Political positions of Donald Trump

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Trump speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2015

Donald Trump is an American businessman, politician, television personality, author, and the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States in the 2016 election.

Trump has described his political positions in various ways over time, and some of his positions have changed.[1][2][3] Politifact writes that Trump's stance on issues has often been vague or contradictory.[4]

Trump has said that he is "totally flexible on very, very many issues."[5] Trump's "signature issue" is illegal immigration,[6] and in particular building or expanding a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.[7]


Political philosophy

As described by others

Trump's political positions are widely viewed as populist.[8][9] Among academics, political writers, and pundits, Trump and his politics have been classified in greater detail, but in varying ways.

Liberal economist and columnist Paul Krugman disputes that Trump is a populist, arguing that his policies favor the rich over those less well off.[10] Harvard Kennedy School political scientist Pippa Norris has described Trump as a "populist authoritarian" analogous to European parties such as the Swiss People's Party, Austrian Freedom Party, Swedish Democrats, and Danish People's Party.[11] Political satirist and columnist Walter Shapiro and political commentator Jonathan Chait describe Trump as authoritarian.[12][13] Conservative commentator Mary Katharine Ham characterized Trump as a "casual authoritarian," saying "he is a candidate who has happily and proudly spurned the entire idea of limits on his power as an executive and doesn't have any interest in the Constitution and what it allows him to do and what does not allow him to do. That is concerning for people who are interested in limited government."[14] Charles C. W. Cooke of the National Review has expressed similar views, terming Trump an "anti-constitutional authoritarian."[15] Libertarian journalist Nick Gillespie, by contrast, calls Trump "populist rather than an authoritarian".[16]

Republican opinion journalist Josh Barro terms Trump a "moderate Republican," saying that except on immigration, his views are "anything but ideologically rigid, and he certainly does not equate deal making with surrender."[17] MSNBC host Joe Scarborough says Trump is essentially more like a "centrist Democrat" on social issues.[18] Journalist and political analyst John Heilemann has characterized Trump as liberal on social issues,[19] while conservative talk radio host and political commentator Rush Limbaugh says that Heilemann is seeing in Trump what he wants to see.[20]

Trump is nativist in the opinion of Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.[21] Conservative writer and editor Rod Dreher, a Trump opponent, writes that the term "nativist" is laden with negative connotations and is typically used as a pejorative;[22] Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, instead calls Trump an "immigration hawk" and supports Trump's effort to return immigration levels to a historically average level.[23]

Trump is a protectionist, according to free-market advocate Stephen Moore and conservative economist Lawrence Kudlow.[24]

Scales and rankings


In 2015, Crowdpac gave Trump a ranking of 0.4L out of 10L. In 2016, Crowdpac gave Trump a ranking of 5.1C out of 10C, shifting Donald Trump more to the conservatism spectrum.[25]

On the Issues

The organization and website On the Issues has classified Trump in a variety of ways over time: as a "moderate populist" (2003);[26] a "liberal-leaning populist" (2003-2011);[27] a "moderate populist conservative" (2011-2012);[28] a "libertarian-leaning conservative" (2012-2013);[29] a "moderate conservative" (2013-2014);[30] a "libertarian-leaning conservative" (2014-2015);[31] a "hard-core conservative" (2015);[32] a "libertarian-leaning conservative" (2015-2016);[32][33] and a "moderate conservative" (2016–present).[34]

Economic policy

Taxes, spending, and budget

On the federal personal income tax, Trump has proposed collapsing the current seven brackets (which range from 10% to 39.6%) to three brackets of 10%, 20%, and 25%; increasing the standard deduction; taxing dividends and capital gains at a maximum rate of 20%; repealing the alternative minimum tax; and taxing carried interest income as ordinary business income (as opposed to existing law, which provides for preferential treatment of such income).[35][36] With respect to business taxes, Trump has proposed reducing the corporate tax rate to 15%; limiting the top individual income tax rate on pass-through businesses such as partnerships to no more than 15%; repealing most business tax breaks as well as the corporate alternative minimum tax; imposing a "deemed repatriation tax" of up to 10% of accumulated profits of foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies on the effective date of the proposal, payable over 10 years; and taxing future profits of foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies each year as the profits are earned (i.e., ending end the deferral of income taxes on corporate income earned in other countries).[35][36] Trump has also called for the repeal of the federal estate tax and gift taxes and for capping the deductibility of business interest expenses.[35][36]

Detailed analyses by both two nonpartisan tax research organizations, the conservative Tax Foundation and centrist Tax Policy Center, concluded that Trump's tax plan would "boost the after-tax incomes of the wealthiest households by an average of more than $1.3 million a year" and significantly lower taxes for the wealthy.[35][37] The Tax Policy Center "calculated the average tax cuts for the rich and the very rich" under Trump's plan as "$275,000 or 17.5 percent of after-tax income for the top 1 percent, and $1.3 million or nearly 19 percent for the top 0.1 percent (those making over $3.7 million)."[38]

An analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice found that under Trump's plan, the poorest 20% of Americans would see a tax cut averaging $250, middle-income Americans would see an tax cut averaging just over $2,500, and the best-off 1% of Americans would see a tax cut averaging over $227,000.[36] CTJ determined that 37% of Trump's proposed tax cuts would benefit the top 1%.[38]

Trump's claims that his tax plan would be "revenue neutral" have been rated "false" by Politifact, which found that "Free market-oriented and liberal groups alike say Trump's tax plan would lead to a $10 trillion revenue loss, even if it did create economic growth."[39] An analysis by the Tax Foundation indicated that Trump's tax proposal would increase economic growth by 11% and wages by 6.5%, and create 5.3 million jobs, while decreasing revenue by $10 trillion over a decade.[40] Prominent anti-tax activist Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform called Trump's tax proposal a "pro-growth, Reaganite plan";[41] as of May 2016, Trump has not signed Norquist's no-new-taxes pledge, but has indicated that he will in the future.[42]

Trump has pledged to balance the budget in ten years; not cut Social Security or Medicare; increase defense spending; and enact tax cuts that would lose $9.5 trillion of revenues over the next decade. Economist Jared Bernstein notes that it is mathematically impossible to fulfill all of these pledges, writing: "Trump would need to cut spending outside the Social Security, Medicare, and defense by 114 percent to make his budget balance, which is, of course, impossible."[43] The fact-checking website Politifact similarly concluded: "Trump's tax plan means either unprecedented spending cuts or increased federal borrowing. But Trump has released no details about the gap, all the while vowing to protect Social Security and Medicare, two of the largest line items on the federal budget."[38]

An analysis of Trump's campaign proposals by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) showed that Trump's key proposals would increase the debt by between $11.7 and $15.1 trillion to the U.S. national debt over the next 10 years, with the U.S.'s debt-to-GDP ratio rising to 115% to 140% of GDP. The CRFB analysis showed that "growth would have to be roughly 5 times as large as projected, and twice as high as the fastest growth period in the last 60 years (which was between 1959 and 1968)" in order to balance the budget under Trump's plan, which is "practically impossible."[44][45]

Trump has vowed "tremendous cutting" of budgets for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Education if elected.[46] However, Trump has "proposed large spending increases in certain areas," which the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities states would mean "even deeper cuts to other programs" if such spending increases are to be offset.[47]

On May 9, 2016, Trump said on Meet the Press: "The thing I'm going to do is make sure the middle class gets good tax breaks. For the wealthy, I think, frankly, it's going to go up. And you know what, it really should go up." The following day, Trump backtracked on his comment on taxation of the wealthy, "saying he had been referring to potential adjustments to his own tax policy proposal" and did not support an increase in taxes of the wealthy from current levels.[42][48]

In two interviews in May 2016, Trump suggested that he would "refinance" the US federal debt as a means to relief the debt.[49][50] He clarified that he would not renegotiate the bonds, but buy them back at a discount.[49][50]


Trump has repeatedly questioned official employment numbers, suggesting at different times that the actual unemployment rate could be as high as 18-20%, 24% or 42%.[51][52]

Federal Reserve

Trump supports proposals that would grant Congress the ability to audit the Federal Reserve’s decision making and take power away from the Federal Reserve.[53][54] Trump has accused Janet Yellen, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, of being "highly political" and of doing President Obama's bidding.[53] At other times, he has said that Yellen has "done a serviceable job" though he would "would be more inclined to put other people in" the Federal Reserve.[54]

Financial regulation

In May 2016, Trump said that if elected president he would dismantle "nearly all" of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a financial regulation package enacted after the financial crisis.[55] Trump called Dodd-Frank "a very negative force."[55] Trump told Reuters that he will release his own financial regulation plan in the beginning of June 2016.[56]

