As Trump Turns to the General Election, He Flip Flops on Policy
Election 2016

As Trump Turns to the General Election, He Flip Flops on Policy

© Jim Urquhart / Reuters

It only took a few days after Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for the contradictions on policy and politics to begin on Sunday.

The billionaire, a verbal chameleon on the campaign trail with the ability to contradict himself -- sometimes within the same sentence -- provided a window into the kind of inconsistencies that voters could expect to pile up before Election Day in November.

Related: Is Trump Pushing the GOP Toward a Civil War?

For starters, Trump walked back his proposal to cut taxes for all Americans, saying he expects to raise taxes on the wealthy. "By the time it gets negotiated, it's going to be a different plan," Trump said on ABC's This Week.

The mogul previously outlined a plan to cut the tax rate for top income earners from 39.6 percent to 25 percent. But now Trump expects that to change.

"They're going down. But by the time it's negotiated, they'll go up," Trump said. "Look, when I'm negotiating with the Democrats, I'm putting in a plan. I'm putting in my optimum plan. It's going to be negotiated, George. It's not going to stay there.”

"I will try and keep everything," he added. "What I really want is lower on business, because business, we're the highest-taxed nation in the world. And I want lower on the middle class.”

Related: Trump Would Risk 'Full Faith and Credit of the US’

Throughout the toxic GOP primary, Trump was firmly against raising the minimum wage, though he appears to be changing on that as well. "I am looking at it, and I haven't decided in terms of numbers. But I think people have to get more," Trump said.

"Sure, it's a change. I'm allowed to change," he added. "But my real minimum wage is going to be — I'm going to bring companies back into this country, and they're going to make a lot more than the $15 even."

He offered another interpretation on NBC’s Meet the Press, citing his travels on the campaign trail. “I have seen what's going on,” the billionaire said. “And I don't know how people make it on $7.25 an hour. Now, with that being said, I would like to see an increase of some magnitude. But I'd rather leave it to the states. Let the states decide.”

It’s doubtful that Trump will suffer politically from these apparent flip-flops; he’s shown an uncanny ability to avoid accusations of pandering, or indecisiveness, that traditionally have torpedoed White House hopefuls in the past – flummoxing his opponents, on both sides of the aisle.

But while Trump can forget his own contradictory statements, it’s clear that when it comes to politics, he has the memory of an elephant.

Related: GOP Chief: This Isn’t Donald Trump’s Party

The frontrunner attacked vanquished GOP rivals, Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, for refusing to back him even though they signed a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee.

“Jeb Bush signed a pledge. A binding pledge,” Trump said on NBC, “Lindsey Graham signed a binding pledge that they would endorse. That they would support and endorse. That's what it says. Now they're breaking. You know, that's a question of honor.”

The charge is a little like the pot calling the kettle black, considering Trump, who signed the same pledge, dangled the possibility of trashing it and running as a third party candidate several times – though he remembers it differently.

“No, no, no. I didn't back away. In fact, one of the reasons I didn't back away is that I happen to be -- despite what a few people think -- I happen to be a very honorable guy. I signed a pledge. And that's a binding pledge. You know, I heard, "It's not binding." Well, it is a binding pledge. I have the best lawyers in the world. They say it's an absolutely binding pledge. And I intended it to be binding,” he said.

And don’t even get him started on 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is being talked about as a possible independent candidate.

“What happened is I was rough on Mitt because I didn't think they treated me properly. I helped him, really helped him. Gave him a lot of money. Helped him with robocalls. Every single robocall I made, he won that state. Every single speech I made, he won the state, in terms of the primaries,” according to Trump who again insisted the carpet in his apartment had been ruined by the fundraisers he hosted Romney.

“He was ungrateful. Which is okay. A lot of people are ungrateful. But he was ungrateful,” he later added.