After spending the best part of 18 months on the campaign trail and going on to clinch a victory on Election Day, Donald Trump appeared on 60 Minutes for his first television interview as president-elect of the United States. He spoke to CBS' Lesley Stahl about his campaign promises, his meeting with President Obama, his post-election talks with the Clintons, the wave of protests against his win, the acts of violence his supporters have been committing against various marginalized groups, whether he'll continue to be as active on social media as he's been in the past, whether he'll really hire a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, and Melania Trump's future as first lady.
Some of his answers on policy, such as his new stance on not completely repealing Obamacare, have stood out to some as softer than the plans he promised to push while he was still in campaign mode. He also seemed to lose interest in punishing Hillary Clinton for her emails, something that will likely disappoint the portion of his voters who fervently embraced the "Hillary For Prison" slogan.
"I don't want to hurt [the Clintons]," he said, in response to whether he would fulfill his promise to put his previous opponent in prison. "I don't want to hurt them. They're, they're good people. I don't want to hurt them."
Perhaps one of the more interesting moments came when Stahl questioned the new president-elect about his prior distaste for the Electoral College. ("The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy," he tweeted after Obama's second win in 2012.)
Surprisingly, Trump did not change his preference for a direct voting system, despite the fact that he lost the popular vote.
"Look, I won with the Electoral College," he said. "I'm not going to change my mind just because I won. But I would rather see it where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes and somebody else gets 90 million votes and you win. There's a reason for doing this because it brings all the states into play. Electoral College and there's something very good about that. But this is a different system. But I respect it. I do respect the system."
You can read the full transcript via Scribd, below.
In addition to the content of his answers taking a softer tone, Trump's demeanor in the interview is notably less confrontational and unfiltered than it was during the primaries and general election; he appeared more subdued, perhaps realizing how great the responsibility he faces truly is.
After the interview, Stahl reflected on the difference she sensed in Trump in this latest talk in comparison to how he came across during her interview with him while he was still a candidate.
"In this one, I really did have the feeling that the sense of gravity and how big the problems are was sinking in, washing over him," she said. "I think he wanted the public to know that he understood that he had to switch gears and pay attention to the responsibilities now."
Let's hope Stahl is right in her estimation.