Trump now says 'Crooked Hillary' is 'very strong and very smart'

Donald TrumpAP Foto/José Luis MagañaPresident-elect Donald Trump.

President-elect Donald Trump, in his first television interview since beating Hillary Clinton in a historic election, apparently no longer thinks Clinton is “crooked.”

After having immortalised the “Crooked Hillary” moniker he used to describe his Democratic opponent over more than a year of campaigning, Trump now says Clinton is a “very strong and very smart” woman.

Trump made the comments during a “60 Minutes” interview set to air on Sunday. He talked about the concession phone call he received from Clinton in the early hours of Wednesday morning, after it became clear that he would win the White House:

“It was a lovely call and it was a tough call for her,” Trump said. “She couldn’t have been nicer. She just said, ‘Congratulations, Donald. Well done.'”

During the bitter election campaign, Trump auditioned several nicknames for Clinton, including “Heartless Hillary,” “Unstable Hillary Clinton,” and “Lyin’ Hillary.” At the end of the final debate, Trump said Clinton was “such a nasty woman.”

The real-estate mogul had glowing praise for former president Bill Clinton, also, saying “He couldn’t have been more gracious,” in a phone call the two men had after Trump won. The Trump campaign targeted Bill in the heat of the election — serving up decades-old sexual misconduct allegations against him to damage Hillary.

After his conversation with the former president, Trump called him “Very, very, really very nice.”

Since the election, Trump appeared to be polishing up his image. After tweeting on Thursday that anti-Trump protesters were professionals “incited by the media,” he followed that up hours later with “Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country,”

Supporters may not be pleased with all of the changes, however. Appearing to defy one campaign goal to “drain the swamp” in Washington, Trump stacked his White House transition team with Washington lobbyists and insiders.

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