Former President Donald Trump said he will not “have time for retribution” during a second term in the White House in an apparent walk-back of comments made earlier in the campaign.
Trump sat with Fox News hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum during a live town hall event in Iowa on Wednesday evening. The Trump event took place as CNN held a debate between Trump’s Republican primary foes, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Baier asked Trump about the time the former president plans to spend on “retribution and looking backwards” during a second term.
“How much of the second term of a Donald Trump presidency … would be about retribution and looking backwards and grievances and how much would be looking forward?” Baier asked.
“Well, first of all, a lot of people would say that’s not so bad,” Trump responded. “Look, what they did: Russia, Russia, Russia hoax; the FBI/Twitter hoax; the 51 intelligence agents hoax – all of these different hoaxes that they did. You know, a lot of people would say that’s probably quite normal.”
“I’m not going to have time for retribution,” Trump continued. “We’re going to make this country so successful again, I’m not going to have time for retribution. And remember this: our ultimate retribution is success.”
HOST: “How much of a Donald Trump presidency…would be about RETRIBUTION…and how much would be about looking forward?”
TRUMP: “I’m not going to have time for retribution. We’re going to make this country so successful again, I’m not going to have time for it.” pic.twitter.com/NFMODtKyru
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) January 11, 2024
The comments appear to be a step back from a pledge he made to his supporters earlier in the campaign, promising to be their “justice” and “retribution.”
“In 2016, I declared, ‘I am your voice.’ Today I add: I am your warrior, I am your justice, and for those that have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution. I am your retribution,” he told a CPAC crowd in March of last year to loud applause.
“I will totally obliterate the deep state. I will fire the unelected bureaucrats and shadow forces who have weaponized our justice system like it has never been weaponized before. It’s sick. These are sick people,” Trump continued. “I will put the people back in charge of this country again. The people will be back in charge of our country.”
The dueling events – Trump’s town hall and the DeSantis/Haley debate – took place less than a week ahead of the first primary contest in Iowa, scheduled for January 15.