Trade policy

Trump identifies himself as a "free trader,"[57] but is identified by others, such as conservative economic writer Stephen Moore, as a protectionist.[58] Trump's views on trade have upended the traditional Republican policies favoring free trade.[58][59] Binyamin Appelbaum, reporting for the New York Times, has summarized Trump's proposals as breaking with 200 years of economics orthodoxy.[60][61] American economic writer Bruce Bartlett writes that Trump's protectionist views have roots in American history,[62] and Canadian writer Lawrence Solomon describes Trump's position on trade as similar to that as of pre-Reagan Republican presidents, such as Herbert Hoover (who signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act) and Richard Nixon (who ran on a protectionist platform).[63]

According to the New York Times, since at least the 1980s, Trump has advanced mercantilist views, "describing trade as a zero-sum game in which countries lose by paying for imports."[60] On the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016, Trump has decried the U.S.-China trade imbalance—calling it "the greatest theft in the history of the world"—and regularly advocates tariffs.[60] Economists dispute the idea that a trade deficit amounts to a loss or "theft", as a trade deficit is simply the difference between what the United States imports and what it exports to a country.[64][65] Trump shares some views on trade with Bernie Sanders, at least in the sense that they both are skeptical of free trade.[66] When asked why the clothes in the Donald J. Trump collection were not made in the United States, Trump answered that "They don’t even make this stuff here," a claim found to be false by FactCheck.org.[67]

Some economists and free-market proponents at groups such as the Institute of Economic Affairs, American Enterprise Institute, Peterson Institute for International Economics, Adam Smith Institute, Cato Institute, and Club for Growth have been harshly critical of Trump's views on trade, viewing them as likely to start trade wars and harm consumers.[61][68][69][70][71][72][73][74] In a May 2016 speech, Trump responded to concerns regarding a potential trade war with "We're losing $500 billion in trade with China. Who the hell cares if there's a trade war?"[75]

Trans-Pacific Partnership

When announcing his candidacy in June 2015, Trump said that his experience as a negotiator in private business would enhance his ability to negotiate better international trade deals as President, saying "[America] used to have victories, but we don't have them. When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let's say, China in a trade deal? They kill us. I beat China all the time."[76] Trump has said: "Free trade's only good if you have smart representatives. It's not good if we have dummies."[66] Trump opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying "The deal is insanity. That deal should not be supported and it should not be allowed to happen ... We are giving away what ultimately is going to be a back door for China."[77]

Tariffs, China, and Mexico

Trump has vowed to label China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office.[59] Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler, citing experts such as C. Fred Bergsten, found that "Trump's complaints about currency manipulation are woefully out of date," noting that "China has not manipulated its currency for at least two years."[78]

Trump has pledged "swift, robust and unequivocal" action against Chinese piracy, counterfeit American goods, and theft of U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property; and has condemned China's "illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards."[59] When asked about potential Chinese retaliation to the implementation of tariffs, such as sales of US bonds, Trump deemed the Chinese unlikely to retaliate, "They will crash their economy... They will have a depression, the likes of which you have never seen if they ever did that."[79]

In January 2016, Trump proposed a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports to the United States to give "American workers a level playing field."[57][60] Trump has also "promised to penalize American companies that build foreign factories," specifically criticizing the Ford Motor Co.,[60] Carrier Corporation,[60] and Mondelez International[80] for shifting production from the U.S. to Mexico.[60] Trump has pledged a 35% tariff on "every car, every truck and every part manufactured in [Ford's Mexico plant] that comes across the border."[61] Tariffs at that level would be far higher than the international norms (which are around 2.67 percent for the U.S. and most other advanced economies and under 10 percent for most developing countries).[68] In August 2015, in response to Oreo maker Mondelez International's announcement that it would move manufacturing to Mexico, Trump said that he would boycott Oreos.[80]


In a 60 Minutes interview in September 2015, Trump condemned the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying that if elected president, "We will either renegotiate it, or we will break it."[81][82] A range of trade experts have said that pulling out of NAFTA as Trump proposed would have a range of unintended consequences for the U.S., including reduced access to the U.S.'s biggest export markets, a reduction in economic growth, and increased prices for gasoline, cars, fruits, and vegetables.[83] The Washington Post fact-checker furthermore noted that a Congressional Research Service review of the academic literature on NAFTA concluded that the "net overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest, primarily because trade with Canada and Mexico accounts for a small percentage of U.S. GDP."[65]

Health care and Social Security

Affordable Care Act and health-care reform

In 1999, during his abortive 2000 Reform Party presidential campaign, told Larry King: "I believe in universal health care."[84] In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump reiterated his call for universal health care and focused on a Canadian-style single-payer health care system as a means to achieve it.[84] In 2015, Trump also expressed admiration for the Scottish health-care system, which is single payer.[84]

As the 2016 campaign unfolded, Trump stated that he favors repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare")—which Trump refers to as a "complete disaster"[85]—and replacing it with a "free-market system."[84] On his campaign website, Trump says, "on day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare."[86][87] Trump's campaign has insisted that the candidate has "never supported socialized medicine."[84]

In the early part of his campaign, Trump responded to questions about his plan to replace the ACA by saying that it would be "something terrific!"[85][88] Trump subsequently said at various points that he believes that the government should have limited involvement of health care, but has also said that "at the lower end, where people have no money, I want to try and help those people," by "work[ing] out some sort of a really smart deal with hospitals across the country."[88] and has said "everybody's got to be covered."[85]

At a February 2016 town hall on CNN, Trump said that he supported the individual health insurance mandate of the ACA, which requires all Americans to have health insurance, saying "I like the mandate. So here's where I'm a little bit different [from other Republican candidates]."[89][90] In March 2016, Trump reversed himself, saying that "Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to."[91]

In March 2016 Trump released his health care plan, which called for allowing health-insurance companies to compete across state lines and for making Medicaid into a block grant system for the states. He also called for elimination of the individual mandate for health insurance, for allowing health insurance premiums to be deducted on tax returns, and for international competition in the drug market. In the same document, Trump acknowledged that mental health care in the U.S. is often inadequate but offered no solution to the problem.[91]

Vaccine-autism assertion

Trump believes that childhood vaccinations are related to autism, a hypothesis which has been repeatedly debunked.[92][93] The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Autism Speaks patient-advocacy group have "decried Trump's remarks as false and potentially dangerous."[93]

Social Security and Medicare

Trump has called for allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with prescription-drug companies to get lower prices for the Medicare Part D prescription-drug benefit, something currently prohibited by law. Trump has claimed on several occasions that this proposal would save $300 billion a year. Glenn Kessler, the fact-checker for the Washington Post, gave this statement a "four Pinocchios" rating, writing that this was a "truly absurd" and "nonsense figure" because it was four times the entire cost of the Medicare prescription-drug system.[94]

Unlike his rivals in the 2016 Republican primary race, Trump opposes cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits.[95][96] This is a departure from Trump's earlier views; in his book published in 2000, Trump called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and said it should be privatized.[96] Trump previously proposed raising the Social Security retirement age to 70 from 67, but he receded from this stance in 2015.[96]


Trump supports investment in American infrastructure.[97][98][99][100] He wrote in his 2015 book Crippled America that "Our airports, bridges, water tunnels, power grids, rail systems—our nation's entire infrastructure is crumbling, and we aren't doing anything about it." Trump noted that infrastructure improvements would stimulate economic growth while acknowledging "on the federal level, this is going to be an expensive investment, no question about that."[99][100] In an October 2015 interview with the Guardian, Trump stated: "We have to spend money on mass transit. We have to fix our airports, fix our roads also in addition to mass transit, but we have to spend a lot of money."[101] In a Republican primary debate in December 2015, Trump said: "We've spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people. If we could've spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges and all of the other problems—our airports and all of the other problems we've had—we would've been a lot better off."[99]

On the campaign trail, Trump has decried "our airports, our roads, our bridges," likening their state to that of "a Third World country."[102][103] Trump has on some occasions overstated the proportion of U.S. bridges that are structurally deficient.[102] Unlike many of his Republican opponents,[101] Trump has expressed support for high-speed rail, calling the U.S.'s current rail network inferior to foreign countries' systems.[98][101]

Minimum wage

Trump's comments about the minimum wage have been inconsistent.[104]

In August 2015, in a televised interview, Trump said "Having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country."[105] On November 10, 2015, speaking at a Republican debate, Trump said he opposed increasing the U.S. minimum wage, saying that doing so would hurt America's economic competitiveness.[106][107]

On May 5, 2016, two days after becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he was "actually looking at" raising the minimum wage, saying, "I'm very different from most Republicans."[108] Three days later, in an interview on This Week With George Stephanopoulos: "... I haven't decided in terms of numbers. But I think people have to get more." He acknowledged his shift in position since November, saying "Well, sure it's a change. I'm allowed to change. You need flexibility ..."[109][110]

Later on May 8, on Meet the Press, he said "I would like to see an increase of some magnitude. But I'd rather leave it to the states. Let the states decide."[111][112] Asked if the federal government should set a floor (a national minimum wage), Trump replied: "No, I’d rather have the states go out and do what they have to do."[113] However, three days later, on May 11, on Twitter, in a response to a tweet by Elizabeth Warren, Trump said that "... Elizabeth Warren lied when she says I want to abolish the Federal Minimum Wage. See media—asking for increase!"[114][115]

