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The Evolution of Donald J. Trump: How the President Went From Quasi-Democrat to Far-Right Republican and White Nationalist

September 24, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

It's a bizarre and twisted story.

Although Donald Trump has governed from the far right since being sworn in as president of the U.S. in January 2017, the word “ideologue” doesn’t apply to him. Many Republicans can be characterized as extreme ideologues, whether it’s House Speaker Paul Ryan’s obsession with Ayn Rand economics or Sen. Ted Cruz’ severe social conservatism and theocratic views. But Trump, truth be told, has no core political ideology. The Donald has always been about self-aggrandizement, often saying or doing whatever it takes to promote his own brand. And that has resulted in lot of flip-flops. Trump often sounded like a Blue Dog Democrat or a northeastern Rockefeller Republican back in the 1990s and 2000s, but that was before he evolved into the Tea Party wingnut, white nationalist and Christian Right ally he is today.

The Donald Trump of the 1990s and 2000s never sounded like a hardcore dyed-in-the-wool liberal or progressive, but he was at least centrist or center-right and was on fairly friendly terms with Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as northeastern Rockefeller Republicans. In a 1999 interview with NBC’s Tim Russert, Trump expressed views on abortion that were similar to those of Republican Rudy Giuliani—who was mayor of New York City at the time and said, more than once, that while he personally hated abortion, he was pro-choice and believe that government shouldn’t interfere with women’s reproductive rights.

During that interview 19 years ago, Trump told Russert, “I am very pro-choice. I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debating the subject. But….I just believe in choice.”

Trump, in fact, had co-sponsored a $500-per-plate dinner for the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) at the Plaza Hotel, an expensive Mid-Town Manhattan Hotel that he owed at the time. But these days, Trump claims to be very anti-abortion, insisting that he will only nominate Supreme Court nominees who will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Both of Trump’s High Court nominees—first Justice Neil Gorsuch, now Judge Brett Kavanaugh—are …read more


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