POLITICS

There Is No Trump Pivot

At least not yet.

16/11/2016 10:51 AM AEDT | Updated 16/11/2016 10:51 AM AEDT
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Just as they did during his campaign, Republicans insist that President-elect Donald Trump will “pivot” and moderate his proposals and rhetoric when he takes office. On Monday, even President Barack Obama said he believes Trump “recognizes that campaigning is different from governing” and that “ultimately, he is pragmatic.”

But so far, Trump has provided little evidence that confirms this wishful thinking. In the week since his election, he has done more to affirm his core campaign promises than assuage concerns about his presidency, and even his deviations from his campaign platform are not providing solace for his opponents.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
During the campaign, Trump said: "I am who I am."

Nowhere is that more apparent than in the stomach-turning list of potential Trump Cabinet officials and senior staffers. His pledge to “drain the swamp” has resulted in a slew of lobbyists angling for administration positions, former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin rumored as a candidate for treasury secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary, drawing the ire of progressives like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

While Trump had showed signs of anti-interventionism, the leading contenders for secretary of state are war hawk John Bolton and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Other names being floated for Trump’s administration include Sarah Palin as secretary of the interior, climate change denier Myron Ebell as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and immigration hardliners Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) for attorney general.

Here are more signs that Trump isn’t pivoting:

Trump hired the executive chairman of Breitbart News to be his chief strategist.

On Sunday, Trump’s transition team announced that Steve Bannon would serve as Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor in the White House, meaning that a man who ran a website that espouses white nationalist and anti-Semitic views and serves as a mouthpiece for the so-called “alt-right” movement would have the ear of the president.

Trump and his aides claimed “professional protesters” are behind the anti-Trump demonstrations in dozens of U.S. cities.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani also claimed they were “professional protesters” on Sunday and accused them of “exaggerating their fears of a Donald Trump presidency.”

Trump plans to deport or imprison up to 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records as soon as he takes office.

“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Trump said in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday. “But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.”

Immigration experts say this figure is outlandish.

Trump also affirmed that he stands by his signature campaign proposal: building a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border. (He later elaborated that “for certain areas,” a fence would be fine.)

“I’m very good at this. It’s called construction,” he said.

Trump said he would appoint “pro-life judges” to the Supreme Court and that abortion should be left to the states to decide.

Referring to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed a woman’s right to an abortion, the president-elect said, “If it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states.”

When CBS anchor Lesley Stahl asked how women would get abortions if Roe v. Wade were repealed, Trump replied: “Yeah, well, they’ll perhaps have to go, they’ll have to go to another state.”

Trump claimed the media “built up” reports of racist incidents that have occurred since his election.

Since last week, some organizations that track hate crimes have reported an increase in racist and bigoted attacks surpassing the period immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

But Trump claimed he was unaware of these incidents and accused the media of overstating them, suggesting there were only “a small amount.”

“I think it’s built up by the press, because, frankly, they’ll take every single little incident that they can find in this country, which could’ve been there before ― if I weren’t even around doing this ― and they’ll make it into an event, because that’s the way the press is,” he said.

He did address his supporters, telling them to “stop it, if it helps.”

Trump won’t rule out appointing a special prosecutor for Hillary Clinton.

During his campaign, Trump threatened to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, for using a private email server while she was secretary of state. At a debate, he told Clinton that she “would be in jail” if he became president.

Asked on Sunday whether he would follow through on one of his major lines of attack against Clinton, whom he had repeatedly referred to as “Crooked Hillary,” Trump said he would not rule it out.

“I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to think about it,” he said, adding that he would give “a very, very good and definitive answer the next time we do ‘60 Minutes’ together.”

Trump did call the Clintons “good people,” saying, “I don’t want to hurt them.”

And he’s still tweeting. 

In the last weeks of his campaign, Trump’s staff controlled his access to his Twitter account and edited tweets before posting them. But now Trump’s tweeting again, seemingly bothered that he didn’t win the popular vote and railing against the “dishonest” media.

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