Donald Trump's Biggest Policy Flip-Flops

Trump has managed to avoid taking firm positions on many issues — and when he's forced to do so, he abandons them, fast

"I never get too attached to one deal or one approach," Donald Trump wrote in 'The Art of the Deal,' foreshadowing how he'd behave years later as a presidential candidate. Credit: David McNew/AFP/Getty

In his 1987 book The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump wrote, "I never get too attached to one deal or one approach. ... I keep a lot of balls in the air, because most deals fall out, no matter how promising they seem at first."

The same could be said of Trump's political positions. Throughout the primary, Trump has mostly managed to avoid staking firm positions on important issues by speaking in general, hyperbolic and unspecific terms or even leaving his sentences half-completed. For example, when Trump was asked this weekend what the federal minimum wage would be under his administration, he answered, "My real minimum wage is going to be — I'm going to bring companies back into this country and they're going to make a lot more than the $15 even. They're going to make a lot more than that."

On occasions when Trump has been forced to nail down a position, he hasn't hesitated to abandon it — often in a hurry.As he focuses his attention on appealing to a wider audience ahead of the general election, Trump is flipping his past positions faster than ever, reversing himself on some of his signature proposals. 

On abortion
May 30, 2016: "The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment [for a woman seeking an abortion]."
May 30, 2016: "The doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb."

On assault weapons
January 15, 2000: "I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun."
September 19, 2016: "Opponents of gun rights try to come up with scary sounding phrases like 'assault weapons', 'military-style weapons' and 'high capacity magazines' to confuse people. What they're really talking about are popular semi-automatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned by tens of millions of Americans. Law-abiding people should be allowed to own the firearm of their choice. The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own."

On banning Muslims from entering the United States
December 7, 2015: "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
May 12, 2016: "It hasn't been called for yet. Nobody's done it. This is just a suggestion."

On raising the minimum wage
November 10, 2015: "Wages [are] too high. We're not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard, and they have to get into that upper stratum. But we cannot do this is if we are going to compete against the rest of the world. We just can't do it. ... I would not raise the minimum [wage]."
May 8, 2016: "I don't know how people make it on $7.25 an hour. Now, with that being said, I would like to see an increase of some magnitude. But I'd rather leave it to the states. … I like the idea of let the states decide. But I think people should get more. I think they're out there. They're working. It is a very low number. You know, with what's happened to the economy, with what's happened to the cost [of living]. I mean, it's just — I don't know how you live on $7.25 an hour."

On raising taxes on the wealthy
May 8, 2016: "For the wealthy, I think, frankly, it's going to go up. And you know what? It really should go up."
May 12, 2016: "I really want to keep taxes for everybody as low as possible. … When you start making them too high, you are going to lose people from the country, and oftentimes these are the people who create the jobs."

On self-financing his campaign
January 27, 2016: "I'm totally self-funding my campaign so I don't have to take donors and special interest people and lobbyists — I don't have to bring them in."
May 4, 2016: "I'll be putting up money, but won't be completely self-funding."

Watch presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump flip-flop support on various issues.