By Amy B Wang
The Washington Post
In a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday, President-elect Donald Trump called on those who were committing hateful, harassing or violent acts in his name to “stop it.”
Since Election Day, there has been a spike in racist and intimidation incidents across the country. At least three organizations have documented the rise in graffiti, slurs and threats directed at minority groups over the past week. At a California Veterans Day parade, people showed up with three Confederate flags. Muslim Americans have received death threats and black freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania were the target of slurs and a “daily lynching calendar.”
When “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl asked Trump if he had heard such reports, he said he had not.
“I am very surprised to hear that,” he said. “I hate to hear that, I mean I hate to hear that.”
When pressed, Trump said he may have seen one or two instances.
“Do you want to say anything to those people?” Stahl asked.
“I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, ‘cause I’m gonna bring this country together,” Trump said.
“They’re harassing Latinos, Muslims …” Stahl added.
“I am so saddened to hear that. And I say: Stop it,” Trump told her. “If it, if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”
It was the first time Trump had addressed such reports of hate crimes committed in his name. In April, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project issued a report titled, “The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on Our Nation’s Schools,” saying the divisive rhetoric in the primary campaign was having a “profoundly negative effect on children and classrooms.”
Earlier Sunday, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said on CNN’s “State of the Union” said that those committing racist hate crimes in the wake of the election were “not Republicans” and were not welcome in the GOP.
“People should really just put their minds at ease,” Ryan told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “We are pluralistic, we are inclusive … that’s the kind of country we are still going to have.”
Ryan added he is “confident” that Trump feels the same way.
CBS had released on Saturday two preview clips of the same “60 Minutes” segment, Trump’s first televised interview since winning the election last week. In those clips, they discussed the Affordable Care Act and his phone calls with Hillary and Bill Clinton after election night.
The following day, CBS released another preview clip, in which Trump talked about his plans to immediately deport 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records after his inauguration in January.
The rest of the “60 Minutes” interview, which was taped Friday, was held until it aired at 7 p.m. Eastern time Sunday. On social media, some questioned why CBS had not released a clip sooner showing Trump telling propagators of hate to “Stop it,” given the rise in reported hate crime over the past week.
Others criticized Trump for not directly addressing his supporters via Twitter or Facebook, platforms where he has millions of followers.
Since winning the election until Monday morning, Trump, a prolific Twitter user, has tweeted 16 times. Three of those posts criticized the New York Times for its “BAD coverage” of him. He also has posted about several Republican leaders calling to congratulate him on his win, as well as twice to honor the nation’s armed forces.
Trump posted two opposing tweets about the anti-Trump demonstrations that have swept U.S. cities since Election Day, on one hand accusing them of being “professional protesters, incited by the media” and the next day praising the protesters for having “passion for our great country.”
Trump continued to insist in the “60 Minutes” interview that demonstrations had cropped up because of professional protesters.
Stahl pressed him: “Okay, but what about – they’re in every city,” she said. “When they demonstrate against you, and there are signs out there, I mean, don’t you say to yourself, I guess you don’t, you know, do I have to worry about this? Do I have to go out and assuage them? Do I have to tell them not to be afraid? They’re afraid.”
Trump agreed with her.
“I would tell them don’t be afraid, absolutely,” Trump said. He repeated, “Don’t be afraid. We are going to bring our country back. But certainly, don’t be afraid. You know, we just had an election and sort of like you have to be given a little time. I mean, people are protesting. If Hillary had won and if my people went out and protested, everybody would say, ‘Oh, that’s a terrible thing.’ And it would have been a much different attitude. There is a different attitude. You know, there is a double standard here.”