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After canceling and then rescheduling a meeting with The New York Times Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump told its journalists and columnists that alt-right supporters are “not a group I want to energize.”

“I disavow the group,” he told the Times.

“Boy you are really into” this issue, President-elect Trump replied when he was asked again about a conference in Washington, D.C., for the alt-right, a white nationalist movement that was little-known until the presidential race.

At a recent meeting, its founder spoke against Jews and quoted Nazi propaganda. Some attendees were seen giving the Nazi salute.

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Trump also defended his selection Stephen Bannon as White House chief strategist, a pick that has generated controversy given Bannon’s history of inciting racial division.

Bannon was executive chairman of Breitbart News, a website seen as a voice of the alt-right.

Executive editor Dean Baquet had asked Trump during an on-the-record session whether the Republican felt like he did things to energize alt-right supporters, according to The New York Times.

Critics have said that Trump has not done enough to denouce or speak out against recent racial incidents across the country. Senate minority leader Harry Reid said earlier this month that Trump’s win “has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America.”


Material from The New York Times was included in this report. Nicole Hernandez can be reached at nicole.hernandez@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @NRHSJax.