Apr 16, 2017

9 things Trump flip-flopped on this week

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Last week, President Trump discussed one of his key traits: "I like to think of myself as a very flexible person." This week, his flexibility was on full display on everything from China, to NATO to his legislative priorities:

1. China's currency

Nov. 9, 2015 (WSJ Op-ed)

"On Day One of a Trump administration, the U.S. Treasury Department will designate China a currency manipulator."

Wednesday (WSJ interview)

"They're not currency manipulators."

2. Export/Import Bank

Aug. 26, 2015 (Bloomberg interview)

"I don't like it because I don't think it's necessary."

Wednesday (WSJ interview)

"It's a very good thing and actually it makes money."

3. NATO

January 15, 2017 (Bild interview)

"It's obsolete, first because it was designed many, many years ago. Secondly, countries aren't paying what they should."

Wednesday (Press conference)

"I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete."

4. Janet Yellen

May 5, 2016 (CNBC interview)

"When her time is up I would most likely replace because of the fact it would be appropriate."

Wednesday (WSJ interview)

Trump has "respect" for her and she's "not toast" when her term is up. He added, "I do like a low-interest rate policy, I must be honest with you."

5. National debt

April 2, 2016 (Washington Post interview)

Trump said he would eliminate the National Debt "over a period of eight years."

Wednesday (CNBC interview)

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney: "I think it's fairly safe to assume that was hyperbole."

6. Health care

March 24, 2017 (To reporters in Oval Office)

Trump says he's "moving on" from health care: "We will probably be going right now for tax reform."

Tuesday (Fox Business interview)

"We have to do health care first."

7. Tax reform

February 23, 2017 (CNBC interview)

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin: "We want to get this done by the August recess."

Wednesday (Fox Business interview)

"By putting a deadline, they say, 'Oh, Trump didn't make it…. I don't wanna put deadlines."

8. James Comey

July 5 (Twitter)

"FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem"

January 24

Trump asks Comey to stay on as FBI director.

Wednesday (Fox Business interview)

He said it was too late to fire him for not supporting his wiretapping claims. "We'll see what happens. You know, it's going to be interesting."

9. Russia

2016 campaign

Trump repeatedly defended Putin and praised his strong leadership in contrast to Obama's "weak" leadership.

Wednesday (New York Times)

"I think it's a very sad day for Russia because they're aligned, and in this case, all information points to Syria that they did this."

Honorable mentions:

Hiring freeze: In January, Trump signed an executive order implementing the hiring freeze, and on Wednesday, he lifted it.

Syria: In 2013, Trump repeatedly tweeted against invading Syria and for Obama getting Congressional approval before bombing. Last week, Trump signed off on the strikes to Syrian airfields without Congressional approval. This isn't a total flip-flop. Trump has been notably pro-bomb — promising to "bomb the hell out of ISIS" — and in a mostly-overlooked interview with Circa last year, said that the use of chemical weapons would be his "red line."

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Japan's economy minister outlined plans on Monday to end the nationwide state of emergency as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continues to decline to less than 50 a day, per Bloomberg. Japan has reported 16,550 cases and 820 deaths.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 5,401,701 — Total deaths: 345,060 — Total recoveries — 2,149,407Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 1,643,238 — Total deaths: 97,720 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

President Trump doubled down on his push to reopen schools, tweeting late Sunday: "Schools in our country should be opened ASAP."

Zoom in: Trump pushed back on NIAD Director Anthony Fauci cautioning against the move earlier this month, calling his concerns "not an acceptable answer."