Right-to-work laws

On February 17, 2016, in an interview with Ashley Byrd, Donald Trump said "My position on unions is fine, but I like right to work. My position on right to work is 100 percent."[116]


File:Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore 5.jpg
Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona, on March 19, 2016

Illegal immigration is a signature issue of Trump's presidential campaign, and his proposed reforms and controversial remarks about this issue have generated headlines.[6] Trump has also expressed support for a variety of "limits on legal immigration and guest-worker visas,"[6][117] including a "pause" on granting green cards, which Trump says will "allow record immigration levels to subside to more moderate historical averages."[118][119][120]

Trump has questioned official (and widely accepted) estimates of the number of illegal immigrants in the United States (between 11 and 12 million), asserting that the number is actually between 30 and 34 million.[121] PolitiFact ruled that his statement was "Pants on Fire," citing experts who noted that no evidence supported an estimate in that range.[121]

Birthright citizenship

Trump opposes birthright citizenship (the legal principle set forth by the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that all persons born on U.S. soil are citizens). Trump has asserted that the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to children of illegal immigrants (whom Trump refers to as "anchor babies").[122][123] The mainstream view of the Fourteenth Amendment among legal experts is that everyone born on U.S. soil, regardless of parents' citizenship, is automatically an American citizen. Trump's view "is held by only a handful of legal scholars." However the issue is not considered completely settled, since the amendment does not discuss illegal immigration and the matter has not been addressed by the Supreme Court[123]

Border security

Trump has emphasized U.S. border security and illegal immigration to the United States as a campaign issue.[124][125] During his announcement speech he stated in part, "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems.... They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."[126] On July 6, 2015, Trump issued a written statement[127] to clarify his position on illegal immigration which drew a reaction from critics. It read in part:

The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc. This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5-time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government. The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world. On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard working Mexicans—many of them are working for and with me...and, just like our country, my organization is better for it."[128]

In addition to his proposals to construct a border wall (see below), Trump has called for tripling the number of Border Patrol agents.[129]

U.S.–Mexico border wall proposal

In his speech announcing his candidacy, Trump pledged to build "build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."[76][130] Trump also said "nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I'll build them very inexpensively."[130] The concept for building a barrier to keep illegal immigrants out of the U.S. is not new; 670 miles of fencing (about one-third of the border) was erected under the Secure Fence Act of 2006, at a cost of $2.4 billion.[130] Trump said later that his proposed will would be "a real wall. Not a toy wall like we have now."[131] In his 2015 book, Trump cites the Israeli West Bank barrier as a successful example of a border wall.[132] "Trump has at times suggested building a wall across the nearly 2,000-mile border and at other times indicated more selective placement."[133]

John Cassidy of the New Yorker wrote that Trump is "the latest representative of an anti-immigrant, nativist American tradition that dates back at least to the Know-Nothings" of the 1840s and 1850s.[134] Trump says that "it was legal immigrants who made America great",[135] that the Latinos who have worked for him have been "unbelievable people", and that he wants a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to have a "big, beautiful door" for people to come legally and feel welcomed in the United States.[136]

According to experts and analyses, the actual cost to construct a wall along the remaining 1,300 miles of the border could be as high as $16 million per mile, with a total cost of up to $25 billion, with the cost of private land acquisitions and fence maintenance pushing up the total cost further.[133] Maintenance of the wall cost could up to $750 million a year, and if the Border Patrol agents were to patrol the wall, additional funds would have to be expended.[133] Rough and remote terrain on many parts of the border, such as deserts and mountains, would make construction and maintenance of a wall expensive, and such terrain may be a greater deterrent than a wall in any case.[133] Experts also note that on federally protected wilderness areas and Native American reservations, the Department of Homeland Security may have only limited construction authority, and a wall could cause environmental damage.[133]

Experts on immigration question whether a wall would be effective at stopping unauthorized crossings, noting that walls are of limited use unless they are patrolled by agents and to intercept those climbing over or tunneling under the wall.[133] Experts also note that approximately half of illegal immigrants in the U.S. did not surreptitiously enter, but rather "entered through official crossing points, either by overstaying visas, using fraudulent documents, or being smuggled past the border."[133]

Mass deportation

Trump has proposed the mass deportation of illegal immigrants.[137][138][139] During his first town hall campaign meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, Trump said that if he were to win the election, then on "[d]ay 1 of my presidency, illegal immigrants are getting out and getting out fast."[140]

Trump has proposed a "Deportation Force" to carry out this plan, modeled after the 1950s-era "Operation Wetback" program during the Eisenhower administration.[139][141] Historian Mae Ngai of Columbia University, who has studied the program, has said that the military-style operation was both inhumane and ineffective.[139][141] The Eisenhower-era program was ended following a congressional investigation.[141] Trump has said of his proposal: "We would do it in a very humane way."[138]

According to analysts, Trump's mass-deportation plan would encounter legal and logistical difficulties, since U.S. immigration courts already face large backlogs.[138] Such a program would also impose a fiscal cost; the fiscally conservative American Action Forum policy group estimates that deporting every illegal immigrant would cause a slump of $381.5 billion to $623.2 billion in private sector output, amounting to roughly a loss of 2% of U.S. GDP.[142] Doug Holtz-Eakin, the group's president, has said that the mass deportation of 11 million people would "harm the economy in ways it would normally not be harmed."[138]


On November 19, 2015, a week after the November 2015 Paris attacks, when asked if he would implement a database system to track Muslims in the United States, Trump said: "I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems."[143] On November 21, Trump expanded on his stance, saying that he would order surveillance of "certain mosques" to combat Islamic terrorism after the Paris attacks.[144][145] Trump's support for a database of American Muslims "drew sharp rebukes from his Republican presidential rivals and disbelief from legal experts."[146]

Trump justified his proposals by repeatedly saying that he recalled "thousands and thousands of people ... cheering" in Jersey City, New Jersey, when the World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001.[145][147] Politifact noted that this statement was false, giving it a "Pants on Fire" rating and reporting that it was based on debunked and unproven rumors.[146][148][149] Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop called Trump's claim "absurd" and said that Trump "has memory issues or willfully distorts the truth."[150]

Trump has proposed a temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the United States (approximately 100,000 Muslim immigrants are admitted to the U.S. each year)[151] "until we can figure out what's going on".[152][153][154][155] In response to the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, Trump released a statement on "Preventing Muslim Immigration" and called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on."[156] Trump cited President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's World War II use of the Alien and Sedition Acts to issue presidential proclamations for rounding up, holding, and deporting Japanese, German, and Italian alien immigrants, then argued that Roosevelt was highly respected and had highways named after him.[157][158][159][160] Trump stated that he did not agree with Roosevelt's internment of Japanese Americans, and clarified that the proposal would not apply to Muslims who were U.S. citizens or to Muslims who were serving in the U.S. military.[161] He later clarified that Muslims who were U.S. citizens or serving in the U.S. military would be let back into the United States.[162] The measure proposed by Trump would be temporary,[153] until better screening methods are devised,[154] although the proposal has also been phrased in more controversial ways.[155]

In May 2016, Trump said "There will always be exceptions" to the ban, when asked how the ban would apply to London's newly elected mayor Sadiq Khan.[163] A Khan spokesman said in response that Trump's views were "ignorant, divisive and dangerous" and play into the hands of extremists.[164]

Other proposals

Trump has proposed making it more difficult for asylum-seekers and refugees to enter the United States, and making the e-Verify system mandatory for employers.[129]

Syrian refugees

Trump has on several occasions expressed opposition to allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S.—saying they could be the "ultimate Trojan horse"[165]—and has proposed deporting back to Syria refugees settled in the U.S.[166][167] By September 2015, Trump had expressed support for taking in some Syrian refugees[166][168] and praised Germany's decision to take in Syrian refugees.[169]

On a number of occasions in 2015, Trump asserted that "If you're from Syria and you're a Christian, you cannot come into this country, and they're the ones that are being decimated. If you are Islamic ... it's hard to believe, you can come in so easily." Politifact rated Trump's claim as "false" and found it to be "wrong on its face," citing the fact that 3 percent of the refugees from Syria have been Christian (although they represent 10 percent of the Syrian population) and finding that the US government is not discriminating against Christians as a matter of official policy.[170]

In May 2016 interview with Bill O'Reilly, Trump stated "Look, we are at war with these people and they don't wear uniforms. … This is a war against people that are vicious, violent people, that we have no idea who they are, where they come from. We are allowing tens of thousands of them into our country now." Politifact ruled this statement "pants on fire", stating that the US is on track to accept 100,000 refugees in 2017, but there is no evidence that tens of thousands of them are terrorists.[171]

Domestic and social policy

Trump signs the Republican loyalty pledge: If Trump does not become the Republican Party nominee for the 2016 general election he pledges to support whomever the nominee may be, and to not run as a third-party candidate.

