Within hours, Trump completely flips positions on China, NATO, trade

President Trump flip-flops
(Image credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, President Trump publicly contradicted several long-stated policy views, bringing his stances more in line with Washington orthodoxy.

Meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump said of the military alliance: "I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete." A week after calling China the "world champion" of currency manipulation, a common refrain on the campaign trail, he told The Wall Street Journal, "They're not currency manipulators." Trump also shifted positions on the U.S. Export-Import Bank, telling The Journal it's actually "a very good thing, and it actually makes money," including for smaller companies. He also suggested he might re-appoint Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, whom he has previously criticized. This all comes a week after Trump appeared to abandon his campaign views about foreign intervention by bombing a Syrian government air base.

On Wednesday, "it was almost as if Trump's outsider presidential campaign never happened as he rushed to embrace mainstream political and national security positions he once publicly abhorred," CNN said. Trump's sudden 180-shifts "would leave a more traditional politician labeled a flip-flopper," Politico suggested. "But for Trump, who sold himself in part on a businessman’s flexibility, the moves fit his reputation for unpredictability." When a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about the reversals, he said simply, "Circumstances change."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.