President Donald Trump says he’s taking a page from his father, John F. Kennedy, by declaring that his administration is “a country of law” and will respect and enforce laws.
“I’m not going to change the law, I’m not changing the rules, I won’t change the rules.
I’ll make the rules what they are, but we are a free people,” Trump said in his first interview since becoming president on Friday.
“And if we don’t, if we’re not going, we’re going to be very unhappy.”
He also pledged to fight for the rights of immigrants and refugees, and vowed to take a hard line on illegal immigration.
Trump said he wants to make the country safer, and he’s working to bring back the jobs of Americans who left for Mexico, where the economy is in the worst shape in decades.
Trump also called for more border security, saying, “We’re going down to Mexico.
We’re going in with the Mexican people.
We have to do this.”
He said that if he were president, Mexico would “be on the side of us.”
Trump’s comments come amid the fallout from the deadly shooting of a Black man by a white police officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Friday that sparked weeks of protests and led to the death of Alton Sterling, an unarmed black man.
In his comments, Trump also said he will “make it clear to all the bad actors in our society that they will be prosecuted, that we are going to bring them to justice.”
Trump said the country has to “take care of our citizens,” and he vowed to make a “very strong deal with China.”
“If China wants to deal with us, we have to be smart, we’ve got to be fair, we can’t be a bunch of bullies, we cannot be bullies, and I’m going to make it very clear to China, and we’ll see how we’re treated,” Trump told Fox News.
Trump told The Associated Press that the shooting in Baton was “a very sad day” for the city.
“The police have to deal.
The justice system has to deal,” he said.
Trump called for a federal investigation into Sterling’s death, saying that “nobody in America is going to tolerate this.”
“We have to find out what’s going on.
We must get to the bottom of this, and get to justice for Alton,” Trump added.
Trump’s remarks came hours after he was asked whether he would support an investigation into the death, which has been deemed a “justifiable homicide.”
Trump had previously indicated he would not back a federal probe, but in a Friday statement, he said that he would “continue to seek out the truth and hold those who committed this heinous crime to account.”
In the same statement, Trump said, “There will be no justice for the Sterling family, and this country will not be safe.”
AP reporters Robert Burns and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.