Abortion and reproductive rights

Trump's views on abortion have changed significantly between 1999 and his 2016 presidential campaign.[172][173][174] In an October 24, 1999 appearance on Meet the Press, Trump said "I am very pro-choice" and "I believe in choice."[175] He said that he hated the "concept of abortion," but would not ban abortion or the procedure sometimes called "partial-birth abortion."[175] Later that year, Trump gave interviews stating "I'm totally pro-choice" and "I want to see the abortion issue removed from politics. I believe it is a personal decision that should be left to the women and their doctors."[172]

While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump stated "I'm pro-life and I've been pro-life a long time" and acknowledged that he had "evolved" on the issue.[173] CNN reported that Trump "dodged questions testing the specificity of those views."[173] In August 2015, Trump said that he supported a government shutdown over federal funding for Planned Parenthood (which receives federal funding for the health services it provides to 2.7 million people annually, but is barred by federal law from using federal funds for abortion-related procedures).[176] In March 2016, Trump said that Planned Parenthood should not be funded "as long as you have the abortion going on," but acknowledged that "Planned Parenthood has done very good work for many, many -- for millions of women."[177] Planned Parenthood said in a statement that "Trump presidency would be a disaster for women" and criticized Trump's claim that "he'd be great for women while in the same breath pledging to block them from accessing care at Planned Parenthood."[177]

In an interview later that month, Trump acknowledged that there must be "some form" of punishment for women if abortion were made illegal in the U.S. Trump issued a statement later that day reversing his position from earlier by saying, "the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman."[178][179][180] Trump has proposed to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court, explaining that the best way to protect the pro-life cause is to do it "through the Supreme Court."[181] Trump has said that abortion should be legal in cases "rape, incest or the life of the mother being at risk."[174]

Capital punishment

Trump has long advocated for capital punishment in the United States.[182] In May 1989, shortly after the Central Park jogger case received widespread media attention, Trump purchased a full-page ad in four New York City newspapers with the title "BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY!" Five defendants (the "Central Park Five") were wrongfully convicted in the case and were subsequently exonerated.[182] [183][184][185]

In December 2015, in a speech accepting the endorsement of the New England Police Benevolent Association, Trump said that "One of the first things I do [if elected President] in terms of executive order if I win will be to sign a strong, strong statement that will go out to the country, out to the world, that ... anybody killing a police officer — death penalty. It's going to happen, O.K.?"[186][187][188][189]

This is impossible under the U.S. legal system, however, because persons prosecuted in state court (the vast majority of capital prosecutions in the United States) are sentenced under state law; the president has no authority to control such prosecutions.[182][190] Moreover, nearly 20 states have abolished the death penalty, and mandatory death sentences are unconstitutional, as held by the Supreme Court in Woodson v. North Carolina (1976).[182][190]

Civil liberties and rights

First Amendment, free speech, and defamation law

Trump has called for the mass arrest of protestors against him, saying that fear of an "arrest mark" that would "ruin the rest of their lives" would be a deterrent and that then "we're not going to have any more protesters, folks."[191]

Trump has said that if elected, he would loosen defamation laws so that when journalists write "purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money." The Associated Press reported that this proposal to weaken the First Amendment protections for the press is at odds with "widely held conceptions of constitutional law." The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and other First Amendment advocates condemned Trump's proposal, which would make it easier to win lawsuits accusing newspapers of libel.[192] The Trump campaign has also denied press credentials to reporters in the wake of negative coverage, a move described as troubling by CNN. Reporters from The New York Times, The Des Moines Register, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Politico, Univision and Fusion have all reported being blocked from Trump campaign events.[193]

Privacy, encryption, and electronic surveillance

On National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, Trump says that he "tends to err on the side of security" over privacy. Trump supports bringing back now-expired provisions of the Patriot Act to allow for the NSA to collect and store bulk telephone metadata.[194][195] Trump said: "I assume that when I pick up my telephone, people are listening to my conversations anyway."[195]

Trump has called NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden a "total traitor"[196] and has accused him of being a spy.[197] Snowden responded by saying: "It's very difficult to respond in a serious way to any statement that's made by Donald Trump."[196]

In February 2016, Trump urged his supporters to boycott Apple Inc. unless the company agrees to build a custom backdoor for the FBI to unlock the password-protected iPhone connected to one of the perpetrators of the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, a move that Apple argues would threaten the security and privacy of its users.[198] Trump himself still uses his iPhone to send out tweets.[199]

Criminal justice

As of May 2016, Trump's campaign website makes no mention of criminal justice reform, and Trump rarely talks specifics.[200][201][202] Observers believe that he is unlikely to make the criminal justice system less punitive and reduce mass incarceration.[200][201][202] Trump has stated that he would be "tough on crime" and criticized Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's criminal justice reform proposals.[203][200] When asked about specific criminal justice reforms, Trump reportedly often changes the subject back to supporting police or vague answers about needing to be “tough.”[202] In January 2016, Trump said that along with veterans, "the most mistreated people in this country are police."[204]

In 2000, Trump defended "broken-windows policing" and "stop and frisk" tactics.[200] In 2000, he also rejected the arguments of criminal justice reformers as elitist and naive.[201] Trump is in favor of at least one mandatory sentence, where using a gun to commit a crime results in a five-year sentence.[202][205]

In May 2016, Trump stated that the cities of Oakland and Ferguson are "among the most dangerous in the world," a statement which Politifact ruled false.[206]

On 22 November 2016, Trump said that crime statistics show blacks kill 81 percent of white homicide victims, a statement deemed false by Politifact (earned its "Pants on fire" rating) and Factcheck.org the next day.[207][208] When asked about the statistics on 24 November 2016, Trump maintained that the statistics come "from sources that are very credible."[208]

Drug policy

Trump's views on drug policy have shifted dramatically over time.[209]

At a luncheon hosted by the Miami Herald in April 1990, Trump told a crowd of 700 people that U.S. drug enforcement policy was a "a joke," and that: "We're losing badly the war on drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars."[210][211]

In his campaign for the presidency in 2015 and 2016, however, Trump adopted "drug warrior" positions[210] and has sought advice on the issue from William J. Bennett, who served as the U.S. first "drug czar" in the 1980s "and has remained a proponent of harsh 1980s-style drug war tactics."[212] Trump told Sean Hannity in June 2015 that he opposes marijuana legalization and that "I feel strongly about that."[210] Trump also claims to have personally never used controlled substances of any kind.[210]

Trump has voiced support for medical marijuana,[210] saying that he is "a hundred percent in favor" because "I know people that have serious problems... and... it really, really does help them."[213] When asked about Colorado (where recreational use of marijuana is legal), Trump softened his previously expressed views and essentially said that states should be able to decide on whether marijuana for recreational purposes should be legal.[210][214]


Trump has stated his support for school choice and local control for primary and secondary schools. On school choice he's commented, "Our public schools are capable of providing a more competitive product than they do today. Look at some of the high school tests from earlier in this century and you’ll wonder if they weren't college-level tests. And we’ve got to bring on the competition—open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children. Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships. I call it competition—the American way."[215]

Trump has blasted the Common Core State Standards Initiative, calling it a "total disaster."[216][217] Trump has asserted that Common Core is "education through Washington D.C.," a claim which Politifact and other journalists have rated "false," since the adoption and implementation of Common Core is a state choice, not a federal one.[216][217]

Eminent domain

Trump has called eminent domain "wonderful" and repeatedly asked the government to invoke it on his behalf during past development projects.[218][219]

Gun regulation

In his 2000 book The America We Deserve, Trump wrote that he generally opposed gun control, but supported the ban on assault weapons and supported a "slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun."[220][221][222][223] In his book, Trump also criticized the gun lobby, saying: "The Republicans walk the N.R.A. line and refuse even limited restrictions."[223]

Trump has since reversed some of his positions on gun issues, and while campaigning for the presidency in 2015 and 2016 has called for the expansion of gun rights.[223] Trump has proposed eliminating prohibitions on assault weapons, military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines (which Trump described as "scary sounding phrases" used by gun control advocates "to confuse people"), as well as making concealed carry permits valid nationwide, rather than on the current state-to-state basis.[220] Trump has said that concealed carry "is a right, not a privilege."[220] He has called for an overhaul of the current federal background check system, arguing that "Too many states are failing to put criminal and mental health records into the system."[220][224]

On the campaign trail, Trump has praised the National Rifle Association (NRA),[225] and received the group's endorsement after becoming the presumptive Republican nominee.[226] Trump has described himself as a staunch advocate of the Second Amendment.[221][227] Trump has asserted that the presence of more guns in schools and public places could have stopped mass shootings such as those in Paris, San Bernardino, California, and Umpqua Community College.[225][228]

