Donald Trump is a New York businessman, reality show host and a Republican candidate in the 2016 United States presidential election. His politics have been described as populist, nativist, protectionist, isolationist and authoritarian. Trump has described his political positions in various and often contradictory ways over time. Politico has described his positions as "eclectic, improvisational and often contradictory." Trump calls himself a conservative Republican, while others describe him as a moderate Republican. His stances on illegal immigration, free trade agreements, and military interventionism, as well as his support for social security, have often put him in conflict with Republican Party establishment positions. Trump has said of his positions: "I will be changing very rapidly. I'm capable of changing to anything I want to change to." The New York Times writes that "waffling, flip-flopping and inconsistencies, all of which might hobble a conventional candidate, have not dimmed Mr. Trump's appeal to his Republican supporters." Taxes, spending, and budget On the federal personal income tax, Trump has proposed collapsing the current seven brackets (which range from 10% to 39.6%) to three brackets of 10%, 20%, and 25%; increasing the standard deduction; taxing dividends and capital gains at a maximum rate of 20%; repealing the alternative minimum tax; and taxing carried interest income as ordinary business income (as opposed to existing law, which provides for preferential treatment of such income). hedge fund managers. With respect to business taxes, Trump has proposed reducing the corporate tax rate to 15%; limiting the top individual income tax rate on pass-through businesses such as partnerships to no more than 15%; repealing most business tax breaks as well as the corporate alternative minimum tax; imposing a "deemed repatriation tax" of up to 10% of accumulated profits of foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies on the effective date of the proposal, payable over 10 years; and taxing future profits of foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies each year as the profits are earned (i.e., ending end the deferral of income taxes on corporate income earned in other countries). Trump has also called for the repeal of the federal estate tax and gift taxes and for capping the deductibility of business interest expenses. Detailed analyses by both two nonpartisan tax research organizations, the conservative Tax Foundation and centrist Tax Policy Center, concluded that Trump's tax plan would "boost the after-tax incomes of the wealthiest households by an average of more than $1.3 million a year" and significantly lower taxes for the wealthy. A Citizens for Tax Justice analysis found that under Trump's plan, the poorest 20% of Americans would see a tax cut averaging $250, middle-income Americans would see an tax cut averaging just over $2,500, and the best-off 1% of Americans would see a tax cut averaging over $227,000. Trump's claims that his tax plan would be "revenue neutral" have been rated "false" by Politifact, which found that "Free market-oriented and liberal groups alike say Trump's tax plan would lead to a $10 trillion revenue loss, even if it did create economic growth." Trump has pledged to balance the budget in ten years; not cut Social Security or Medicare; increase defense spending; and enact tax cuts that would lose $9.5 trillion of revenues over the next decade. Jared Bernstein notes that it is mathematically impossible to fulfill all of these pledges, writing: "Trump would need to cut spending outside the Social Security, Medicare, and defense by 114 percent to make his budget balance, which is, of course, impossible." An analysis of Trump's campaign proposals by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) showed that Trump's key proposals would increase the debt by between $11.7 and $15.1 trillion to the U.S. national debt over the next 10 years, with the U.S.'s debt-to-GDP ratio rising to 115% to 140% of GDP. The CRFB analysis showed that "growth would have to be roughly 5 times as large as projected, and twice as high as the fastest growth period in the last 60 years (which was between 1959 and 1968)" in order to balance the budget under Trump's plan, which is "practically impossible." Trump has vowed "tremendous cutting" of budgets for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Education if elected. Trade policy See also: Foreign trade of the United States Trump identifies himself as a "free trader," but is identified by others, such as conservative economist Stephen Moore, as a protectionist. His views on trade have upended the traditional Republican policies favoring free trade and have been described as breaking with 200 years of economics orthodoxy. Since at least the 1980s, Trump has advanced mercantilist views, "describing trade as a zero-sum game in which countries lose by paying for imports." On the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016, Trump has decried the U.S.