In a week that has been dominated by international events – from Afghanistan to Russia to North Korea – the president’s evolution on some previously stated positions is raising some questions here at home.
“I said NATO was obsolete…It is no longer obsolete.”
Some call it “presidential pragmatism.” Others, an outright Trump transformation.
From saying of Russia:
“We’ll get along great.”
“Relationship at an all-time low.”
To calling NATO obsolete during the campaign…then saying it’s no longer obsolete.
And from calling China a major currency manipulator to telling the Wall Street Journal it’s not.
But remember what the president said about China during the campaign?
“We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country, and that’s what they’re doing.”
Then this week, he spoke of personal chemistry and the good intentions of China’s President Xi.
Then there was this during his address to Congress:
“My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.”
That was long before he ordered dozens of missiles be launched into Syria, in response to a gas attack by the Assad regime.
And while it is true that campaign rhetoric often gives way to the realities of the job as president, President Trump’s apparent U-turn has left some conservatives wary.
“It’s never helped the country we claimed we were trying to help. Within the new tribe comes in, they are always more brutal than the last tribe, and they hate us even more. Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Iran – how many times we have to see this isn’t working?” Ann Coulter said.
But White House officials say it’s the president’s positions that are having the desired effect.
“I think when you look at these issues, and you recognize the direction in which they’re moving, they’re moving in a direction that the president stated very clearly,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
A response reflective of the president’s optimism who, noting the widening diplomatic gulf with Russia, tweeted: “Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia. At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!”
Administration officials tell me it all boils down to what’s in the best interest of the American people – and if that means modifying a previously stated position, then that’s exactly what the president will do.