In at least six instances in his one hour interview with the New York Times on Tuesday, Donald Trump reversed positions he held during or before his presidential campaign.
Some of these weren’t minor walk backs of unimportant issues – many were central themes of his campaign.
The first and most notable reversal came when he told the newspaper that he would not – as he had promised repeatedly – hire a special prosecutor to go after Hillary Clinton for her email use as Secretary of State.
This was perhaps the most central theme of his campaign, particularly in the closing weeks of the election season, as he and his surrogates would encourage and often lead “lock her up” chants at political events.
While most of the focus was on this first flip-flop, Trump was hardly done revising his positions.
He also told the New York Times that the Clinton Foundation does “good work.” During the run-up to the election, though, he called the charitable organization a “criminal enterprise” and said it should be shut down.
The fact that the Clinton Foundation does a lot of good is something most of us already knew, including charity watchdogs that have consistently given the foundation incredibly high marks.
The president-elect also abandoned in his initial stance on climate change, which was that it’s a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government.
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
Now, Trump believes that there is “some” correlation between climate change and human activity. He also backed away from his promise to pull out of the Paris climate accord agreed upon last year.
From a policy perspective, Trump’s fourth change of heart during the Times interview is the least important – but it’s definitely the most hilarious. During the exchange, he said he has “great respect” for the New York Times.
The comment came literally hours after Trump attacked the “failing” paper on Twitter and days after he called the paper’s coverage of him “very poor and highly inaccurate.”
The failing @nytimes just announced that complaints about them are at a 15 year high. I can fully understand that – but why announce?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2016
Trump also changed his position on the electoral college (again). It’s the third time the president-elect has offered a different opinion on America’s election process, and the second time since the Nov. 8 election.
The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2016
He told the New York Times on Tuesday that he was “never a fan of the Electoral College” and would “rather do the popular vote.” Never a fan? Since when, last week?
It should be noted that Hillary Clinton currently holds a popular vote lead of 1.7 million votes, which is likely to grow even further as more ballots are tallied.
In the president-elect’s final flip-flop of the interview, he continued to drift further from his initial stance that Barack Obama is an illegitimate president and an ISIS “co-founder.” Trump told the Times that he “liked [President Obama] a lot.”
What Trump’s interview with the New York Times reaffirms is that the president-elect really doesn’t believe in holding positions on anything. He has no principles. Everything is negotiable.
That’s not a quality most folks want in their president, but it does offer good news for Trump supporters who may be disappointed that the man they voted for is abandoning key positions he took during and before his presidential campaign.
Keep your heads up, fellow Trumpsters. There’s a good chance the president-elect will reverse these reversals very soon.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.