In January 2016, Trump said: "I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools, and — you have to — and on military bases... My first day, it gets signed, okay? My first day. There's no more gun-free zones."[229] Trump could not eliminate gun-free school zones by executive order, however, since such zones were created by a federal law that can only be reversed by Congress.[223] In May 2016, Trump made ambiguous comments on guns in classrooms, saying: "I don't want to have guns in classrooms. Although, in some cases, teachers should have guns in classrooms."[230] In May 2016, Trump accused Hillary Clinton of lying when she claimed that "Donald Trump would force schools to allow guns in classrooms on his first day in office."[231] According to the Washington Post fact-checker, Clinton's statement was accurate.[232]

Trump supports barring people on the government's terrorist watch list from purchasing weapons, saying in 2015: "If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it's an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely."[223] This is one position where Trump departs from the position of gun-rights groups and most of his Republican rivals for the presidency and supports a stance backed by Senate Democrats.[223]

In 2015, Trump said that he holds a New York concealed carry permit[220][233] and that "I carry on occasion, sometimes a lot. I like to be unpredictable."[233] A 1987 Associated Press story said that he held a handgun permit at that time.[220]

Security personnel and other staffers at a number of Trump's hotels and golf courses told ABC News that patrons are not permitted to carry guns on the property. A Trump spokesman denied this, saying that licensed persons are permitted to carry guns on the premises.[234]

LGBT issues

LGBT anti-discrimination laws

In a February 2000 interview with The Advocate, Trump said he supported amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include the category of sexual orientation and supported federal hate crime legislation that would cover sexual orientation.[235]

Trump has offered qualified support for the First Amendment Defense Act, which aims to protect those who oppose same-sex marriage based on their religious beliefs from action by the federal government, such as revocation of tax-exempt status, grants, loans, benefits, or employment.[236] Trump said, "If Congress considers the First Amendment Defense Act a priority, then I will do all I can to make sure it comes to my desk for signatures and enactment."[237][238]

In April 2016, when asked about the controversial North Carolina House Bill 2 that blocked local municipalities from enacting anti-discrimination ordinances not covered statewide, Trump stated: "North Carolina did something that was very strong and they're paying a big price. ... You leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom they feel is appropriate, there has been so little trouble, and the problem with what happened in North Carolina is the strife, and the economic punishment that they're taking."[239][240] Trump stated: "I fully understand if they [North Carolina] want to go through, but they are losing business and they are having a lot of people come out against."[241] Trump took the position that the federal government should not become involved and did not express an opinion on whether the law was right or wrong.[241]

LGB hate crime laws

In a February 2000 interview with The Advocate, Trump stated in response to the murder of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd that he wanted a more "tolerant society" and he would "absolutely" support hate crime legislation on the basis of their race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.[242]

LGB military service

In an October 1999 appearance on Meet the Press, Trump said gays openly serving in the military was "not something that would disturb me."[175]

Log Cabin Republicans

In 2015, Gregory T. Angelo, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans,[243] had described Trump as "one of the best, if not the best, pro-gay Republican candidates to ever run for the presidency."[244] The group has since questioned his LGBT support, releasing a video portraying him as inconsistent on gay marriage.[245] Jamie Ensley, national board chair of the Log Cabin Republicans, endorsed Donald Trump for president.[246]

Same-sex marriage

Trump has stated that he supports "traditional marriage"[247] and opposes same-sex marriage.[248] Since at least 2000, Trump has said that "he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman."[249] Trump has not emphasized the issue, however,[249][250] and has at times given ambiguous comments.[250]

In June 2015, when asked about the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, he said: "I would have preferred states, you know, making the decision and I let that be known. But they made the decision. ... So, at a certain point you have to be realistic about it."[251] Later, in the run up to the Iowa caucuses on February 1, 2016, Trump stated that if elected he would strongly consider appointing Supreme Court justices that would overturn Obergefell v. Hodges.[252] When asked if gay couples should be able access the same benefits as married couples, Trump said that his "attitude on it has not been fully formed."[253]

Obama's eligibility for the presidency

Trump has espoused Barack Obama citizenship ("birther") conspiracy theories over time.[254][255][256]

In March 2011, during an interview on Good Morning America, Trump said he was seriously considering running for president, that he was a "little" skeptical of Obama's citizenship and that someone who shares this view shouldn't be so quickly dismissed as an "idiot." Trump added: "Growing up no one knew him"[257]—a claim ranked "Pants on Fire" by Politifact.[258]

Later, Trump appeared on The View repeating several times that "I want him (Obama) to show his birth certificate" and speculating that "there's something on that birth certificate that he doesn't like."[259] Although officials in Hawaii certified Obama's citizenship, Trump said in April 2011 he would not let go of the issue, because he was not satisfied that Obama had proved his citizenship.[260] After Trump began publicly expressing his views on the subject, he was contacted by Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily, who was reportedly on the phone with Trump every day for a week, providing Trump with a "birther primer" as well as advice.[261]

After Obama released his long-form birth certificate on April 27, 2011, Trump said: "I am really honored and I am really proud, that I was able to do something that nobody else could do."[262] In May 2012, Trump continued to suggest that Obama might have been born in Kenya.[263] In October 2012, Trump offered to donate five million dollars to the charity of Obama's choice in return for the publication of his college and passport applications before the end of the month.[264] When asked in December 2015 if he still questioned Obama's legitimacy, Trump said that "I don't talk about that anymore."[265]

Supreme Court

Trump has released a list of 11 potential picks to replace Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.[266] The jurists are widely considered to be conservative.[266][267][268][269] All are white, and eight of the 11 are men.[267] The list includes five out of the eight individuals recommended by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.[270] Trump had previously insisted that he would seek guidance from conservative groups such as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation when it came to picking Supreme Court candidates.[267] Several of the judges on Mr. Trump's list have questioned abortion rights.[267] Six of the 11 judges have clerked for conservative Supreme Court justices.[267]

Trump has criticized the Bush-appointed Supreme Court Justice John Roberts for letting conservatives down in the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage and in the 2015 King v. Burwell that upheld provisions of the Affordable Care Act.[271][272]

In February 2016, Trump called on the Senate to stop Obama from filling the vacant seat on the Supreme Court.[273]

Technology and net neutrality

Trump is opposed to net neutrality, asserting that it is "Obama's attack on the internet" and saying that it "will target the conservative media."[274]

The Free Press Action Fund, a group of tech policy activists, rated Trump the worst 2016 presidential candidate for "citizens' digital lives," citing his positions opposing reforming the Patriot Act, favoring Internet censorship, and opposing net neutrality.[275]

Veterans' affairs

Trump has been critical of the ways in which veterans are treated in the United States, saying "the vets are horribly treated in this country... they are living in hell."[276] Trump favors getting rid of backlogs and wait-lists which are the focus of the Veterans Health Administration scandal. He has claimed that "over 300,000 veterans have died waiting for care."[277] In a statement, he said he believes that Veterans Affairs facilities need to be upgraded with recent technology, hire more veterans to treat other veterans, increase support of female veterans, and create satellite clinics within hospitals in rural areas.[278] Trump's proposed plan for reforming the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs includes provisions for allowing veterans to obtain care at any doctor or facility that accepts Medicare, increasing funding for PTSD and suicide prevention services, and providing ob/gyn services at every VA hospital.[279] The veterans group Concerned Veterans for America criticized Trump's plan for its vagueness, saying "While Donald Trump rightly proposes more health care choices for veterans and long-overdue accountability for bad VA employees, his ‘plan’ is painfully thin on specifics about how he would implement those principles."[280]

Trump skipped a televised Republican debate in January 2016 to host a rally to raise money for veterans. In early February, the Wall Street Journal reported that many veterans' groups began to get their checks only after the Journal asked the Trump campaign why they had not.[281] In April, the Journal reported that the funds had yet to be fully distributed.[282]

Trump caused a stir in July 2015 when he charged that Senator John McCain with having "done nothing to help the vets," a statement ruled false by Politifact and the Chicago Tribune[276][283] Trump added that McCain is "not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."[284]

Video game violence

Trump has voiced his opposition to video game violence. After it was reported that the Sandy Hook shooter frequently played violent video games, Trump tweeted, "Video game violence & glorification must be stopped—it is creating monsters!"[285][286]

Environmental and energy policy

California drought

On May 2016, Trump said that could solve the water crisis in California.[287] He declared that "there is no drought," a statement which the Associated Press noted is incorrect.[287] Trump accused California state officials of denying farmers of water so they can send it out to sea "to protect a certain kind of three-inch fish."[287] According to the AP, Trump appeared to be referring to a dispute between Central Valley farming interests and environmental interests; California farmers accuse water authorities of short-changing them of the water in their efforts to protect endangered native fish species.[287]

Energy policy

In his May 2016 speech on energy policy, Trump stated : "Under my presidency, we will accomplish complete American energy independence. We will become totally independent of the need to import energy from the oil cartel or any nation hostile to our interest."[288] The New York Times reported that "experts say that such remarks display a basic ignorance of the workings of the global oil markets."[288]

Environmental regulation

In January 2016, Trump vowed "tremendous cutting" of the budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if elected.[46] In an October 2015 interview with Chris Wallace, Trump explained, "what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations."[289] When Wallace asked, "Who's going to protect the environment?", Trump answered "we'll be fine with the environment. We can leave a little bit, but you can't destroy businesses."[289]

