President-elect Donald Trump denied being the energising factor behind the "alt-right" movement and went as far as disavowing them during a meeting with the New York Times (NYT) on Tuesday (22 November).
Trump's comments come a day after footage showing members of white nationalist group National Policy Institute chanting "Hail Trump" went viral.
"I don't want to energise the group, and I disavow the group," Trump said during a meeting at the newspaper's New York headquarters. "It's not a group I want to energise, and if they are energised, I want to look into it and find out why."
According to CNN, Trump condemned the far-right political movement, which promotes white nationalist, anti-Semitic and racist ideologies, after NYT's executive editor Dean Baquet asked him if he feels he energised the group.
At the same time, Trump stood by his chief strategist Steve Bannon, the former head of Brietbart News, which has been described by Bannon himself as "the platform for the alt-right."
"Brietbart is just a publication. They cover stories like you cover stories," Trump said, according to a report by the BBC. "If I thought he was a racist or alt-right or any of the things, the terms we could use, I wouldn't even think about hiring him," the president-elect added.
Trump's remarks come on the heels of a disturbing video of white supremacist Richard Spencer delivering a speech rife with racist and anti-Semitic comments to the National Policy Institute.
Spencer kicked off his address by chanting, "Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!" Spencer's chants were met by applause, cheers and Nazi salutes by several group members.
The president-elect also discussed a number of other topics with the NYT, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and questions regarding conflict of interests within his presidency.
Trump said he could run his business and the US "perfectly" with no conflict of interest, the BBC reported.
According to the New York Times, Trump backtracked on his campaign promise to investigate his rival Hillary Clinton over her use of private email server or financial acts committed by the Clinton Foundation.
"I want to move forward," he said. "I don't want to move back. I don't want to hurt the Clintons, I really don't."
He also reversed his position on waterboarding and other forms of torture after speaking to James N. Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general, who led the United States Central Command. Trump noted that Mattis was being considered for secretary of defence.