President Donald Trump has reversed himself on at least six major issues this week, pulling back on long-held promises supported by his base.
Four of these reversals alone came in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Wednesday:
Trump said the Chinese are “not currency manipulators.” Just last week, he said they were “world champions” of currency manipulation, and he pledged throughout his campaign to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office. He tweeted in 2012 that President Barack Obama’s failure to call China a currency manipulator “helped China steal even more jobs and money from us.”
Trump said, “I do like a low interest-rate policy.” During his campaign, he excoriated the Federal Reserve for keeping rates low, and said in 2011 that the policy would lead to hyperinflation.
Trump said he was open to the idea of reappointing Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve. On the campaign trail, he said he would “most likely” replace her. “I like her, I respect her,” Trump told the Journal at the time.
Trump said he supported the Export-Import Bank, noting that small companies are “really helped” by the institution. During the campaign, he said the bank was unnecessary.
On each of these issues, Trump’s turnabout puts him in lockstep with the Washington economic policy consensus. And in each case, Trump is walking away ― at least for now ― from the heterodox views he expressed during the campaign. This week’s reversals follow his shift on Syria last week, when Trump fired cruise missiles at an airbase after repeatedly saying he opposed U.S. involvement in the country’s civil war.
Also on Wednesday, Trump reversed his position on NATO, telling reporters, “They made a change and now they do fight terrorism. I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.”
It is rare for Trump to admit he is changing positions. During the campaign, for example, he insisted he had opposed the Iraq War before the 2003 U.S. invasion, even though he supported it during a radio interview at the time.
In an interview with Fox Business Network that was taped on Tuesday, Trump blasted Obama for not striking Syria in 2013 ― even though Trump repeatedly tweeted at the time that Obama should not do so.
In The Wall Street Journal interview, Trump also waded back into the debate over the relative value of the U.S. dollar, saying, “I think our dollar is getting too strong, and partially that’s my fault because people have confidence in me. But that’s hurting—that will hurt ultimately.”
Trump said the dollar was too strong in January, prompting it to fall.
Before Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned for his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the campaign, Trump called Flynn at 3 A.M. to ask whether a strong dollar or weak dollar is better for the U.S. economy. (The answer is, it depends: A strong dollar hurts domestic manufacturers that Trump says he wants to champion and helps consumers; a weak dollar generally has the opposite effect.)