-China trade imbalance—calling it the "the greatest theft in the history of the world"—and regularly advocates tariffs. In January 2016, Trump proposed a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports to the United States to give "American workers a level playing field." Trump has also "promised to penalize American companies that build foreign factories," specifically calling out Ford Motor Co. and criticizing the Carrier Air Conditioner move to Mexico, for shifting manufacturing from the U.S. to Mexico. Trump has pledged a 35% tariff on "every car, every truck and every part manufactured in [Ford's Mexico plant] that comes across the border." Tariffs at that level would be far higher than the international norms (which are around 2.67 percent for the U.S. and most other advanced economies and under 10 percent for most developing countries). Economists and free-market proponents at groups such as the Institute of Economic Affairs, American Enterprise Institute, Cato Institute, and Club for Growth have been harshly critical of Trump's views on trade, viewing them as likely to start trade wars and harm consumers. When announcing his candidacy in June 2015, Trump said that his experience as a negotiator in private business would enhance his ability to negotiate better international trade deals as President, saying "[America] used to have victories, but we don't have them. When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say, China in a trade deal? They kill us. I beat China all the time." Trump opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying "The deal is insanity. That deal should not be supported and it should not be allowed to happen ... We are giving away what ultimately is going to be a back door for China." Trump has vowed to label China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office; has pledged "swift, robust and unequivocal" action against Chinese piracy, counterfeit American goods, and theft of U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property; and has condemned China's "illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards." In a 60 Minutes interview in September 2015, Trump condemned the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying that if elected president, "We will either renegotiate it, or we will break it." A range of trade experts have said that pulling out of NAFTA as Trump proposed would have a range of unintended consequences for the U.S., including reduced access to the U.S.'s biggest export markets, a reduction in economic growth, and increased prices for gasoline, cars, fruits, and vegetables. Health care and Social Security See also: Health care reform debate in the United States and Social Security debate in the United States Affordable Care Act and health-care reform In 1999, during his abortive 2000 Reform Party presidential campaign, told Larry King: "I believe in universal health care." In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump reiterated his call for universal health care and focused on a Canadian-style single-payer health care system as a means to achieve it. In 2015, Trump also expressed admiration for the Scottish health-care system, which is single payer. As the 2016 campaign unfolded, Trump stated that he favors repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare")—which Trump refers to as a "complete disaster"—and replacing it was a "free-market system." Trump's campaign has insisted that the candidate has "never supported socialized medicine." In the early part of his campaign, Trump responded to questions about his plan to replace the ACA by saying that it would be "something terrific!" Trump subsequently said at various points that he believes that the government should have limited involvement of health care, but has also said that "at the lower end, where people have no money, I want to try and help those people," by "work[ing] out some sort of a really smart deal with hospitals across the country." and has said "everybody's got to be covered." Trump has not put forth a plan or other details. Peter Suderman, a senior editor at Reason magazine, writes that Trump's comments may be interpreted in two ways: either Trump "has no health care plan to speak of and no idea what he is talking about" or, alternatively, that Trump favors a system approximately like the ACA, which "attempts to cover the uninsured largely by giving people a choice of private plans that are heavily subsidized by the government." At a February 2016 town hall on CNN, Trump said that he supported the individual health insurance mandate of the ACA, which requires all Americans to have health insurance, saying "I like the mandate. So here's where I'm a little bit different [from other Republican candidates]." In March 2016, Trump reversed himself, saying that "Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to." In a March 2016 statement released by the campaign, Trump called for allowing health-insurance companies to compete across state lines and to make Medicaid into a block grant system for the states. In the same document, Trump acknowledged that mental health care in the U.S. is often inadequate but offered no solution to the problem. Vaccine-autism assertion Trump believes that childhood vaccinations are related to autism, a hypothesis which has been repeatedly debunked. