What Does Trump Believe?

Donald Trump’s core political beliefs are a matter of hot controversy, because they have changed over the years. It is not a sin to change your positions both large and small (Ronald Reagan did, after all), and not all changes make you a “flip-flopper.” The question of whether Trump’s current views reflect a genuine change of mind because of more careful study on his part or conversions of convenience for someone who wants to run as a Republican is difficult to determine.

The News Hour on PBS did a story ten days ago entitled “What Does Donald Trump Believe?” (thanks to reader Gregory Ludvigsen for pointing this out) on Trump’s current views on a spectrum of issues, and they are mostly conventional conservative views. Here’s the first half:

Budget: Government must cut spending more.

Speaking on Fox News in 2013, Donald Trump said that automatic budget cuts, or sequester, does not go far enough and Congress must reduce spending further to address impending increases in the deficit.

Climate Change: It is a hoax.

Trump does not believe climate change is real, tweeting out his skepticism with strong language and calling it a hoax on Fox News in 2014. In a 2012 Twitter post which is no longer accessible, Trump charged that the concept of climate change was created by the Chinese to supress the U.S. economy. In addition, Trump has expressed firm opposition to wind turbines, which he sees as an environmental and aesthetic problem.

Entitlements: Do not cut Social Security or Medicare benefits. Grow the economy to save those programs.

The real estate tycoon told CPAC in 2013 that Republicans should not cut Social Security or Medicare because most Americans want to keep the benefits as they stand now. His solution is unclear, but he has indicated that general economic growth would play a role. Trump tweeted in May that he knows “where to get the money from” and “nobody else does.”

Gun Control: Limit restrictions on guns. Ban some assault weapons and extend the waiting period for purchase.

During a 2013 interview with Fox News, the real estate mogul defined himself as, “a very strong person on the Second Amendment.” He believes guns are necessary for self-defense and has written that he generally opposes gun control. In his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve” Trump wrote that he supports a ban on assault weapons and a slightly longer waiting period to buy a gun.

For the complete story, click on the link above.

For more, see this Issues2000 website entry on Trump, which offers a more chronological catalogue of Trump’s positions. (Hat tip to reader MB for this pointer.) The site has a filter and scoring system, and rates Trump a “hard-core conservative.”