also told CBS News that he plans to seek the counsel of Bill Clinton, who he once called “the worst abuser of women in the history of politics”.
Mr Trump pledged repeatedly throughout the campaign to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reforms, particularly in the closing weeks after it emerged that costs for consumers would soar next year.
Just days after his election, though, Mr Trump said he will consider amending the existing law, which has provided coverage to 22 million Americans, rather than replacing it.
Certain aspects, like a prohibition on providers declining coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions, would remain intact, he said.
Mr Trump said Mr Obama had personally convinced him to reconsider his position.
“I told him I will look at his suggestions, and out of respect, I will do that,” he said
The property mogul also said the president himself, who he once described as the worst leader in US history was a “very good man” with great accomplishments.
Among Mr Trump’s first steps will be to reduce regulations on banks, allowing them to “start lending again”.
“I can borrow money,” he said. “The people who are really good, but need money to open a business or expand a business, can’t borrow money from the banks.”
As part of that effort he will attempt to overhaul Obama administration financial reforms, including the landmark Dodd-Frank act, introduced after the banking crash.
Mr Trump told the Wall St Journal that the increased regulations since the financial crisis have “made our country noncompetitive”.
Russia and Syria
Mr Trump has long had only the vaguest of policies toward Syria, even refusing to release a plan to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) to preserve the element of surprise- and ensure that his opponents would not steal it.
He said on Friday, though, that the policy of aiding the Syrian opposition had failed, and that efforts to oust Bashar al-Assad conflicted with the more important goal of fighting Isil.
“I’ve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria,” he said. “My attitude was, you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting Isis, and you have to get rid of Isis.”
Mr Trump has also pledged to set up safe zones in Syria.
The current US policy toward Syria had also put the US in conflict with Russia, Mr Trump said, something he intends to avoid as president.
Mr Trump said he had received a “beautiful” letter of congratulations from Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and planned to speak with him in the near future.
Drain the swamp
Trump pledged that upon arrival in Washington he would “drain the swamp”, ridding the US capital of the “donors and special interests” that buy access to the government.
When the president-elect named the 16-member executive committee overseeing his transition effort, though, four were major donors to his campaign.
Also on the list was Steven Mnuchin, his campaign’s chief fundraiser and a former Goldman Sachs executive. Mr Trump reportedly plans to nominate Mr Mnuchin to run the treasury, an appointment which would cement his administration’s ties to Wall St.
Despite the disdain he displayed for lobbyists during the campaign, Mr Trump has named several from America’s largest industries to oversee the transitions at individual government departments.
After toning down his online presence in the days leading up to the election, Mr Trump now says he plans to continue to use Twitter in the Oval Office.
Mr Trump told CBS News that Twitter was a “tremendous form” of communication that allowed him to instantly spread his message.
“I’m going to be very restrained,” he said, while adding that Twitter and Facebook had helped him overcome Hillary Clinton’s fundraising advantage and win the White House.
“I think that social media has proved more powerful than the money they spent,” he said.