EDITORIAL: Changing the nation or just his mind?

President-elect’s shifting stances suggest uncertainty


The 2016 presidential election was surprising in many ways. However, for most people the most shocking factor came after President-elect Donald Trump secured the presidency. Trump’s supporters and his opposition alike are scratching their heads at some of the decisions the future president are making already. Trump, who established his campaign upon concrete platforms, seems to be considering swaying slightly in some of his stances.

One of Donald Trump’s biggest promises on his campaign trail was the “full repeal of Obamacare.” He spoke of its tremendous strain on the economy and how he would be repealing and replacing it entirely. But in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump has stated that rather than repeal the Affordable Care Act completely, he wants to amend it instead. In fact, he plans to keep two provisions from the health care law: insurers cannot deny patients healthcare because of their existing conditions and also that parents can continue to provide healthcare coverage to their children for an extended period of time. Although these provisions have been argued to be necessary because of the otherwise loss of healthcare coverage for 20 million people, Trump’s shift from a rigid position to a more accommodating one was unanticipated.

The same man who decorated his campaign speeches with enthusiastic shouts of “Lock her up!” — in reference to former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — is now asserting that her investigation isn't something he has “given a lot of thought (to).” This originally criminalizing rhetoric toward Clinton fueled ardent support from Trump’s followers and is now another “promise” that has been pushed to the background and replaced with Trump’s confusing assertion that “we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.” It is understandable that the future leader of the free world should be civilized to his opponent in his acceptance speech, however the shift in discourse is drastic.

The same can be said about Trump’s dealings with undocumented immigrants. One of Trump’s most famous slogans during his campaign trail was “Build a wall,” which was followed by his promise that Mexico would pay for it. His supporters adopted the motto immediately and celebrated Trump’s authority and immediate action against the proclaimed “drugs,” “crimes” and “rapists” that he asserted Mexico was pushing into the United States. But recently, these views have changed. Trump now states that a one-time payment from Mexico of $5 billion for a wall (or fence as he now suggests) that will cost $24 billion would suffice. He has also stated that rather than deport all undocumented immigrants, he plans to deport the 2-3 million undocumented immigrants that he says are involved in criminal activity. The remainder of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, he states, will be left to later deliberation, considering that some of these were “terrific people” with no outstanding criminal records.

Slowly but surely, Trump is reconsidering his political stances on issues that he was once definite in. Whether these shifts are subtle (such as his refusal to comment on the “Muslim ban” that was removed and reinstated to his website) or rather conspicuous (such as his holding of an LGBTQ flag at one of his rallies after stating countless times that he believes in same-sex marriage being a states’ issue), Trump is proving to be more fluid above anything else.

Even though he has not been inaugurated yet, Trump’s presidency is coming with an air of uncertainty, leaving people questioning whether he even has a firm set of beliefs that are his own or if he has simply shifted his viewpoints to appeal to his voters. This also speaks volumes about much of the American people. The figure of Donald Trump as President, which has been a cause of outrage and fear, may not be the main issue of concern. Rather, those who do not support his views should relocate their fears to the political stances of his Republican-dominant Congress as well as the intolerance of some of his avid supporters, whose idealities are more concrete than Trump's own.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 148th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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