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Autism Speaks patient-advocacy group have "decried Trump's remarks as false and potentially dangerous." Social Security and Medicare Trump has called for allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with prescription-drug companies to get lower prices for the Medicare Part D prescription-drug benefit, something currently prohibited by law. Trump has claimed on several occasions that this proposal would save $300 billion a year. Glenn Kessler, the fact-checker for the Washington Post, gave this statement a "four Pinocchios" rating, writing that this was a "truly absurd" and "nonsense figure" because it was four times the entire cost of the Medicare prescription-drug system. Unlike his rivals in the 2016 Republican primary race, Trump opposes cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits. This is a departure from Trump's earlier views; in his book published in 2000, Trump called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and said it should be privatized. Trump previously proposed raising the Social Security retirement age to 70 from 67, but he receded from this stance in 2015. America's infrastructure Trump strongly supports improving America's infrastructure, saying in his book that he supports investing in modern infrastructure assets across the nation, even though "on the federal level, this is going to be an expensive investment, no question about that." This relatively “contrarian” policy view by contemporary GOP standards reflects the pragmatist strain of Eisenhower Republicanism once popular among New York Republicans. More generally, this constitutes a partial return to the pre-Reagan Era bipartisan American policy consensus, which was more favorable to the notion of infrastructure spending and infrastructure-driven development. From that perspective, infrastructure constitutes one of the rare points of convergence with the Bernie Sanders campaign plank and may potentially appeal to centrist and moderate voters. Minimum wage Trump opposes increasing the U.S. minimum wage, saying that doing so would hurt America's economic competitiveness. Speaking at the Republican debate on November 10, Trump said, "We are a country that is being beaten on every front—economically, militarily. Taxes too high, wages too high, we're not going to be able to compete against the world ... People have to go out, they have to work really hard, and they have to get into that upper stratum."
Birthright citizenship Trump opposes birthright citizenship (the legal principle set forth by the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that all persons born on U.S. soil are citizens). Trump has asserted that the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to children of illegal immigrants (whom Trump refers to as "anchor babies"). The mainstream view of the Fourteenth Amendment among legal experts is that everyone born on U.S. soil, regardless of parents' citizenship, is automatically an American citizen. Trump's view "is held by only a handful of legal scholars." However the issue is not considered completely settled, since the amendment does not discuss illegal immigration and the matter has not been addressed by the Supreme Court Border security Trump has emphasized U.S. border security and illegal immigration to the United States as a campaign issue. During his announcement speech he stated in part, "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems.... They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." On July 6, 2015, Trump issued a written statement to clarify his position on illegal immigration which drew a reaction from critics. It read in part: The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc. This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5-time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government. The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world. On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard working Mexicans—many of them are working for and with me...and, just like our country, my organization is better for it." In addition to his proposals to construct a border wall (see below), Trump has called for tripling the number of Border Patrol agents. U.S.–Mexico border wall proposal In his speech announcing his candidacy, Trump pledged to build "build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words." Trump also said "nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I'll build them very inexpensively." The concept for building a barrier to keep illegal immigrants out of the U.S. is not new; 670 miles of fencing (about one-third of the border) was erected under the Secure Fence Act of 2006, at a cost of $2.4 billion. Trump said later that his proposed will would be "a real wall. Not a toy wall like we have now." In his 2015 book, Trump cites the Israeli West Bank barrier as a successful example of a border wall. "Trump has at times suggested building a wall across the nearly 2,000-mile border and at other times indicated more selective placement." According to experts and analyses, the actual cost to construct a wall along the remaining 1,300 miles of the border could be as high as $16 million per mile, with a total cost of up to $25 billion, with the cost of private land acquisitions and fence maintenance pushing up the total cost further. Maintenance of the wall cost could up to $750 million a year, and if the Border Patrol agents were to patrol the wall, additional