President-elect Donald Trump is sounding a different tune as he prepares to take on the mantle of the presidency. His stance on Hillary, Obamacare, climate change, building a wall, etc...

Stance on Hillary then:

If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it, and we're going to have a special prosecutor," he said at the second presidential debate last month. He added that she'd be "in jail" if he were president.


Stance on Hillary now:

I don't want to hurt the Clintons. I really don't. She went through a lot. And suffered greatly in many different ways. And I am not looking to hurt them at all,"

Trump on Obamacare then

Trump then: "Real change begins with immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare," he said on the eve of the election.

Trump on Obamacare now:

Trump praised several provisions of the law he said he intends to keep, such as coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions and for adults under 26 who would like to stay on their parents' health care plans. "I like those very much," he said of those provisions like allowing children to stay on their parents healthcare until they are 26 and insurance for people with preexisting conditions.


These were the biggest things his supporters wanted and why they elected him. Did he explain the change of tone so soon?

  • 4
    Do you want an answer based on what Trump himself said? Random opinion by a user here? Random opinion (pretending to be authoritative truth) from someone on a blog/media? Except for the first option, it's subjective and about motivation (which is explicitly offtopic on Skeptics.SE and probably should be here)
    – user4012
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 21:19
  • 3
    OP, Because what authoritarian populists say before election does not necessarily mean what they will do once they get to the power. The question about why people believe such things over and over for centuries is beyond the scope of this site. We are sorry. Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 21:20
  • 1
    My personal theory: he was pulling a prank. One everyone. (except for me, actually :) - I have a track record in a comment on Politics.SE predicting he'll change his ideas once/if elected)
    – user4012
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 21:21
  • @Philipp - better?
    – user4012
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 2:15
  • 1
    @AndrewGrimm - I have innate understanding of Trump that most people don't (because he's pretty simple to model for an Aspie like me; and other people's models are way too ideologically bound to be accurate)
    – user4012
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 13:45

1 Answer 1



Those Obamacare statements do not actually conflict.

  1. During the election, Donald Trump favored repeal and replacement with something better.

  2. Trump thinks that preexisting conditions should be covered and that family members should be able to stay on the family healthcare until age 26.

Both those things can be true at the same time. While Obamacare made coverage for preexisting conditions and family members until age 26 mandatory, it's not required to support Obamacare to get those two provisions. They could be added in any replacement.

The single most important statement that he has made on Obamacare since the election was his selection of Representative Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS oversees Obamacare (as well as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and other services). Price is the author of one of the Republican Obamacare alternatives and is a big proponent of repeal. So the evidence is that Trump still favors repeal. If not, he picked the wrong head of HHS.

Prosecuting Clinton

I do not know of anything that he has said in explaining the different tone of those two statements. I wouldn't be surprised if he waited until after inauguration to address this further.

If I was going to pick a hypocritical thing that he has done in this area, it would be considering David Petraeus for Secretary of State. Petraeus obviously had his own legal problems related to classified information. But of course, that doesn't become really hypocritical unless Trump actually appoints Petraeus.

Building a wall

He still plans to build a wall. He may simply be switching from campaign rhetoric to actual plans. He acknowledged during the campaign that the wall was meant to augment existing obstacles. So there might be a section of wall, then a cliff face, then more wall. Since the election, he's also acknowledged that some parts of the wall might be built with fencing.

There is a general perception among his supporters that a wall is more of an idea than a physical barrier. For example, some have said that they would consider more border patrol agents to contribute to a "wall" with Mexico.

I personally expect Trump to finish the existing fencing plans halted under Obama. That plan already exists. What additional work he'd do remains unclear.

Climate change

Trump met with Al Gore and told the New York Times that he'd keep an "open mind".


"I had a lengthy and very productive session with the president-elect," said Gore, who met earlier with Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, but said he had spent the bulk of his time with Trump. "It was a sincere search for areas of common ground. ... I found it an extremely interesting conversation and, to be continued."

Gore did not say that they found common ground, just that they sincerely searched for it. Trump did not say that he no longer thinks climate change is a hoax. Perhaps Trump will reverse himself on this issue in the future, but he hasn't so far.

There is some evidence that Ivanka Trump is more inclined to environmentalism than her father. So this might be better viewed as Ivanka having different views. She set a meeting with Gore. She added her father to the meeting. Her father talked politely, as he often does in personal meetings (he's ruder on TV).

  • The insurance companies only agreed to cover pre-existing conditions when the mandate for everyone to buy insurance was added to the ACA. So it will be interesting to see how Congress passes a new law mandating that insurance companies cover all conditions with a smaller pool of covered persons. Perhaps this belongs in Skeptics.SE, because once the lobbyists join in on this, the "replace" part of the bill will be a huge challenge to a Congress that has not managed to agree on a budget in years.
    – jalynn2
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 17:49
  • @jalynn2 - Since it was mandated by law, I don't see where the "agreed" part plays into it. Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 19:36

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