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15 Things Trump Got Right (Before Changing His Mind)
Things Trump Got Right
The old saying tells us a broken clock is still right twice a day. President Donald Trump should be so lucky. But as it happens, even a president with a remarkable record of lying manages to get it right every now and then -- if only for a minute or two. Somehow even those moments become fleeting as he scoots away from solid ground, but lest he think we didn't notice, here's a list of times Trump actually got it right for a change.
Protecting Gay Rights
Back in the early days of Trump pondering a run for president -- as in back in the year 2000 when he considered a Reform Party candidacy -- Trump actually sat down with The Advocate and espoused a number of pro-LGBT positions, like promising an expansion of the Civil Rights Act to grant protections to gay Americans similar to those rights enjoyed by racial minorities. Of course, that was all before he put homophobe Jeff Sessions in charge of the Justice Department, which last July declared federal civil rights protections don't cover sexual orientation. To be fair, the Trump administration seems so intent on stripping back civil rights protections for everyone that maybe similar protections will come about anyhow, just not the way decent people hoped.
Credit where due, Trump in that Advocate interview even spoke about how intolerance led to the death of Matthew Shepard. Noting one of his sons was about the same age as Shepard, he called then for hate-crimes legislation, and criticized then-Gov. George W. Bush for failing to sign such a law into effect in Texas. "When somebody is victimized because of their ethnicity, the color of their skin, or their sexual orientation," he told The Advocate, "that must carry a harsh penalty." (Wonder what the president today would tweet about that guy.) Such compassion seems a distant memory now, but his tough talk on terror at the Republican National Convention did include the assertion that gay people shouldn't be murdered by terrorists, becoming the first GOP nominee to promise to "protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology." A low bar, for sure, but it's something.
Pricing the World Trade Center
We'll grant him this. The guy knows the cost of building up major real estate in New York City. Shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he spoke to German journalists about what it would cost to clear and rebuild on the site of the World Trade Center. He estimated about $15 billion to $20 billion, and while winning bidders would predict a $10 billion cost, the final price tag came in around $14.8 billion, much closer to Trump's estimate. He also managed to douse some crazy 9/11 truther conspiracies by pointing out that 1,600-degree temperatures indeed will melt steel beams. Heck, his expertise on high-rise construction makes us really wish he'd stuck with his day job.
Universal Health Care
Putting aside hyperbole about Obamacare, Donald Trump for some time, straight into his Republican candidacy for president, repeatedly offered support for a universal health care plan. "Everybody will be taken care of," he promised on CBS. He explained even with the government paying for all health insurance there would be cost savings -- which a New York Times investigation suggests is true. Of course, in office he backed a plan that will insure 8.9 million fewer people and cost $33 billion more to do so. But we can always think back to what candidate Trump could have done for our medical bills if only he meant anything he said.
Considering an Assault Weapons Ban
It didn't last long, but for one day in February, about two weeks after the shooting in Parkland, Fla., claimed 17 lives, President Trump broke with the National Rifle Association and supported a conversation on banning the sale and manufacture of assault-style weapons. As we know, that didn't last long, but he did stick to measures like increasing the age to purchase guns and banning bump stocks like the one used to turn weapons in the Las Vegas shooting into fully automatic killing machines.
For a moment in April of 2016, the Republican front-runner for president seemed to sharply rebuke a North Carolina law, still the most notorious of several so-called bathroom bills limiting the access of trans people to restroom facilities meeting their identified gender. "There have been very few complaints the way it is," he said at a Today town hall. "People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate, there has been so little trouble." Problem is he started back-pedaling immediately, feeding Sean Hannity a line about states' rights a day later. By the time he got into the White House, Trump was willing to rescind Obama-era protections on bathroom and locker room access for trans students.
While President Trump abandoned many of his moderate political positions along the way, he still seems to have a soft spot for young parents. Maybe it's because this has been an Ivanka Trump priority, but Trump's budget this year calls for six weeks of paid leave for new mothers and fathers, including parents who adopt, according to CNBC. There's still no clarity on how this will affect same-sex parents, however, and funding will be left to the states.
Storm Relief Funding
After a series of hurricanes savaged Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, Trump actually sided with Democrats on a deal to pass hurricane relief funding, as reported by The Washington Post. That's not to say administration hurricane recovery efforts measure up, particularly in Puerto Rico. But even when a surprising number of Republican lawmakers seemed content to let weather-stuck communities fend for themselves, the president supported funding efforts. It seems he's always willing to find his checkbook when things get stormy.
The War in Iraq
There's that quote on The Howard Stern Show, but for the most part, Trump has maintained for some time that the war in Iraq was a bad move, calling it the "single worst decision ever made" as recently as March, reported HuffPost. He's been heavily critical of the weak intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and in fact used the failed war in the Republican primary in 2016 to bludgeon the Bush administration -- and by proxy then-opponent Jeb Bush -- before winning in pro-military South Carolina, as noted by CNN. It's been one of his longest-standing positions that stands in opposition to GOP orthodoxy, though there's reason for concern here, as the Steve Bannon camp seemed to be the ones keeping neocons out of the White House, and now Trump has made room for such a war hawk as John Bolton.
Raising the Minimum Wage
While he's not going to join the Fight for $15 anytime soon, Trump has said the $7.25 federal minimum wage in place as of this writing falls short of where it needs to be. In July 2016, months after saying he'd leave wage laws to the states, Trump announced support for a $10-an-hour federal minimum wage, a flip-flop but a clear stance, as noted by Politifact. Of course, it would be nice if he did anything about it now that he's president. It's been about 10 years since the wage changed at all. Since 1938, only three presidents have not seen a wage increase pass during their time in office. Wouldn't Trump like to stay off a list of shame that somehow includes Barack Obama?
China is cheating
While President Twitter-rant has handled a prospective trade war with depressingly predictable levels of sloppiness and incompetence, it's worth remembering he's right that China screws over U.S. manufacturers with unapologetic gumption. As Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey recently noted in The Hill, the Chinese government artificially props up production there to create an excess of underpriced steel and aluminum, hurting businesses stateside. Whether Trump boasts the deftness to even the playing field without causing a global recession may be a different story, but there's no denying who gets the short end of the import-export game right now, and China doesn't gain its advantage by playing fair.
Wall Street Got Away With Murder
Stop if this sounds familiar. A presidential candidate sails into office on a message that Wall Street hurts regular Americans, then forgets to do anything about it once moving in at Pennsylvania Avenue. Well, candidate Trump proposed breaking up the big banks and putting higher taxes on Wall Street. The message didn't stick, and Trump in his first 100 days filled his Cabinet with Goldman Sachs loyalists during a striking embrace of the finance giants, as noted by CNN.
Washington Is a Swamp
The day Trump reluctantly signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill, he lambasted Congress for rushing a bloated bill that nobody possible could have read. The bill would grow the debt and deficit chock full of the type of deals that make voters wary of Washington. While his threats of a veto inevitably proved empty, it's always worth remembering that when Trump decries Washington as seedy and shady, he's not wrong.
U.S. Presidential Elections Are Broken
The irony's obvious. Trump, a man who became president after losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, spent the greater part of 2016 complaining how "rigged" the system was. Funny thing is, he had some points. Both parties employ weird and inconsistent rules for assigning delegates. The Electoral College, as he noted in 2012, is a "disaster for a democracy." The Democrats have as convoluted a selection process as the GOP. And Bernie Sanders probably never did have a chance against a more entrenched opponent. With a system this broken, it's no shock a reality television star managed to win a place in the White House despite disgusting a majority of Americans.