As the number of Republican presidential hopefuls dwindles, and businessman Donald Trump continues to succeed, there are fewer candidates — and multiple Republican delegates — pushing Trump toward the Republican nomination. With each bold statement, Trump seems to be gaining momentum and enjoying rising poll numbers.
Throughout his campaign, Trump has artfully tapped into anti-establishment sentiment within the Republican Party and collected support from conservatives. However, Trump was not always the devoted conservative he claims to be. Recently, the BBC summarized Trump’s political past: “He was a Republican, then he was a pro-choice Democrat, and now he’s a fire-breathing, anti-immigration populist conservative.”
So what does Donald Trump actually believe? Chances are we will never know, but InsideGov wanted to see if he’s been consistent with his conservative message. What better way to look into these claims than hearing from the man himself? InsideGov found 22 instances in which Trump clearly seemed as though he was more liberal than he lets on, and organized them from least to most recent.
Trump was very clear in his 2008 interview with Wolf Blitzer that he completely opposed the George W. Bush administration. He said, “I think George W. Bush is probably the worst President in the history of the United States.” He even said if Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had impeached George W. Bush, “it would have been a wonderful thing.”
Just because Trump spent time with the Clintons in the 1990s doesn’t make him a blue-blooded liberal. Still, politicians have called out Trump for his relationship with the Clintons. “Mr. Trump has a close friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) said in July 2015. “They were at his last wedding. He has contributed to the Clintons’ foundation. He has contributed to Mrs. Clinton’s Senate campaigns.”
Trump also praised Clinton in his book “The America We Deserve,” and in 2008, he complimented her on his blog: “Hillary is smart, tough and a very nice person, and so is her husband. Bill Clinton was a great president. They are fine people.”
While campaigning in 2015, Donald Trump told Iowans at a rally in Des Moines how important government welfare programs are to him. He avowed not to cut Social Security or Medicare. The other candidate who has passionately rallied against Social Security cuts? Bernie Sanders.
The recent budget proposed by Congress calls for large cuts to Social Security. Republicans support these cuts; Ohio Gov. and presidential hopeful John Kasich told voters that they would have to “get over it” if they were concerned about Social Security cuts. Trump, however, has made it clear that he opposes this decision. At a rally in 2015, he enthusiastically stated that he would not cut Social Security.
Fair trade policies seem to have a liberal tilt; Sanders has constantly addressed the issue, advocating for “trade policies that are fair for the American worker, fair for poor people around the world.” Trump appeared to have a very similar view when he discussed it on MSNBC in June 2015.
Although the Republican Party came out strongly against Planned Parenthood in 2015, Trump defended the nonprofit when he stated, “they do good things that aren’t having to do with abortion.” Considering that some Republicans are vehemently opposed to the organization, Trump acknowledging that Planned Parenthood does even a sliver of good contradicts what many GOP members believe.
Conservatives and liberals alike have called Trump out on the strength of his religious convictions. While speaking at Liberty University, a Christian college in Virginia in January 2016, Trump mistakenly said “Two Corinthians” rather than “Second Corinthians,” and offended many students with his casual use of the word “hell.”
Many conservatives are generally opposed to the legalization of marijuana, including candidates Marco Rubio and Ben Carson. While there is still a gray area concerning medical marijuana, Democrats generally agree with legalization more than Republicans. In 2016, Trump told Fox News that he was “a hundred percent” in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana.
It also appears as though Trump does not completely oppose recreational legalization. At a rally in October 2015, he said, “I love Colorado and the people are great, but there’s a question as to how it’s all working out there, you know? That’s not going exactly trouble-free. So I really think that we should study Colorado, see what’s happening.” This “see what’s happening” stance is more liberal than the strict opposition many GOP members exhibit.
Although Trump vaguely agreed with the decision to invade Iraq, he now passionately disagrees with all the choices that led the U.S. into the conflict, and continues to disapprove of former President George W. Bush. At the February 13 Republican debate, Trump stated, “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction; there were none, and they knew there were none.”
Along with calling out the Bush administration at the presidential debate on February 13, Trump criticized former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney at the following Republican debate on February 25. “He ran a terrible campaign,” Trump said. “He was a terrible candidate.”
See the other 12 facts on InsideGov