11 Baffling Times Trump Contradicted His Own Administration
Donald Trump has an interesting relationship with the truth. Between spreading false news on his personal Twitter account, accusing former President Barack Obama of tapping the phones in Trump tower, and making unsubstantiated claims about the crowd size at his Inauguration, Trump just can't seem to reconcile his message with a little thing called "reality." Unfortunately, he also can't seem to align his message with the official message of the White House. In the two short months since he has taken office, Trump has contradicted his own administration countless times, often about major policy issues and foreign policy decisions.
Trump's off-the-cuff tendency to say whatever is on his mind is largely what drew voters to him in the first place. Many working class Americans saw him as a welcome change from what they perceived as calculated, and disingenuous, polished politicians. But now that Trump has assumed the highest office in the country, his words affect the lives of millions, and his spontaneous remarks represent the entire nation. Trump's inability to restrain himself from regurgitating baseless online "news" articles has put him at odds with his own team, and has made it more and more difficult for the public to interpret what the official White House position is on important topics that affect everyday Americans.
Below are a few examples of Trump contradicting his own administration.
1. "Insurance For Everybody"
Trump has made numerous promises that his efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare would not result in Americans losing coverage. "We're going to have insurance for everybody," Trump said in January. "There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can't pay for it, you don't get it. That's not going to happen with us."
But as the GOP rolled out the proposal for the American Health Care Act last week, a nonpartisan investigation of the plan found that up to 24 million people could lose insurance in the next decade. White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has since taken quite a different tone from the President.
"What we've got now is we're forcing people to buy it under Obamacare under penalty of law," Mulvaney said in a statement on Sunday. "The only way to get truly universal care is to throw people in jail if they don't have it, and we're not going to do that."
Trump recently took to Twitter to accuse former President Barack Obama of wiretapping him during the presidential election. He then took things a step further by accusing Britain of assisting in the espionage.
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway seemed to back up the Trump's claims with her own theories about how common household items may have been turned into gadgets of surveillance. But House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, a member of the Trump transition team's executive committee, isn't buying it.
"Are you going to take the tweets literally?" Nunes said. "If you are, then clearly the president was wrong."
3. Military-Style Deportations
Trump has promised a tough stance on illegal immigration since he first announced his candidacy for president. Last month, he vowed to remove "really bad dudes" from the country in a "military operation." The White House quickly clarified that the military would not, in fact, be involved in any deportation raids.
"There will be no use of military forces in immigration," Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said. "None."
4. Media Coverage Of Terror Attacks
In an address at a military base earlier this year, Trump once again lampooned the "dishonest press," this time for what he described as their refusal to report on domestic terrorist attacks.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer later clarified that large-scale acts of violence "aren't exactly covered to a degree on which they should be," but have in fact, been covered by the media. The White House then released a list of 78 terror attacks that it felt didn't receive enough coverage. Many of the examples, like the Pulse night club shooting, received significant media attention.
5. Russian Sanctions
Trump has broken with decades of U.S. diplomatic norms by praising Russian President Vladimir Putin. As President-elect, Trump was skeptical of U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of the Ukraine. "Why would anybody have the sanctions if somebody's doing some really great things," Trump told the Wall Street Journal.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley sees things differently. "Crimea is a part of Ukraine," Haley said to the U.N. Security Council. "Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine."
6. Accepting Australia's Immigrants
In arguably one of the biggest foreign policy blunders of his presidency thus far, Trump somehow managed to strain U.S. relations with Australia just over a week into his presidency. Trump questioned an Obama-era agreement with Aussie Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that would resettle in the United States refugees being held in Australian detention centers, suggesting that he would find ways to thwart the resettlement.
Sean Spicer once again played damage control, confirming that the United States will honor the agreement as planned. "The president, in accordance with that deal, to honor what had been agreed upon by the U.S. government ... will go forward," Spicer said.
7. The Two-State Solution
Although the United States has supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for over 80 years, Trump again broke with decades of diplomatic tradition by expressing ambivalence about the peace plan. "I'm looking at two states and one state," Trump said in a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "I can live with either one."
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley was quick to state otherwise. "The two-state solution is what we support," Haley said.
7. China's Currency
Trump repeatedly promised throughout his presidential campaign that once in office — on his first day in office, in fact — he would officially label China a currency manipulator. This would mean that China intentionally artificially weakened the yuan to bring down the prices of the country's exports and would be subject to U.S. negotiations.
The Treasury has not considered China a currency manipulator since 1994, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sees no reason to change that just yet. "We have a process within Treasury where we go through and look at currency manipulation across the board," Mnuchin said on CNBC's Squawk Box. "And we're not making any judgments until we continue that process."
8. The Importance Of NATO
Trump has some serious qualms with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an alliance of 28 countries that provides a collective defense for member states and coordinates peacekeeping missions. Trump has called NATO "obsolete," and has threatened that the United States will stop fulfilling key obligations of the pact, like protecting allies from enemy attacks, if other member countries don't start paying bigger bucks.
But key members of Trump's cabinet feel differently. "If we didn't have NATO today, we would need to create it," Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said. "It is vital to our interests, and it is vital to the security of the United States."
Trump has already twice attempted to pass executive orders that would temporarily ban travel between the United States and several predominantly Muslim countries and temporarily halt refugees from entering the country. While the orders have been blocked by federal judges, Trump's message is clear: America is in danger and must be protected from the threats posed by refugees and immigrants.
But the Department of Homeland Security drafted a memo in February that directly contradicted this logic. The document, obtained by the Associated Press, states that citizens of the countries listed in Trump's travel ban are "rarely implicated in U.S. based terrorism," and that citizenship is "an unreliable indicator of terrorist threat to the U.S."
10. Climate Change
The tweet above speaks for itself. President Trump once expressed that global warming — a scientifically proven phenomenon that has long been an established truth within the scientific community — is a hoax that was created by the Chinese. He has also stated that he is "not a big believer in man-made climate change," and has selected a climate change denier, Scott Pruitt, to head the Environmental Protection Agency, which is tasked with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
But other members of Trump's cabinet are hoping to address the issue, including former ExxonMobil exec-turned-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "I think it's important that the U.S. maintain its seat at the table on the conversations around how to address the threats of climate change," Tillerson has said.
11. The Use Of Torture
Trump has made more than a few disturbing comments about torture in the past. In an interview with ABC News in January, Trump said that he "absolutely" believes that waterboarding is an effective interrogation technique, and in a GOP Debate last year, he said that if elected, he would support the banned torture method, and "a hell of a lot worse."
Aside from receiving a slew of international criticism, and further intensifying Trump's beef with war veteran and Senator John McCain, Trump's comments are inherently at odds with the position of his pick to head the CIA, Mike Pompeo. In his confirmation hearing last month, Pompeo said that the agency would "absolutely not" bring back the enhanced interrogation techniques that Trump promoted.
Trump proved during the campaign season that no amount of primping, priming, or preparing could keep him from what he does best: making outrageous statements. While the White House hasn't necessarily gotten on board with many of Trump's controversial claims, we have just under another four years to see if the administration will ever get on the same page.