He said, she said: Presidential candidates talk in flip flops

Benjy Jude, Feature Editor

Abortion, women’s rights

DJT: In 1999, when politicians were still scared of the abortion taboo, Trump said he was completely for it. However, since the announcement of his candidacy, he has been adamantly against, and, in an infamous interview with MSNBC journalist Chris Matthews, he said he would punish women who have them. Later that day, however, his campaign put out a statement saying he would leave it up to the states, and even later in the day he said he wouldn’t punish them at all. Now he’s only for banning abortion.

HRC: Hillary has been cited as being one of the most consistent and adamant supporters of women’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

Gay marriage

HRC: Though she opposed restrictions on homosexual pride and lifestyle, she only switched her position for civil unions (united by law, without legal benefits of marriage) to same-sex marriage in a Human Rights Campaign video in March 2013

DJT: In 2000, he made comments seemingly supporting the LGBT+ community, even offering an amendment to the Civil Rights Act to include their rights. However, since then, he’s turned his view away from the path that the nation went on, and said he didn’t think they should have the right to marriage. He remains ‘pro-gay’ but anti-gay marriage.

Climate Change:

DJT: Despite his tweets saying he believe climate change was a hoax invented by the Chinese, at the September Republican primary debate on CNN, he said that he never said that. He has been consistent in his assertion since then.

HRC: In October 2010, some argued that she hinted that she was leaning towards favoring the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would bring oil from Canada and that would cut through many rural ecosystems and be bad for their environments. However, in September 2015 she formally came out against the Pipeline. Politifact does not count this as an inconsistency because she remained so quiet and careful with her words when discussing it, but others may.


DJT: Trump has been consistently for going into the region and fighting, keeping oil fields in mind. In November 2015, he said he knew more than the generals did, but in September 2016, he said he would ask the generals what to do. He remains unspecific on his plans to fight ISIS.

HRC: At the Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas in October 2015, Hillary said she doesn’t want American troops on the ground in Syria, but after Obama sent special operations to Syria, her campaign said she supported his decision. Her detailed plan to defeat ISIS, which consists of supporting those fighting on the ground, creating a strong air campaign and much more, is summarized on her website

Iraq War

HRC: Although she voted for it in 2002, she disagreed with how it transpired and slowly got more vocal about her regret. She called it a mistake in 2015, and has remained in that frame of mind.

DJT: Days before the Senate’s vote, Trump said, “I guess so,” when asked if he supported the war. Days after war started, he said it will be great for the stock market. Days after that, and in ensuing months, he started expressing doubt about the war. Recently, he claims he was always against it and fought very hard to stop it from happening.

Nuclear Weapons

DJT: From March 2015 to April this year, he was for Japan having nuclear arms telling newscasters his position. But in July, at a California rally, he said Hillary made it up. Since then, he has included other countries and then excluded them time and time again.

HRC: Clinton has been consistently opposed to the expansion and use of nuclear weapons, but many have faulted her for her influence in the Iran Deal, which the same people claim gives Iran a straight path to developing them.


DJT: In late August of 2015, Trump told Bloomberg News that he would be taxing the rich more and the middle class less. However, in September, he proposed a tax cut for everyone, including the rich. On May 8 of this year, he said that he would slightly raise taxes on the wealthy on NBC. The day after on ABC, he said he never said what he said the day before. He sticks by cutting taxes for everyone, just changing by how much he would cut them.

HRC: In 2008, she promised not to raise taxes on the middle class that much. At the start and throughout her 2015-16 campaign, she has proposed plans that might force her to raise taxes on them that much.

Gun control

DJT: May 20, Trump told a National Rifle Association (NRA) crowd that he will get rid of gun-free zones. May 24, he told CNN that he would allow some gun-free zones.

HRC: As first lady, she supported strict gun restrictions, supporting President Bill Clinton’s Brady Bill. In 2008, she took the position of opposing national licensing and registration, which she supported in her 2000 senate campaign, but still was for a ban on assault weapons and increased background checks. This election cycle, she has been more pro-gun control, and more detailed on her plans than before.

Immigration (Mexico)

DJT: In 2012, in an interview on CNBC, Trump said he didn’t believe in deporting undocumented immigrants who have done well; he was unspecific on whether he meant immigrants who have not committed crimes or immigrants who have been successful or somewhere in between. However, he started his campaign promising to build a wall and deport all immigrants.  During the campaign, he kept a strong anti-immigrant stance until Buzzfeed reported that he was open to not deporting all immigrants in February 2016. In August he said, “[I will] do the same as past presidents,” on immigration.

HRC: In 2007, she said she wouldn’t support undocumented immigrants to get driver’s’ licenses; in 2015, a campaign spokeswoman said she’s now for it. In 2014, she said undocumented children should be sent back to their past countries, but now would not send them back as president. In November of 2015, she told New Hampshire voters that she voted to build barriers separating the US from Mexico, but in January 2016 she told Nevada voters that she didn’t think it would be beneficial to America if a barrier was built.

Immigration (Muslims/Refugees)

DJT: December 2015, he said no muslims will be allowed in America. However, in May, his campaign manager at the time said it was negotiable. Before mid-August, Trump himself said there would be a ban, and lots of vetting for those who would be allowed to come in.

HRC: Clinton has been consistent in her opposition to banning Muslims from entering the country, and has actually called for an increase in taking in refugees fleeing the IS.


HRC: In 2012, she supported the TPP, even calling it the ‘gold standard’ of international trade deals, but changed her mind in 2015. When she was first lady, she was a key figure behind the scenes of NAFTA, but has criticized it “not [living] up to its potential” since she’s been a senator.

DJT: He has been consistently against both, and vows to undo or completely scrap either/both of them.

Criminal Justice

HRC: Although she supported the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which has only increased the incarceration rates, especially among minorities, she has called out the current criminal justice system for being systemically racist and broken.

DJT: He has remained consistently sided with typical right-wing views on criminal justice and has said he would be the law-and-order (non-SVU) candidate. He has released few specifics on what he would do, but reinstituting stop and frisk, which was deemed unconstitutional, could be up there.


DJT: Right off the bat, he said he would repeal Obamacare and has remained consistent. In September 2016, he said he would cover everyone but at the online release of his plan in March, it was revealed he would not, in fact, be covering everybody. He still wants to introduce new legislation for it, however.

HRC: “Before there was Obamacare, there was Hillarycare.” Clinton said in her DNC speech, and she has been fighting for more equal access to affordable and beneficial healthcare until the primaries. In her 2008 campaign, she said it was the Democratic party duty to not decry one another’s healthcare plans, but that’s exactly what she did to Bernie Sanders’ single-payer plan. She has made amends, however, as Bernie is one of her most ardent supporters on the trail.


HRC: She has always believed and said Barack Obama was born in America, despite claims that her campaign started Birtherism.

DJT: Despite being insistent on Obama being born outside of the US, and then unspecific since December 2015, he said Obama was born in America, in September 2016, even insisting that Clinton’s campaign started it in 2008.