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US President-elect Donald J. Trump

President-elect Donald Trump told top editors, White House reporters, top presidential campaign reporters, senior managers, editorial-op-ed writers editors and writers from The New York Times on Tuesday he would “love to be the one who made peace with Israel and the Palestinians.” Trump’s remarks were posted by various New York Times reporters and editors in a series of live tweets released on the NYT website.

“That would be such a great achievement,” he said.

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The president-elect was then quoted in a tweet by Elisabeth Bumiller: “Jared Kushner could help make peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.” The meeting was a “take no prisoners” opportunity for Trump to clear the air on media “misunderstandings” about his positions on the alt-right movement, neo-Nazis, the KKK, and similar issues.

Asked bluntly about the Nazi conference in DC this past weekend, Trump said, “Of course I disavow… and condemn them.” Likewise, he answered a similar question from executive editor Dean Baquet, who asked whether he felt like he had done things to energize the alt-right movement.

“I don’t think so, Dean,” he replied. Nevertheless, he added, “I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group. It’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why.”

When the questions turned to his appointment of former Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon, Trump said flatly, “If I thought he was a racist… or alt-right or any terms we would use… I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.

“I think it’s very hard on him. I think he’s having a hard time with it. Because it’s not him.” But Trump noted “a lot of people” were coming to Bannon’s defense. Among them was Reince Priebus, his new chief of staff, who spoke from the conference table during the meeting.

Among those the president-elect listed on his “Like” list was Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who he said he’s liked “for a long time.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

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