funds would have to be expended. Rough and remote terrain on many parts of the border, such as deserts and mountains, would make construction and maintenance of a wall expensive, and such terrain may be a greater deterrent than a wall in any case. Experts also note that on federally protected wilderness areas and Native American reservations, the Department of Homeland Security may have only limited construction authority, and a wall could cause environmental damage. Experts on immigration question whether a wall would be effective at stopping unauthorized crossings, noting that walls are of limited use unless they are patrolled by agents and to intercept those climbing over or tunneling under the wall. Experts also note that approximately half of illegal immigrants in the U.S. did not surreptitiously enter, but rather "entered through official crossing points, either by overstaying visas, using fraudulent documents, or being smuggled past the border." Mass deportation Trump has proposed the mass deportation of illegal immigrants. During his first town hall campaign meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, Trump said that if he were to win the election, then on "[d]ay 1 of my presidency, illegal immigrants are getting out and getting out fast." Trump has proposed a "Deportation Force" to carry out this plan, modeled after the 1950s-era "Operation Wetback" program during the Eisenhower administration. Historian Mae Ngai of Columbia University, who has studied the program, has said that the military-style operation was both inhumane and ineffective. The Eisenhower-era program was ended following a congressional investigation. Trump has said of his proposal: "We would do it in a very humane way." According to analysts, Trump's mass-deportation plan would encounter legal and logistical difficulties, since U.S. immigration courts already face large backlogs. Such a program would also impose a fiscal cost; the fiscally conservative American Action Forum policy group "estimates it would cost upwards of $620 billion to apprehend, detain and deport every illegal immigrant." Doug Holtz-Eakin, the group's president, has said that the mass deportation of 11 million people would "harm the economy in ways it would normally not be harmed." Muslims On November 19, 2015, a week after the November 2015 Paris attacks, when asked if he would implement a database system to track Muslims in the United States, Trump said: "I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems." On November 21, Trump expanded on his stance, saying that he would order surveillance of "certain mosques" to combat Islamic terrorism after the Paris attacks.> Trump's support for a database of American Muslims "drew sharp rebukes from his Republican presidential rivals and disbelief from legal experts." Trump justified his proposals by repeatedly saying that he recalled "thousands and thousands of people ... cheering" in Jersey City, New Jersey, when the World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001. Politifact noted that this statement was false, giving it a "Pants on Fire" rating and reporting that it was based on debunked and unproven rumors. Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop called Trump's claim "absurd" and said that Trump "has memory issues or willfully distorts the truth." Trump has proposed a temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the United States (approximately 100,000 Muslim immigrants are admitted to the U.S. each year) until better security precautions are implemented. In response to the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, Trump released a statement on "Preventing Muslim Immigration" and called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on." Trump cited President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's World War II use of the Alien and Sedition Acts to issue presidential proclamations for rounding up, holding, and deporting Japanese, German, and Italian alien immigrants, then argued that Roosevelt was highly respected and had highways named after him. Trump stated that he did not agree with Roosevelt's internment of Japanese Americans, and clarified that the proposal would not apply to Muslims who were U.S. citizens or to Muslims who were serving in the U.S. military. He later clarified that Muslims who were U.S. citizens or serving in the U.S. military would be let back into the United States. The measure proposed by Trump would be temporary, until better screening methods are devised, although the proposal has also been phrased in more controversial ways. Other proposals Trump has proposed making it more difficult for asylum-seekers and refugees to enter the United States, and making the e-Verify system mandatory for employers. Syrian refugees See also: Refugees of the Syrian Civil War Trump has on several occasions expressed opposition to allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S.