Testy media session before inauguration

US President-elect Donald Trump holding a press conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday. With him are (from right) Vice-President-elect Mike Pence and Mr Trump's children Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric. It was the first press conf
US President-elect Donald Trump holding a press conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday. With him are (from right) Vice-President-elect Mike Pence and Mr Trump's children Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric. It was the first press conference in nearly six months for Mr Trump, who is set to take the oath of office next Friday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Incoming US president Donald Trump took on the US and international media in a testy press conference, nine days before he takes office on Jan 20. Here are highlights from the hour-long news conference.

ON TIES WITH PUTIN

If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability, because we have a horrible relationship with Russia... I don't know that I am going to get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do. But there is a good chance I won't.

'' REACTION While saying the Kremlin "is genuinely hoping that our presidents will get along", spokesman Dmitry Peskov added yesterday: "At least Trump has spoken of his readiness for dialogue. This doesn't mean there is a readiness to agree about everything with each other. That is hardly possible and Moscow isn't expecting that, but dialogue is grounds for hope and could help us find a way out of many complex situations."


ON RUSSIA'S HACKING EFFORT

He (Putin) shouldn't be doing it. He won't be doing it. Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I am leading than when other people have led it.

'' REACTION Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said yesterday that external attempts to manipulate national elections cannot be tolerated.


ON THE TRUMP-RUSSIA DOSSIER

It is all fake news. It is phony stuff. It didn't happen... I am also very much of a germaphobe, believe me.

'' REACTION Moscow has dismissed the dossier containing allegations of salacious behaviour with prostitutes during Mr Trump's Moscow visit in 2013. "The Kremlin does not have compromising information on Trump," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.


ON THE LEAKED DOSSIER

I think it was disgraceful - disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. That is something that Nazi Germany would have done, and did do.

'' REACTION US intelligence chief James Clapper has expressed "profound dismay" to Mr Trump at the leaks that have appeared in the media. He said it is doubtful the leak came from within the intelligence community, stressing that the document is not a US intelligence community product.


ON TRUMP ORGANISATION AND CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

My two sons, who are right here, Don and Eric, are going to be running the company... They are not going to discuss it with me.

'' REACTION Federal Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub has publicly criticised the handover plan, saying that it fell short of the example set by commanders-in-chief for 40 years. He held up secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, who stepped down as chief executive of ExxonMobil, as a model to follow.


ON THE BORDER WALL WITH MEXICO

We are going to start building... Mexico in some form - and there are many different forms - will reimburse us.

'' REACTION Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said his country will not pay for the wall but will seek open and complete negotiations with the Trump government. Former Mexican president Vicente Fox tweeted: "Neither today, nor tomorrow nor never Mexico will pay for that stupid wall."


ON OBAMACARE

We are going to do repeal and replace, very complicated stuff, and we are going to get a health Bill passed.

'' REACTION The US Senate took the first step towards repealing Obamacare in a razor-thin vote early yesterday, even as House leaders were struggling to line up support for a vote later this week. The 51-48 vote fell almost entirely along party lines, an early sign of the contentiousness surrounding Republican plans to undo President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.


ON THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY

They are getting away with murder... Pharma has a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power, and there is very little bidding. We are the largest buyer of drugs in the world and yet we don't bid properly, and we are going to save billions of dollars.

'' REACTION Pharmaceutical and biotech stocks plunged on Wednesday after Mr Trump's comments.

 

 

 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2017, with the headline 'Testy media session before inauguration'. Print Edition | Subscribe