Trump has charged that the "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service abuses the Endangered Species Act to restrict oil and gas exploration."[290][291]

Climate change, carbon emissions, fossil fuels, and pollution

Trump rejects the scientific consensus on climate change,[288][292] repeatedly contending that global warming is a "hoax."[247][293] He has said that "the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," a statement which Trump later said was a joke.[294] Trump criticized President Obama's description of climate change as "the greatest threat to future generations" for being "naive" and "one of the dumbest statements I've ever heard."[295][296] In May 2016, Trump asked U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota—described by Reuters as "one of America's most ardent drilling advocates and climate change skeptics"—to draft Trump's energy policy.[297]

Although "not a believer in climate change," Trump has stated that "clean air is a pressing problem" and has said: "You want to have clean air, clean water. That's very important to me."[298][299]

In May 2016, during his presidential campaign, Trump issued an energy plan focused on promoting fossil fuels and weakening environmental regulation.[288] Trump promised to "rescind" in his first 100 days in office a variety of Environmental Protection Agency regulations established during the Obama administration to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, which contribute to a warming global climate.[288] Trump has specifically pledged to revoke the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the United States rule, which he characterizes as two "job-destroying Obama executive actions."[290][291]

Trump has said "we're practically not allowed to use coal any more," a statement rated "mostly false" by Politifact.[300] Trump has criticized the Obama administration's coal policies, describing the administration's moves to phase out the use of coal-fired power plants are "stupid."[288] Trump has criticized the Obama administration for prohibiting "coal production on federal land" and states that it seeks to adopt "draconian climate rules that, unless stopped, would effectively bypass Congress to impose job-killing cap-and-trade."[290][291] Trump has vowed to revive the U.S. coal economy, a pledge that is viewed by experts as unlikely to be fulfilled because the decline of the coal industry is driven by market forces, and specifically by the U.S. natural gas boom.[288]

Trump wrote in his 2011 book that he opposed a cap-and-trade system to control carbon emissions.[301]

According to FactCheck.org, over at least a five-year period, Trump has on several occasions made incorrect claims about the use of hair spray and its role in ozone depletion. At a rally in May 2016, "Trump implied that the regulations on hairspray and coal mining are both unwarranted" and incorrectly asserted that hairspray use in a "sealed" apartment prevents the spray's ozone-depleting substances from reaching the atmosphere.[302]

Opposition to international cooperation on climate change

Trump pledged in his May 2016 speech on energy policy to "cancel the Paris climate agreement"[288] adopted at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (in which 170 countries committed to reductions in carbon emissions).[55][288] Trump pledged to cancel the agreement in his first hundred days in office.[290][303] This pledge followed earlier comments by Trump, in which he said that as president, he would "at a minimum" seek to renegotiate the agreement and "at a maximum I may do something else."[304] Trump characterizes the Paris Agreement "one-sided" and "bad for the United States,"[304] believing that the agreement is too favorable to China and other countries.[55] In his May 2016 speech, Trump inaccurately said that the Paris Agreement "gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use on our land, in our country"; in fact, the Paris Agreement is based on voluntary government, and no country controls the emissions-reduction plan of any other country.[288]

Once the agreement is ratified by 55 nations representing 55 percent of global emissions (which has not yet occurred), a four-year waiting period goes into effect for any country wishing to withdraw from the agreement.[288]

A U.S. move to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as Trump proposes is viewed as likely to unravel the agreement;[288] according to Reuters, such a move would spell "potential doom for an agreement many view as a last chance to turn the tide on global warming."[304]

In Trump's May 2016 speech on energy policy, he declared that if elected president, he would "stop all payment of U.S. tax dollars to global warming programs."[288] This would be a reversal of the U.S. pledge to commit funds to developing countries to assist in climate change mitigation and could undermine the willingness of other countries to take action against climate change.[288]

Keystone XL pipeline

Trump has promised to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed project to bring Canadian petroleum to the U.S.[288] Trump pledged that if elected, he would ask TransCanada Corp. to renew its permit application for the project within his first hundred days in office.[290][291]

Renewable energy

Trump supports a higher ethanol mandate (the amount of ethanol required by federal regulation to be blended into the U.S. gasoline supply).[305]

Despite expressing hatred for wind farms in the past (calling them "ugly"), Trump has said that does not oppose the wind production tax credit, saying: "I'm okay with subsidies, to an extent."[306] Trump has criticized wind energy for being expensive and for not working without "massive subsidies".[307] He added, "windmills are killing hundreds and hundreds of eagles. One of the most beautiful, one of the most treasured birds — and they're killing them by the hundreds and nothing happens."[307]

In his official platform, Trump claims that he will reduce bureaucracy which would then lead to greater innovation.[290][291] His platform mentions "renewable energies", including "nuclear, wind and solar energy" in that regard but adds that he would not support those "to the exclusion of other energy".[290][291]

Political reform

File:Trump with supporters in Iowa, January 2016 (2).jpg
Trump and supporters at a rally in Muscatine, Iowa, January 2016. Multiple supporters hold up signs stating "The silent majority stands with Trump."

Campaign finance

Trump has repeatedly stated, "I love the idea of campaign finance reform."[308] In the first Republican primary debate in Cleveland on Fox News, Trump accused his Republican opponents of being bound to their campaign financiers, and that anyone (including Trump himself) could buy their policies with donations. Trump has stated that it is wrong that as a rich person he can have more influence than people without money. He has stated limits to contributions or spending would be "okay", although has not stated whether this would be achieved by further limits on contributions, regulating corporate spending, total limits on spending in elections, all of these or a combination.

District of Columbia statehood

In August 2015, Trump said that if he were president, he would consider the possibility of statehood for the District of Columbia, and would favor "whatever's best for them."[309] In an interview with the Washington Post in March 2016, Trump said that though he didn't yet have a position on statehood, it would be something that "I don’t think I’d be inclined to do". He also said that "having representation would be okay".[310]

Foreign and defense policy

Trump unveiled a list of foreign policy advisors in April 2016: Joseph E. Schmitz, Walid Phares, J. Keith Kellogg Jr., Carter Page, Bert Mizusawa, Gary Harrell, Chuck Kubic and George Papadopoulos.[311][312] Politico noted that several of those cited "are complete unknowns; others have mixed reputations among GOP national security pros."[313] According to Duke political science professor Peter Feaver, the list "looks more like an ad hoc coalition of the willing than any deliberate effort to reflect a particular candidate’s vision of America’s role in the world."[314] Two of the advisors "view Islamic Sharia law within the U.S. as a dire threat — even though many conservatives consider the issue a fringe obsession."[313] One of the advisors "has accused the State Department's top official for Ukraine and Russia, Victoria Nuland, of "fomenting" the 2014 revolution that overthrew Ukraine's government."[313]

Previously when asked about who he was consulting with on foreign policy during an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Trump responded with "I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things".[315] Some of Trump's foreign policy ideas have been met with opposition by the GOP foreign policy establishment.[316] The Economist Intelligence Unit placed a Trump victory in the presidential election fifth in their list of ten global risks for 2016, citing his foreign policy positions which increase the risk of trade war, him being used as a potent recruitment tool for jihadi group and weakened efforts to contain Russia's expansionist tendencies.[317]

Internet security

Trump said in a December 2015 rally, "We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some ways. Somebody will say, 'Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people."[318][319] In a Republican debate in December 2015, Trump said that the Internet should be shut off to countries that have a majority of their territory controlled by terrorist organizations.[320]

Waterboarding, torture, and interrogation

During 2016, Trump has called for the resumption of waterboarding,[321][322][323][324] and has repeatedly expressed support for the use of torture by the U.S. for the purpose of trying to get information from terrorists,[321][322][325] if Congress allows it.[2][325] On one occasion, Trump has called waterboarding "your minimal form of torture";[321] on another occasion he has said, "Nobody knows if it's torture".[326] Whether waterboarding is torture or not, Trump supports broadening the laws to allow waterboarding.[2][325][327] Many experts believe that waterboarding would be illegal without a change in the laws, including a group of foreign policy experts who published a letter in Foreign Policy magazine to that effect in March 2016.[328]

On the effectiveness of torture, Trump has said: "Don't tell me it doesn't work — torture works"[322] and "we have to beat the savages".[325] Trump has also said:

I’d go through a process and get it declassified [as a war crime], certainly waterboarding at a minimum. They're chopping off heads of Christians and many other people in the Middle East....They laugh at us when they hear that we're not going to approve waterboarding ... I have no doubt that it does work in terms of information and other things, and maybe not always, but nothing works always.[324][329]