—saying they could be the "ultimate Trojan horse"—and has proposed deporting back to Syria refugees settled in the U.S. On other occasions, Trump has expressed support for taking in some Syrian refugees and praised Germany's decision to take in Syrian refugees. On a number of occasions in 2015, Trump asserted that "If you're from Syria and you're a Christian, you cannot come into this country, and they're the ones that are being decimated. If you are Islamic ... it's hard to believe, you can come in so easily." Politifact rated Trump's claim as "false" and found it to be "wrong on its face," citing experts from groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Refugee Council USA. Abortion and reproductive rights Trump's views on abortion have changed significantly between 1999 and his 2016 presidential campaign. In an October 24, 1999 appearance on Meet the Press, Trump said "I am very pro-choice" and "I believe in choice." He said that he hated the "concept of abortion," but would not ban abortion or the procedure sometimes called "partial-birth abortion." Later that year, Trump gave interviews stating "I'm totally pro-choice" and "I want to see the abortion issue removed from politics. I believe it is a personal decision that should be left to the women and their doctors." While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump stated "I'm pro-life and I've been pro-life a long time" and acknowledged that he had "evolved" on the issue. CNN reported that Trump "dodged questions testing the specificity of those views." In August 2015, Trump said that he supported a government shutdown over federal funding for Planned Parenthood (which receives federal funding for the health services it provides to 2.7 million people annually, but is barred by federal law from using federal funds for abortion-related procedures). In March 2016, Trump said that Planned Parenthood should not be funded "as long as you have the abortion going on," but acknowledged that "Planned Parenthood has done very good work for many, many -- for millions of women." Planned Parenthood said in a statement that "Trump presidency would be a disaster for women" and criticized Trump's claim that "he'd be great for women while in the same breath pledging to block them from accessing care at Planned Parenthood." In an interview later that month, Trump acknowledged that there must be "some form" of punishment for women if abortion were made illegal in the U.S. Trump clarified his statements the following day in a press release, stating, "the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman." Capital punishment See also: Capital punishment in the United States Trump has long favored more executions in the United States. In May 1989, shortly after the Central Park jogger case received widespread media attention, Trump purchased a full-page ad in four New York City newspapers with the title "BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY!" Five defendants (the "Central Park Five") were wrongfully convicted in the case and were subsequently exonerated. Trump has demonstrated his support of capital punishment both through his campaign speeches, including a speech in 2015 at the New England Police Benevolent Association, and through full-page ads he purchased in 1989 in New York City having the title, "Bring Back The Death Penalty. Bring Back The Police!". At the 2015 campaign speech, Trump affirmed the death penalty for cop killers. In the 1989 advertisement, Trump argued that it's a mistake to offer too much empathy to violent criminals. In December 2015, in a speech accepting the endorsement of the New England Police Benevolent Association, Trump said that "One of the first things I do [if elected President] in terms of executive order if I win will be to sign a strong, strong statement that will go out to the country, out to the world, that ... anybody killing a police officer — death penalty. It’s going to happen, O.K.?" This is impossible under the U.S. legal system, however, because persons prosecuted in state court (the vast majority of capital prosecutions in the United States) are sentenced under state law; the president has no authority to control such prosecutions. Moreover, nearly 20 states have abolished the death penalty, and mandatory death sentences are unconstitutional, as held by the Supreme Court in Woodson v. North Carolina (1976). Civil liberties and rights First Amendment, free speech, and defamation law Trump has called for the mass arrest of protestors against him, saying that fear of an "arrest mark" that would "ruin the rest of their lives" would be a deterrent and that then "we're not going to have any more protesters, folks." Trump has said that if elected, he would loosen defamation laws so that when journalists write "purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money." The Associated Press reported that this proposal to weaken the First Amendment protections for the press is at odds with "widely held conceptions of constitutional law." The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and other First Amendment advocates condemn Trump's proposal, which would make it easier to win lawsuits accusing newspapers of libel. The Trump campaign has also denied press credentials to reporters in the wake of negative coverage, a move described as troubling by CNN. Reporters from The New York Times, The Des Moines Register, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Politico, Univision and Fusion have all reported being blocked from Trump campaign events. Privacy, encryption, and electronic surveillance See also: Mass surveillance in the United