Days after first hearing the words “President-elect Trump”, the promises of our forty-fifth president still echo in the minds of Americans. Talk of a wall we won’t pay for- a wall that’s huge – and repealing a government program, a huge failure in the country, is partly why Republicans supported a man they had qualms with in the first place. Now, as Trump begins to walk back these promises, it seems Republicans may have to remind their President-elect of these promises and hold him to them.
Back in August, upon returning from a meeting with Mexican President Peña Nieto, Trump insisted that he would build a wall and that Mexico would pay for it. Now it seems as though the wall so highly praised will actually be- a fence? In an exclusive interview with 60 Minutes, Donald Trump explained that in some areas of the border, he would build a fence instead of a wall, justifying the decision by saying, “I’m very good at this, it’s called construction.”
Now, while that statement may be true- building a fence is more appropriate in certain areas- it demonstrates the mixed messaging in the Trump administration.
Another example of this played out after a meeting with Obama at the White House. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump changed his previous position on the Affordable Care Act saying that he’d keep some aspects of it. The two provisions he’d keep would be, 1) not allowing insurance companies to turn down those with pre-existing conditions and 2) allowing those who are 26 years old and younger remain on their parent’s insurance plan. That’s an amendment, not a replacement. Trump also doesn’t seem to know it’s possible to repeal the ACA and still pass legislation allowing for these provisions.
Other areas where Trump has either softened on or flipped entirely is appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton and U.S. involvement with NATO.
In the same interview with 60 minutes, Trump was asked if he would still get a prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton. Trump’s reply was “I’m going to think about it”, saying he wants to focus on jobs, healthcare and immigration:
To those voters who desperately wanted to see an orange jumpsuit-clad Clinton: you may have to wait a while. After interviewer Leslie Stahl reminds Trump that he called Hillary crooked, Trump responds by saying he doesn’t want to hurt the Clintons- “they’re good people.” Yep, you read that correctly.
To the few who actually wanted to see the U.S. cut ties with NATO, you may have to wait on that as well. Today, Obama vouched for Trump, saying that the new president would reaffirm ties with NATO. If this sounds foreign to Trump fans, it should. When asked by The New York Times in July about Russia’s threatening operations in the Baltic states, Trump said he would come to their aid only if they had, “fulfilled their obligations to us.”
Republicans knew he was the lesser of two evils, but they may not have realized that even amid the victory, they would have to keep their eyes open for policies they didn’t vote for. It seems that these next four years Republicans will have to be more vigilant than ever if they want Trump to fulfill the promises he made on the campaign trail.