Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump put forth a series of bold, if contradictory, policy positions in the name of “Making America Great Again.” Almost immediately after his victory, however, Trump appears to be back-peddling on some of his signature plans.
During his first post-election interview, Trump told 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl that his border wall could very well become a border fence, at least in some areas. He then went onto lay out a somewhat tamer version of his prior deportation promises, emphasizing the need to deport “criminals” and to secure the border before he addresses the “terrific” undocumented immigrants living peaceably in the United States.
Newt Gingrich, a top Trump advisor who is likely to play a role in the Trump Administration, said that the President-elect “may not spend very much time trying to get Mexico for [the wall], but it was a great campaign device.”
Throughout his campaign, Trump was unwavering in his hostility towards the Affordable Care Act, telling his supporters that “real change begins with immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
But just one meeting with President Obama may have changed his mind.
On Friday, Trump told the Wall Street Journal that after sitting down with the departing President last week, he is now open to preserving certain provisions of the health care bill, such as those preventing insurers from being able to bar individuals with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to remain on their parent’s plan until the age of 26.
Trump’s current stance is that “either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced.”
Trump’s early campaign rhetoric was defined in large part by his incendiary calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States. As time wore on, however, he softened the position, instead proposing “extreme vetting” and a temporary immigration shutdown on countries compromised by terrorism.
Appearing on Capitol Hill last Thursday, Trump was asked by a reporter whether he would “ask Congress to ban all Muslims from entering the country.”
CNN reported that Trump “appeared to hear the question but walked away after thanking everyone.”
In line with his “America First” isolationist positions, Trump has suggested that the monetary costs of the NATO alliance outweigh the security benefits we receive. This stance, which marked a significant departure from bipartisan norms, triggered alarm bells throughout Europe.
In a press conference on Monday, however, Obama reassured our NATO allies that Trump’s threats made in the throes of this heated election cycle should not be taken too literally. According to Obama, Trump’s Administration will reaffirm its commitment to the NATO alliance.
Although “Drain the Swamp” became a rallying call for Trump supporters who believed their candidate would purge Washington of its party insiders, Trump has elected RNC chairman Reince Priebus White House chief of staff. The nomination has left many wondering how anti-establishment his Administration will be after all.
These shifts have left many shaking in their boots, substantiating the fears that we will have an unsteady hand gripping the levers of executive power. That being said, this trend also represents a window of opportunity for bereaved liberals. Trump has never been a staunch ideologue, and, if prodded in the right direction may prove to be a pragmatist open to any policy that benefits the American people, no matter its partisan implications. If 90 minutes with a man he once called “the most ignorant president in our history” can erode a core tenet of his platform, Trump may be a better listener and compromiser than we expected.