Three months into his run for President, Donald Trump is starting to sound less like a straight talker and more like a politician to some observers. A new Washington Post article chronicles his changing opinions on Planned Parenthood, a flat tax, and the military:
At first, he said: “Absolutely they should be defunded”
Those were Trump’s words to Blaze TV in July shortly after an anti-abortion group released videos of officials with the nonprofit women’s health care organization talking about what to do with aborted fetal tissue. (Planned Parenthood officials maintain they did nothing wrong.)
In an Aug. 3 interview with conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt, Trump reiterated that he supported conservatives even shutting down the government in a bid to cut off Planned Parenthood from some $500 million in public funds.
A week and a half later, Trump told CNN he opposes taxpayer dollars going to abortions but said he’d probably keep the money flowing to Planned Parenthood because of all the “good” things the women’s nonprofit health care clinic does.
His comment earned Trump headlines like this one below from the Daily Beast:
“Donald Trump is Planned Parenthood’s Favorite Politician”
At first, he said: It’s fair and simple
“You can have fair tax, you can have flat tax, you can take the existing plans that we have and simplify,” Donald Trump told Fox News’ Steve Doocy in an Aug. 24 interview.
180: Flat taxes don’t work
In that very same interview, Doocy asked Trump for specifics. Trump immediately started throwing doubt on whether a flat tax would work.
“The one problem I have with the flat tax is that rich people are paying the same as people that are making very little money,” he said before promoting some kind of “graduation” tax upward. As Mediate’s Alex Griswold noted,taxing based on a scale is the opposite of a flat tax.
When Trump introduced his tax plan in late September, it had no flat tax rate but rather a decline in income taxes for most Americans, as well as corporations.
At first, he said: “I want to build up the military so nobody messes with us.”
Days before the first Republican presidential primary debate in early August, Trump answered critics who said he had no specific policies by saying he’d spend to rebuild the military to “its height.”
180: Cut spending
Almost exactly two months later, Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Oct. 4 he still believes in a strong military — but that he’d get there by cutting funding for it. “We can do it for a lot less,” he said.
“‘I’m gonna build a military that’s gonna be much stronger than it is right now,” he said. “It’s gonna be so strong, nobody’s gonna mess with us. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less.”
There are more examples in the article, but the impression all of Trump’s flipping is giving is that he’s changing his positions to match whoever’s asking him about them. This might win him the nomination, but it isn’t the attitude of a straight talker, it’s the attitude of a politician.
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Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles In Action.