The Next President: Trump’s Trail to Greatness

Donald Trump, age 69, is chairman of The Trump Organization, a firm started by his father, a real estate developer. He spent his high school years at the New York Military Academy and later graduated from the Wharton School of Business in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. Student deferments—and later a medical deferment—kept Trump out of the draft during the Vietnam War.

The Trump Organization, through more than 500 subsidiaries, owns, operates and develops hotels, resorts, residential towers, and golf courses. Aside from real estate, the company has a broad range of business interests, including entertainment, publishing, financial services, business education, airlines, retail, and beauty pagents.

Trump has not held any elected office and has no experience in government at any level. His campaign slogan—“Make America Great Again”—was copied from the 1980 Reagan campaign, but Trump has applied for trademark protection.

On immigration:

Do you favor immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship?

Donald Trump has promised to create a “massive deportation force” that would be mobilized to “humanely” deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. He does not favor any path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants. Trump would let “the good ones” reenter the country and receive legal status to live in the United States—after first being deported—but they could not become citizens. The “bad dudes” would never be allowed back in the country.

On health care:

Do you support the ACA and efforts to improve or expand it?

Trump favors a total repeal of the Affordable Care Act. He proposes to replace the ACA with “a series of reforms… that follow free market principles” [quoted from Trump website that has been taken off line since the election]. He wants to “broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans.”

Trump flirted with the idea of single-payer health care in 2000, when he was considering a presidential run under the banner of the Reform Party. Although he now appears to disavow support for a single-payer plan, he says that his plan would take care of “people at the bottom” by embracing “concepts of Medicare.” Remarkably, Trump also favors reducing the cost of health care by “allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas.”

On the Iran Nuclear Deal:

Do you support the nuclear agreement with Iran?

Trump’s disgust over the Iran deal was one of the things that made him decide to run for president, he told Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in a recent interview. He did not oppose negotiation with Iran, but he felt that the United States could have made “a much better deal.” He said it was a terrible deal, negotiated by people who are “poor negotiators,” and it made him angry. He said that John Kerry could have gotten a better deal if he had stood up against the Iranians, increased sanctions and threatened to walk away from the negotiation.

Trump feels that other countries do not respect the United States. He wants them to respect our country and our leader. He said that he would accomplish this “through the aura of personality.”

On Climate Change:

Do you believe that human activity is largely responsible for climate change and do you favor regulation of emissions?

Trump famously tweeted in 2012 that the concept of global warming was created by the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing “non-competitive.” Although he has since claimed that he was joking about the Chinese, he labels climate change as a “very, very expensive form of tax” and he has called global warming a “hoax.”

When asked whether he believes that there has been human-caused climate change, he has said that he is “not a big believer in man-made climate change,” although there has been a “change in the weather.” He believes that nuclear weapons are a bigger risk to the world than climate change. In response to a questionnaire from the American Energy Alliance (a non-profit organization with ties to the Koch brothers), Trump said that all EPA rules, including regulation of carbon emissions, would be reviewed under a Trump administration, and “any regulation that imposes undue costs on business enterprises will be eliminated.”

On the Minimum Wage:

Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage?

Trump does not support raising the federal minimum wage. At the same time, he says that he does not know how people can live on $7.25 per hour—the current federal minimum—and he would “like to see an increase of some magnitude.” He does not, however, propose a federal “floor” on hourly wages. Instead, he would leave it to the states to decide, because “the states compete with each other.”

Trump has said that higher wages undermine business competitiveness and could lead to job loss. He has said that “if we’re going to compete with other countries” we cannot increase the minimum wage “because the wages would be too high” and “our country is losing businesses.”

On campaign finance

Do you support campaign finance reform?

Trump has criticized the role of PACs in campaign financing, and has said that they are not operating independently from candidates. He has said that PACs are “horrible” and that candidates become psychologically indebted to big-money donors.

Trump, now assured of the Republican nomination, must develop a strategy for financing his general election campaign, which could cost more than $750 million. Trump plans to create a “world-class finance organization.” He will be looking for donors, but, he says, “I really won’t be asking for money for myself. I’ll be asking money for the party.”

Trump will work jointly with the Republican National Committee on fundraising. The RNC is not subject to the $2,700 per-donor limit on individual contributions to candidates. For the RNC, the cap is $333,400 per donor (of which $5,000 can be given to a candidate).

[Photo Credit: By Michael Vadon – →This file has been extracted from another file: Donald Trump August 19, 2015.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42609338]

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