Throughout his highly controversial campaign, president-elect Donald Trump has made many contradictory claims and offered shaky stances on a variety of subjects. However, following his win, the soon-to-be president went back and revised a lot of his statements, a move that may have secured his election.
As a person, he is allowed to change his stance on any subject. As a presidential candidate, however, his fluctuating stances give the image of an uninformed and unprepared man who makes strongly opinionated claims without fully educating himself on the topics of which he speaks.
It is alarming to watch Trump change his opinion on his own statements within hours of having first made them. A president should be firm in his decisions and fully informed on the position he wants to take on any issue. A president who claims to support one decision, but changes his mind within days will never accomplish anything.
Trump was originally pro-abortion, but during his campaign his stance shifted to anti-abortion. Then Trump said that women should face “some form of punishment” for undergoing the procedure, if abortion does become illegal. Following negative backlash, Trump revised his statement again, saying that the doctors who perform abortions should be the ones punished. This statement is cause for alarm—women should not be punished for anything that they choose to do with their bodies, neither should the doctors who help them in times of need.
In February 2016, Trump presented himself as pro-torture. He wanted to bring back waterboarding and stronger methods of interrogation. Thankfully, last month the president-elect completely changed his stance on the topic. In an interview with The New York Times, he indicated that torture would not bring about any desired results. This change of stance is welcomed, since his previous idea was to bring back an inhumane and outdated method of punishment, but his constant fluctuation in ideas still stands.
One key point that convinced Trump supporters to vote for him was his strong stance on immigration. Trump steadfastly claimed he was going to build a wall along the southern border to prevent illegal entrance into the United States from Mexico.
He also said that he would deport around 11 million undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the United States. Trump’s stance then changed when he said that his views on immigration are actually far more flexible than people are convinced. He also let on that he was open to negotiation about the height of the wall. Now, Trump is saying that he would be open to putting up fencing along some parts of the southern border instead of a wall.
These changes in stances and policy allude to the idea that Trump is a master schemer who simply intended to gain popularity and win the election. This, however, is not the case. Trump is not smart enough to have schemed his way into the presidency. Rather, a blatant lack of preparation on the part of the president-elect may be responsible.
Trump has not done enough research on the topics that he is now expected to understand wholly, bringing many doubts as to how he will lead the country without a working knowledge of its many issues.
In an interview with CNN in October, Trump mistook Afghanistan with Iraq, labeling Afghanistan as a “terrible mistake” when he meant to say Iraq. He then retracted his statement saying that he was originally speaking about Iraq, despite the CNN anchor making it clear that he was talking about Afghanistan.
Other topics that Trump was seen flip-flopping on were gun control laws, a Muslim ban, his views on Hillary Clinton and his ideas about the electoral college. He either supported or did not support all of these at one point, only to change his views in later weeks.
This lack of steady ideas and the continuous tweaking of his statements is a warning for Trump to think more carefully before he speaks or posts anything online. It is also an indication that he needs to fully learn the topics about which he is speaking. A president who cannot even agree with himself will not make a president who can accomplish anything.
Hopefully, throughout the years of his presidency, Trump will revise many of the ideas and stances that have been harmful to the people of this country, while solidifying his ideas on existing topics so as not to perpetually change his views. As unwanted as a Trump presidency is, the best we can hope for at the moment is a president who has solid ideas people can argue against, instead of a president who spends his time contradicting and arguing with himself.