Moreover, he says, if waterboarding "doesn't work, they deserve it anyway, for what they're doing".[330] Trump's statement that "torture works" runs counter to a 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, in which a majority of the committee's members concluded that the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques was "not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees".[331] But, there is strong public support for the proposition that torture can be justified to obtain information about terrorism, and Trump voices that belief.[332] Many people in the CIA favor interrogation that goes beyond the current limitations in the United States Army Field Manuals, and they find it ironic that the U.S. has softened interrogations of terrorists while increasingly killing them by drone strikes, though others in the CIA are unwilling to risk more fallout from coercive interrogations.[333]

At a Republican primary debate in March 2016, when asked whether the U.S. military would obey orders to torture in violation of international law, Trump stated: "Frankly, when I say they'll do as I tell them, they'll do as I tell them".[2] The following day, Trump said that he would "not order military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters".[2] Several weeks later, Trump called for a change in the law to legalize "the waterboarding thing". Trump referred to those who "came up with this international law" as "eggheads" and said that the current legal limitations were "probably a political decision" rather than based upon military advice.[2][327]

Action against terrorists

In an interview, Trump stated "You have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. ... When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families." When pressed on what "take out" meant, Trump said the U.S. should "wipe out their homes" and "where they came from."[334] The intentional targeting of non-combatants is a violation of the Geneva Convention and other aspects of the international law of war.[335]

Iraq War

On September 11, 2002, when asked by radio talk-show host Howard Stern if he supported an invasion of Iraq, Trump responded, "Yeah, I guess so."[336][337][338] On January 28, 2003, the night of President George Bush's State of the Union address, Trump said that he expected to hear "a lot of talk about Iraq" and urged Bush to make a decision on Iraq—"Either you attack or you don't attack"—without offering an opinion on which Bush should do.[339]

On March 21, 2003, one day into the Iraq War, Trump was interviewed by Fox News' Neil Cavuto. Trump said that the war appeared to be "a tremendous success from a military standpoint."[340]

Trump first publicly criticized the war in an interview published in Esquire in August 2004, sixteen months after the invasion.[341] Trump said: "Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we're in," criticized the George W. Bush administration's handling of the war, dismissed the idea of Iraq becoming functionally democratic, and predicted that "Two minutes after we leave, there's going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over. And he'll have weapons of mass destruction, which Saddam didn't have."[341][342]

On the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016, Trump has repeatedly claimed to have been "against the war from the very beginning."[341][343]

Nuclear policy

In his announcement speech, Trump said that the U.S.'s control is getting weaker and that its nuclear arsenal is old and does not work, although he appeared to be unfamiliar with the term "nuclear triad" when asked by Hugh Hewitt in a December 2015 debate what specific improvements he would make.[344]

When asked in a March 2016 town hall meeting with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews whether he would rule out the use of nuclear weapons, Trump answered that the option of using nuclear weapons should never be taken off the table.[345]

Nuclear proliferation

When asked in a March 2016 interview with the New York Times whether he would object if Japan and South Korea "got their own nuclear arsenal, given the threat that they face from North Korea and China", Trump said that if the United States could no longer pay for protecting the two states, it could mean that Japan and South Korea would go nuclear.[346] Trump added, "if Japan had that nuclear threat, I’m not sure that would be a bad thing for us."[346] According to political scientists Gene Gerzhoy and Nick Miller, the propositions that nuclear proliferation is inevitable and good for the United States "fly in the face of a wide range of recent scholarship."[347]

Syrian Civil War, Iraq and ISIL

Trump has claimed that he would "bomb the hell" out of Iraqi oil fields controlled by ISIL.[348][349] In the aftermath of the November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris, which were committed by ISIL, Trump reiterated his statements about ISIL from November 12, 2015, when he stated he would "bomb the shit out of 'em"[350] and said "I'd blow up the [oil] pipes, I'd blow up the refineries, and you know what, you'll get Exxon to come in there in two months... and I'd take the oil."[351] Trump said in an interview with Anderson Cooper "There is no Iraq. Their leaders are corrupt."[350]

In 2015 when asked how he would deal with Iraq's condemnation of strikes on their oil fields, Trump replied that Iraq is a corrupt country that is not deserving of his respect.[348]

Trump's first post-announcement interview on June 17, 2015, was with Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor.[348] One of several issues he highlighted was his proposed strategy in dealing with the Syrian Civil War.[348] He observed that while Syria was supposed to be America's enemy he felt that Bashar al-Assad "looks a lot better than some of our so-called friends."[348] Instead of fighting ISIS in Syria, Trump would cut off ISIS' access to capital by bombing the oil fields that ISIS controls while letting Iran and Russia protect Syria. He suggests, "It's really rather amazing, maybe Syria should be a free zone for ISIS, let them fight and then you pick up the remnants."[348]

In the fourth Republican debate on November 10, 2015, Trump said he "got to know [ Vladimir Putin ] very well because we were both on '60 Minutes', we were stable mates, we did well that night." Trump said he approved of Russia's intervention in Syria, stating: "If Putin wants to knock the hell out of ISIS, I’m all for it 100 percent and I can’t understand how anybody would be against that ... He‘s going in and we can go in and everybody should go in."[352]

During his speech at the Oklahoma State Fair, Trump accused his opponents of wanting to "start World War III over Syria."[353]

On December 9, 2015, Jonathan Russell, head of policy for the anti-radicalization think tank Quilliam, warned that Trump's "anti-Muslim rhetoric" helps ISIL's narrative, saying "Trump will contribute to Islamist radicalization as his comments will make Muslims feel unwelcome in America. This grievance will fuel their identity crisis, which when combined are a potent combination for the vulnerability that ISIS is so adept at exploiting with their Islamist narrative."[354]

In an interview, Trump stated "You have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. ... When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families." When pressed on what "take out" meant, Trump said the U.S. should "wipe out their homes" and "where they came from."[334] The intentional targeting of non-combatants is a violation of the Geneva Convention and other aspects of the international law of war.[335]

When asked in the March 11 CNN debate if he would send ground troops to fight ISIL, Trump answered, "We really have no choice. We have to knock out ISIS."[355] When pressed on specific numbers, Trump answered, " I would listen to the generals, but I'm hearing numbers of 20,000 to 30,000. We have to knock them out fast."[355]

Diplomacy and U.S. alliances

Trump has stated his intention to provide presidential leadership with strong diplomacy to restore "respect" for the United States around the world and he supports a robust national defense.[97][126][356] In an interview with O'Reilly, Trump claimed that he had a proven record in negotiating with foreign countries. "I've made a fortune with foreign countries."[348] He argued that "[t]here's nobody bigger or better at the military than I am."[348] Trump has argued that unlike his opponents he would not reveal his military strategies to the enemy. "I don't want them to know what I'm thinking, does that make sense? I want people to be guessing ... I don't want people to figure it out. I don't want people to know what my plan is. I have plans. I have plans! But I don't want to do it."[353] Once elected he would find a "proper general", a Patton or a McArthur who would "hit [ISIL] so hard your head would spin."[348]

Trump has stated, "We Americans are laughed at around the world for losing a hundred and fifty billion dollars year after year, for defending wealthy nations for nothing, nations that would be wiped off the face of the earth in about 15 minutes if it weren’t for us. Our ‘allies’ are making billions screwing us."[357] Trump has called for allied countries, including Japan, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Israel, to pay the United States for helping protect their nations.[358][359][360][361]


In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump argued that European countries used NATO as a pathway to place the burden of international responsibility on the United States while "their conflicts are not worth American lives. Pulling back from Europe would save this country millions of dollars annually."[362]

Donald Trump called for a "rethink" of American involvement in NATO, stating that the United States pays too much to ensure the security of allies, stating that "NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we're protecting Europe with NATO, but we're spending a lot of money".[363] Later in the same interview on CNN in March 2016, he clarified his position, stating that the US should not decrease its role, rather decrease US spending in regards to the organization.[364] Based on his previous statements, the Annenberg Public Policy Center's FactCheck.org has assessed that Trump might be willing to leave NATO unless changes are made to the alliance.[365]

Relations with Britain

Trump has said that if elected president, he would be unlikely "to have a very good relationship" with British Prime Minister David Cameron, citing Cameron's criticism of him.[55][366] Trump subsequently said "I'm sure I'll have a good relationship with him."[55]

Trump has expressed support for United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union.[367][368] In an interview with Piers Morgan in May 2016, Trump said that UK withdrawal would make no difference to a potential bilateral trade deal between the UK and the United States if he became president: "I am going to treat everybody fairly but it wouldn't make any difference to me whether they were in the EU or not....You would certainly not be back of the queue, that I can tell you."[369]


Trump has criticized the international nuclear agreement with Iran (negotiated with the U.S. and five other world powers) that was made in 2015, calling it "terrible" and saying that the Obama administration negotiated the agreement "from desperation."[370] Trump later said that the U.S. was a "dumb son of a bitch" for agreeing to the deal.[371] Trump opposed the sanctions relief in the agreement, saying: "we're giving them billions of dollars in this deal, which we shouldn't have given them. We should have kept the money."[370]

In opposing the Iran agreement, Trump cited four American prisoners being held prisoner in the country.[370] When the four prisoners were released in January 2016, after the agreement went into effect, Trump claimed credit for the release.[372]

