Obamacare, Climate Change: Donald Trump’s U-turns and counting

It's been two weeks since Trump had a staggering win, but now we see him slowly retracting on some of his prominent, foundational promises that formed the spine of his campaign.

Written by Radhika Iyengar | New Delhi | Published: November 25, 2016 11:58:49 am
trump-the-generals-759 It’s been two weeks since Trump had a staggering win, but now we see him slowly retracting on some of his prominent, foundational promises that formed the spine of his campaign. (AP Photo)

When Donald Trump became the President-elect, the world was convinced that he is going to put all his policies proposed during his controversial, notorious campaign into effect. In fact, we even did a story (http://bit.ly/2fDduyZ) on how Trump would do everything in his power to keep his supporters – those who catapulted into the forefront of the US elections – happy. It’s been two weeks since Trump had a staggering win, but now we see him slowly retracting on some of his prominent, foundational promises that formed the spine of his campaign. A considerable portion of his promises and attacks against his rivals which brazenly hung as gleaming trophies in the background of his campaign, are now one-by-one being unhooked, bubble wrapped and boxed into darkness. Here is a snapshot of the U-turns Trump has made since the day he got elected:

Obamacare — “repeal and replace” and now retract: Throughout the election race, Trump has been vocal about his disdain for Obamacare — Obama’s healthcare initiative — calling it a “disaster”. During the election race, he addressed a crowd of supporters: “And I can say all of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare… You look at what they’re going through with their health care, it’s horrible because of Obamacare. So we’ll repeal it and replace it.”

Three days into his transition however, he said that he’d like to retain certain parts of Obamacare, which included that insurers would not be allowed to refuse coverage to any patient on the basis of his/her current health condition. He would also retain the feature that allows additional coverage on insurance policies for children.

Climate Change: Donald Trump is notorious for his views on climate change, when he called it a “hoax” conjured up by China.


He had promised to withdraw from The Paris Agreement, an international climate accord that keeps a check on global warming. It was a statement Trump should have never made, but he did. However, recently he detracted from his vow saying that he had an “open mind to it”. He also agreed to the fact that there was indeed “some connectivity” between global warming and human activity.

Locking up Hillary Clinton: In one of the Presidential debates, Trump had pledged to put his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton into prison if he became President. This was with reference to Clinton’s private emails controversy. It was a shocking, jaw-dropping statement that left many gasping and fueled more support from those who backed him. In fact, on the day Trump was announced the President-elect, his supporters huddled out on the streets and vehemently chanted, “Lock her up! Lock her up!”

However, in a recent meeting with The New York Times, Trump informed the paper that he no longer had any desire to go after Hillary Clinton. “I don’t want to hurt the Clintons,” he said. “I really don’t…She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways.”

His views on The New York Times: On his Twitter page, which has been infamous for some terrifying Trump-isms, the President-elect recently went all out at berating one of the country’s most respected papers. In one of his attacks, he prefixed the newspaper’s name with ‘failing’.

On November 22, 2016 he tweeted, “I cancelled today’s meeting with the failing @nytimes when the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment. Not nice.” Fifteen minutes later he added, “Perhaps a new meeting will be set up with the @nytimes. In the meantime they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone!”

However, Trump finally attended the meeting with The New York Times. There, in an attempt to whitewash all the jabs he had previously made against the paper, he said, “I just appreciate the meeting and I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It’s very special. Always has been very special.”

Right when you thought he could not get more saccharine, Trump called the paper a “great, great American jewel. A world jewel” — and then neatly tied a bow on it: “And I hope we can all get along well.”

Trump’s stand on Obama: When the incoming President met the outgoing President at the White House, Trump told a crowd of reporters that he was looking forward to building a “long-term relationship” with Obama. Later, he confessed saying, “I didn’t know if I’d like him. I probably thought that maybe I wouldn’t, but I did. I really enjoyed him a lot.”

The political history between the two has been sullied by countless verbal attacks against each other. Trump was a fierce advocate of the birther movement and had once called Obama the “founder of ISIS”. In comparison, Obama who often referred to Trump as ‘The Donald’ had previously declared that the then Republican candidate to be “temperamentally unfit” to run for Presidency.

What do we make of Trump and his stance on issues? A demagogue, he rallied the masses by preying on their fears, making countless promises, some of which he is now having trouble keeping. If Trump backpedals on some of his core pledges today, what does that mean for his supporters who enthusiastically brought him to power? What does it mean for America? If he’s burying certain promises to rest now, can be presume that he won’t unearth them in the future? And what does all this mean for the world? His mercurial, idiosyncratic vacillation is disconcerting. In fact, it always has been. Even more so now as January 2017 draws closer.

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