Donald Trump will be inaugurated on Friday, but he’ll consider his first day on the job to be Monday.
The detail emerged after he sat down with British and German journalists over the weekend and offered up his thoughts on a wide range of topics.
“I mean my day one is gonna be Monday because I don’t want to be signing and get it mixed up with lots of celebration,” he said.
One of the first orders Trump said he’ll sign will cover “strong borders.”
Some other details from the interview:
Brexit and the US’ relationship with Britain
“I think Brexit is going to end up being a great thing,” Trump said. He later added: “People don’t want to have other people coming in and destroying their country.”
Later in the interview, he asked about British politician Nigel Farage, one of the main pro-Brexit campaigners and an early foreign supporter. “How is our Nigel doing? I like him, I think he’s a great guy.”
Trump repeated past criticism of the military alliance, saying this time that it’s “obsolete” and reiterating that the US is paying more than it should. “With that being said, NATO is very important to me.” Only five countries are paying into the alliance what they should, Trump said. He added that Europe can still expect to be protected by the US.
Germany and refugees
Trump said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel miscalculated when she initially opened the country’s borders to all refugees. “[Merkel] made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals, you know taking all of the people from wherever they come from,” Trump said. He later added: “People make mistakes but I think it was a very big mistake.” Would he support Merkel’s reelection bid? “I can’t talk about who I’m gonna be backing — if anyone.”
“It’s one of the greatest messes of all time,” said Trump. Aleppo, he said, “was nasty. I mean when you see them shooting old ladies walking out of town — they can’t even walk and they’re shooting ’em — it almost looks like they’re shooting ’em for sport.”
“We had a chance to do something when we had the line in the sand and it wasn’t — nothing happened,” Trump said.
Trump again criticized the Obama administration for refusing to veto a resolution against Israeli settlement activity last month. He said his son-in-law, adviser Jared Kushner, would work toward making peace in the Middle East. “He’ll make a deal with Israel that no one else can . . . he’s a natural deal-maker — everyone likes him.”
Trump called the EU “basically a vehicle for Germany.” As for a strong EU, Trump said the strength of the bloc doesn’t affect the US. “I never thought [the EU’s strength] mattered.”
“I want it to be fair [trade], but it’s gotta be a two-way street,” he said. He added: “I do believe in free trade, I love free trade, but it’s gotta be smart trade so I call it fair trade.”
Trump said he would keep his handle, @realDonaldTrump, and not use the official presidential handle, @POTUS. Trump currently has 20.1 million Twitter followers; the official presidential Twitter account has 13.5 million followers.
Trump again said that he would advocate for strong borders. “I won the election because of strong borders and trade.” He said there would be more vetting of foreigners “from various parts of the world that have lots of terrorism problems” who want to enter the US.