In September 2015, Trump told CNN that he believed the agreement would compel the U.S. to side with Iran in the event of war: "There's something in the Iran deal that people I don't think really understand or know about, and nobody's able to explain it, that if somebody attacks Iran, we have to come to their defense. So if Israel attacks Iran, according to that deal, I believe the way it reads [...] that we have to fight with Iran against Israel."[373] Trump's statement is based on his interpretation of a provision in the agreement that "the U.S. and other partners are prepared, as appropriate, to cooperate with training to strengthen Iran's ability to protect against and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage". The Obama administration disagrees with this interpretation.[374]

In August 2015, Trump had said that despite opposing the content of the deal, he would attempt to enforce it rather than abrogate it.[375] In a speech to AIPAC in March 2016, however, Trump said that his "number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran."[376]

When questioned on his "new deal with Iran" Trump responded that "Iran is doing nuclear. They're going nuclear." He would "put on the sanctions big league. I'd double and triple up the sanctions and make a deal from strength."[348] According to Trump, nuclear weapons, not global warming, is the world's biggest problem.[348] Trump said that any deal will Iran should stipulate that inspectors have 24-hour-a-day access immediately to all nuclear sites and made reference to U.S. nationals imprisoned the country.[370]

Israel and Israeli–Palestinian conflict

In 1983, Trump was awarded Israel's Tree of Life award by the Jewish National Fund for long-standing contributions to US-Israel relations.[377] Trump lent his personal jet to New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani so that the latter could show solidarity for terror victims in Israel in 2001, and Trump was the grand marshal of the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York in 2004.[378] Trump has been a popular figure in Israel, where his name has been used to sell products such as vodka.[379] Trump has formerly owned land in Israel, having purchased the Elite Tower site for $44 million.[380]

In 2006, Trump said that Israel was one of his favorite countries, adding: "I know that you've been through a lot recently... I believe Israel is a great country."[381] Trump released a video endorsing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the 2013 Israeli election.[382][383]

In 2015, Trump accepted the Liberty Award at the Second Annual Algemeiner Jewish 100 Gala in honor of his contributions to Israel–United States relations, saying: "We love Israel, we will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1000 percent, it will be there forever."[384][385]

In December 2015, Trump told the Associated Press that the achievement of an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord would depend very much upon Israel. Trump said that he had "a real question as to whether or not both sides want" peace and that: "A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal — whether or not Israel's willing to sacrifice certain things."[386]

After Trump proposed in December 2015 to temporarily exclude Muslims from travel to the United States, numerous world leaders, including Netanyahu, criticized Trump's proposal.[387] Netanyahu released a statement saying: "The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens."[387]

Several dozen members of the Knesset (Israeli parliament), many of whom are Muslim themselves, signed a petition urging Netanyahu not to meet with Trump later that month.[388] The following day, Trump postponed his visit to Israel until "a later date after I become President of the U.S."[389] stating that he did not want to put Netanyahu "under pressure."[387]

Trump said that he would not take sides in any Israeli-Palestinian agreement in order to be a neutral negotiator in the peace talks despite also adding that he is "totally pro-Israel".[390]

At a press conference in March 2016, Trump said that as president, he would require U.S. allies to pay the U.S. back for the defense spending and foreign aid that the U.S. has spent on their behalf. When specifically asked whether his previously stated stance on charging U.S allies for defense spending would extend to Israel, he replied "I think Israel would do that also. There are many countries that can pay, and they can pay big-league."[391] However, immediately after the press conference, Trump reversed himself on that position of aid to Israel, adding, "They [Israel] help us greatly."[392]

Trump has said on more than one occasion that if elected president he will move the U.S. embassy in Israel from its current site in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he described as the "eternal capital of the Jewish people."[393][394] In an earlier speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition, Trump had refused to say whether he supports Israel's position that Jerusalem is its undivided capital.[386]

Trump has vowed that, if elected president, he will veto a United Nations-imposed Israel-Palestine peace agreement, stating: "When I'm president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the U.N. to impose its will on the Jewish state. It will be vetoed 100 percent."[393] He added that "The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable."[393]

Trump has criticized the Palestinian Authority for the absence of peace, saying: "the Palestinian Authority has to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. ... and they] have to stop the terror, stop the attacks, stop the teaching of hatred... They have to stop the teaching of children to aspire to grow up as terrorists, which is a real problem. Of course, the recognition of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state is also a major sticking point, with the current Palestinian leadership repeatedly refusing to meet that basic condition."[395]

In a break with long-standing bipartisan U.S. policy, Trump supports continued construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, saying in May 2016 that Israel "has to keep going" and that "there shouldn't be a pause" in construction.[396] Ynetnews noted: "If elected, Trump's seemingly broad support of settlement development would constitute a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy, as both Democratic and Republican U.S. presidents have stated in the past that the settlements are illegal and no further building in them should be allowed."[396]


Trump was a strong supporter of the 2011 military intervention in Libya, arguing "fervently" on a number of occasions that U.S. military intervention was necessary to advert humanitarian disaster in Libya and warning that it would be "a major, major black eye for this country [the U.S.]" if it failed to depose Gaddafi.[397][398] In a February 2011 video blog, Trump said: "I can't believe what our country is doing. Qaddafi in Libya is killing thousands of people, nobody knows how bad it is, and we're sitting around we have soldiers all have the Middle East, and we're not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage ... Now we should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick."[398] Trump made similar comments in a March 2011 appearance on Piers Morgan Tonight.[398] In 2011, Trump also advocated US seizure of Libyan oil.[399]

While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump reversed his earlier position, stating on several occasions that the U.S. would be "so much better off" or "100% better off" if Gaddafi remained in charge of Libya.[400][401] At a Republican primary debate in February 2016, Trump claimed that he "never discussed" the Libyan intervention at the time it occurred; Politifact noted that this assertion was "patently inaccurate" and gave it its "Pants on Fire" rating.[400]

In May 2016, Trump suggested that the United States should bomb ISIS in Libya.[402]

In 2009, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi rented space through intermediaries on a Seven Springs estate in the suburb of Bedford, New York that was owned by Donald Trump in order to camp in a "Bedouin-style" tent while in the U.S. to attend the UN General Assembly. The situation created controversy when the tents were raised on the property, and Trump forced Gaddafi off the property saying that he was unaware of the arrangement.[403][404][405] In 2011, Trump told Fox News that he had "screwed" Gaddafi on the deal, touting the affair as evidence of foreign-policy experience.[404]

North Korea

Trump has advocated placing greater pressure on China, including through restrictions on trade, to rein in its ally North Korea in the wake of the 2016 North Korea nuclear test,[406] saying that China has "total control" over North Korea[406] and the U.S. has "tremendous" economic power over China.[407]

Trump described North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-un as a "maniac" but also claimed that Kim deserves "credit" for being able to overcome his rivals in order to succeed his father.[408]

Trump has "declined to share details of his plans to deal with North Korea"[55] but has said that he would be willing to meet Kim, saying that he would have "no problem" doing so.[55][407] An editorial in North Korean state media hailed Trump as a "wise politician" and "far-sighted presidential candidate" who could be good for North Korea.[409] The editorial suggested that a statement from Trump that he did not want to get involved in any conflict between North and South Korea was "fortunate from North Koreans' perspective".[409]


Trump has been critical of Pakistan, comparing it to North Korea, calling it "probably the most dangerous country" in the world, and claiming that Pakistan's nuclear weapons posed a "serious problem." He has advocated improving relations with India as a supposed "check" to Pakistan.[410]

Russia and China

Trump criticized former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev as not having a firm enough hand controlling Russia and mentioned China for effectively handling the situation during the Tiananmen Square massacre as horrible but "shows you the power of strength".[411]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised Trump, saying: "He is a very colorful and talented man, no doubt about that." (Putin used the Russian word яркий (yarkii), meaning "bright" in the sense of colorful, vivid, or flamboyant).[412][413] Trump called the praise a great honor and shrugged off allegations of Putin's alleged assassination of journalists and dissidents by saying that Putin is "running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country."[414] Russian state TV has backed Trump, hailing him as an "anti-establishment" candidate who is ready to co-operate with Moscow.[415]


In July 2015 Trump opposed U.S. involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, describing the Crimea as "Europe's problem."[416] In August 2015 Trump stated he "did not care" about Ukrainian membership in NATO,[169] saying that both membership and non-membership would be "great."[362]

Speaking to the Yalta European Strategy conference in September 2015, Trump criticized Germany and other European countries for not doing enough to support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, saying, Ukrainians are "not being treated right."[169] He also claimed that because of Russian President Putin did not respect President Obama Russia had pursued an aggressive policy in Ukraine.[362]

In March 2016 Trump again claimed that Germany and other NATO countries "they're not doing anything" while the U.S. was "doing all of the lifting" even though "Ukraine is a country that affects us far less than it affects other countries in Nato".[417]



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