He has yet to officially begin his presidency, but President-Elect Donald Trump has already reached nearly a dozen U-turns on policy promises that featured prominently in his campaign.
His pledges were controversial, but granted his campaign the support of voters who thought that only the most radical of changes from the establishment presented the solution to the problems they face. Hailed as an outspoken radical, in the days following his historic success Donald Trump has already begun to backtrack.
Obamacare has faced strong opposition within the Republican Party from its inception. Trump pledged to ditch the policy, claiming it to be a “catastrophe” which would be abandoned “very quickly”. Despite such a strong sentiment, Trump has now suggested that he might simply reform it. Citing President Obama’s own persuasion as an explanation as to why he might not dismantle it entirely, Trump has said he may instead look at “amending” the Affordable Care Act “out of respect” for the sitting President.
Trump repeatedly assured supporters that he would pursue the prosecution of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, insisting that her use of a private email server was a scandal “bigger than Watergate”. Chants of “lock her up” were present at rallies, but it seems that this was another empty promise as Trump has revealed post-election that it is not something he has “given a lot of thought”.
One of his most controversial pledges was a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”. The pledge was removed from the campaign’s website, with no specific reference to Muslim citizens remaining. In its place, Trump’s plan on foreign policy and defeating ISIS promises a ‘temporary’ suspension on ‘immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions’ with a ‘history of exporting terrorism’.
Trump’s Mexico Wall is arguably one of the most radical plans he promised during his campaign, noted by The Independent to be possibly the greatest symbol of his uncompromising approach. Despite his constant references to the wall, Trump adviser and former House speaker Newt Gingrich reduced it to being “a great campaign device”, casting doubt on whether it would be pursued at all.
Donald Trump’s election can be seen as a victory for middle class white workers who sought radical change, but time will only tell if the numerous divisive pledges that characterised his campaign will also be a significant characterisation of his Presidency.