States and FBI–Apple encryption dispute On National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, Trump says that he "tends to err on the side of security" over privacy. Trump supports bringing back now-expired provisions of the Patriot Act to allow for the NSA to collect and store bulk telephone metadata. Trump said: "I assume that when I pick up my telephone, people are listening to my conversations anyway." Trump has called NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden a "total traitor" and has accused him of being a spy. Snowden responded by saying: "It's very difficult to respond in a serious way to any statement that’s made by Donald Trump." In February 2016, Trump urged his supporters to boycott Apple Inc. unless the company agrees to build a custom backdoor for the FBI to unlock the password-protected iPhone connected to one of the perpetrators of the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, a move that Apple argues would threaten the security and privacy of its users. Trump himself still uses his iPhone to send out tweets. Drug policy See also: Federal drug policy of the United States Trump's views on drug policy have shifted dramatically over time. At a luncheon hosted by the Miami Herald in April 1990, Trump told a crowd of 700 people that U.S. drug enforcement policy was a "a joke," and that: "We're losing badly the war on drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars." In his campaign for the presidency in 2015 and 2016, however, Trump adopted "drug warrior" positions and has sought advice on the issue from William J. Bennett, who served as the U.S. first "drug czar" in the 1980s "and has remained a proponent of harsh 1980s-style drug war tactics." Trump told Sean Hannity in June 2015 that he opposes marijuana legalization and that "I feel strongly about that." Trump also claims to have personally never tried controlled substances of any kind. Trump has voiced support for medical marijuana, saying that he is "a hundred percent in favor" because "I know people that have serious problems... and... it really, really does help them." When asked about Colorado (where recreational use of marijuana is legal), Trump softened his previously expressed views and essentially said that states should be able to decide on whether marijuana for recreational purposes should be legal. Education Trump has stated his support for school choice and local control for primary and secondary schools. On school choice he's commented, "Our public schools are capable of providing a more competitive product than they do today. Look at some of the high school tests from earlier in this century and you’ll wonder if they weren't college-level tests. And we’ve got to bring on the competition—open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children. Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships. I call it competition—the American way." Trump has blasted the Common Core State Standards Initiative, calling it a "total disaster." Trump has asserted that Common Core is "education through Washington D.C.," a claim which Politifact and other journalists have rated "false," since the adoption and implementation of Common Core is a state choice, not a federal one. Eminent domain Trump has called eminent domain "wonderful" and repeatedly asked the government to invoke it on his behalf during past development projects. Gun regulation While campaigning for the presidency in 2015 and 2016, Trump called for the expansion of gun rights. He had proposed the elimination of prohibitions on assault weapons, military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines (which Trump described as "scary sounding phrases" used by gun control advocates "to confuse people") and proposed making concealed carry permits valid nationwide, rather than on the current state-to-state basis. Trump has said that concealed carry "is a right, not a privilege." He has called for an overhaul of the current federal background check system, arguing that "Too many states are failing to put criminal and mental health records into the system." On the campaign trail, Trump has praised the National Rifle Association (NRA) and has described himself as a staunch advocate of the Second Amendment. Trump has asserted that the presence of more guns in schools and public places could have stopped mass shootings such as those in Paris, San Bernardino, California, and Umpqua Community College. Trump's position in 2015 and 2016 marks something of a shift from his views as expressed in his 2000 book The America We Deserve, in which Trump wrote that he generally opposed gun control but supported a ban on assault weapons and slightly longer waiting periods to purchase a gun. In 2015, Trump said that he holds a New York concealed carry permit and that "I carry on occasion, sometimes a lot. I like to be unpredictable." A 1987 Associated Press story said that he held a handgun permit at that time. LGBT issues LGB anti-discrimination laws In a February 2000 interview with The Advocate, Trump said he supported amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include the category sexual orientation and supported federal hate crime legislation that would cover sexual orientation. LGB military service In an October 1999 appearance on