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Donald Trump at New York Times Meeting: ‘I Don’t Want to Hurt the Clintons’

The president-elect met with journalists from the Times’ newsroom and opinion staff in wide-ranging, on-the-record conversation

President-elect Donald Trump met with journalists from the newsroom and opinion staff at The New York Times on Tuesday and said he doesn’t want to “hurt the Clintons” during the wide-ranging, on-the-record conversation.

“I really don’t. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways,” Trump said hours after announcing that he will not pursue charges, according to a live Twitter feed the paper published of the meeting.

Times editor Dean Baquet asked if Trump feels like he had a hand in energizing the alt-right movement, to which the president-elect answered, “I don’t think so … It’s not a group I want to energize.”

“It’s been 18 months of brutality in a true sense,” Trump said of the presidential campaign, according to the paper’s live Twitter feed of the event.

“I have great respect for the New York Times. I have tremendous respect,” Trump said. “I think I’ve been treated very rough … “I will say the Times is about the roughest of all.”

“You could make the case the Washington Post was bad, but every once in awhile I actually got a good article,” Trump said, according to Times reporter Mike Grynbaum, who said his remarks about rough coverage lasted about four minutes.

Trump started off his day by tweeting, “I cancelled today’s meeting with the failing when the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment. Not nice.”

He changed his mind, tweeting, “The meeting with the is back on at 12:30 today. Look forward to it!”

The Times lobby was packed with onlookers hoping to get a glimpse of Trump, but he slipped in largely undetected through the loading dock, according to a Twitter conversation between two CNN reporters.

On Monday, Trump held a meeting with top broadcast and cable news executives and on-air talent as representatives of the “dishonest” media, The New York Post reported.

The meetings came less than a week after Trump ditched his press pool to take his family to dinner, which sparked outrage among journalists who typically send a small detachment to follow presidents and presidents-elect in any public setting.

“President-elect Trump continues to be a force of disruption in the relationship between the office and traditional news media, but that doesn’t mean this is a satisfying development,” Quinnipiac University journalism professor Rich Hanley told TheWrap. “He is amplifying the preexisting tension baked into the relationship between the president and the traditional White House press over what seems to be a personal grudge rather than a desire to expand transparency and encourage a new generation of journalists outside the mainstream to report on the White House.”

Hanley continued: “That would be revolutionary, but what president-elect Trump is doing is simply reverting to his shopworn pattern of using his political standing to settle scores, ancient and new alike.”

Trump’s relationship with the Times has been rocky since he declared his intentions to run for president in 2015. The paper was aggressively critical of Trump, but recently promised to cover him fairly and “without fear.”

In a series of tweets he fired off earlier this month, Trump said the 165-year-old news organization was “dishonest” in attributing to him the opinion that “more countries should acquire nuclear weapons.”

Over the past few months the paper also called out Trump’s fabrications, aggressively investigating his real estate deals and leaking his partial tax return, with Trump even threatening a lawsuit at one point.