Meet the Press, Trump said gays openly serving in the military was "not something that would disturb me." Same-sex marriage Trump has stated that he supports traditional marriage. About the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, he said: "I would have preferred states, you know, making the decision and I let that be known. But they made the decision. ... So, at a certain point you have to be realistic about it." Later, in the run up to the Iowa caucuses on February 1, 2016, Trump stated that if elected he would strongly consider appointing Supreme Court justices that would overturn the ruling. In 2015, Gregory T. Angelo, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans (a pro-LGBT organization), had described Trump as "one of the best, if not the best, pro-gay Republican candidates to ever run for the presidency." The group has since questioned his LGBT support, releasing a video portraying him as inconsistent on gay marriage. Technology and net neutrality Trump is opposed to net neutrality, asserting that it is "Obama's attack on the internet" and saying that it "will target the conservative media." The Free Press Action Fund, a group of tech policy activists, rated Trump the worst 2016 presidential candidate for "citizens' digital lives," citing his positions opposing reforming the Patriot Act, favoring Internet censorship, and opposing net neutrality. Veterans Affairs Trump favors getting rid of backlogs and wait-lists which are the focus of the Veterans Health Administration scandal. In a statement, he said he believes that Veterans Affairs facilities need to be upgraded with recent technology, hire more veterans to treat other veterans, increase support of female veterans, and create satellite clinics within hospitals in rural areas. The veterans group Concerned Veterans for America criticized Trump's plan for its vagueness, calling it "unserious" and "heavy of rhetoric, light on specifics." Environmental and energy policy Climate change, carbon emissions, and pollution Trump contends that global warming is "a total hoax." He has said that "the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive," a statement which Trump later said was a joke. Trump criticized President Obama's description of climate change as "the greatest threat to future generations" for being "naive" and "one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard." Trump wrote in his 2011 book that he opposed a cap-and-trade system to control carbon emissions. Although "not a believer in climate change," Trump has stated that "clean air is a pressing problem" and has said: "You want to have clean air, clean water. That's very important to me." Trump has said "we're practically not allowed to use coal any more," a statement rated "mostly false" by Politifact. Renewable energy Trump supports a higher ethanol mandate (the amount of ethanol required by federal regulation to be blended into the U.S. gasoline supply). Despite expressing hatred for wind farms in the past (calling them "ugly"), Trump has said that does not oppose the wind production tax credit, saying: "I'm okay with subsidies, to an extent." Political reform Trump and supporters at a rally in Muscatine, Iowa, January 2016. Multiple supporters hold up signs stating "The silent majority stands with Trump." Campaign finance Trump has repeatedly stated, "I love the idea of campaign finance reform." In the first Republican primary debate in Cleveland on Fox News, Trump accused his Republican opponents of being bound to their campaign financiers, and that anyone (including Trump himself) could buy their policies with donations. Trump has stated that it is wrong that as a rich person he can have more influence than people without money. He has stated limits to contributions or spending would be "okay", although has not stated whether this would be achieved by further limits on contributions, regulating corporate spending, total limits on spending in elections, all of these or a combination. District of Columbia statehood In August 2015, Trump said that if he were president, he would consider the possibility of statehood for the District of Columbia, and would favor "whatever's best for them." In an interview with the Washington Post in March 2016, Trump said that though he didn't yet have a position on statehood, it would be something that "I don’t think I’d be inclined to do". He also said that "having representation would be okay". Foreign and defense policy Trump has not unveiled a team of foreign-policy advisers, despite repeated promises to do so. When asked about who he was consulting with on foreign policy during an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Trump responded with "I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things". Diplomacy Trump has stated his intention to provide presidential leadership with strong diplomacy to restore "respect" for the United States around the world and he supports a robust national defense. In an interview with O'Reilly, Trump claimed that he had a proven record in negotiating with foreign countries. "I've made a fortune with foreign countries." He argued that "[t]here's nobody bigger or better at the military than I am." Trump has argued that unlike his opponents he would not reveal his military strategies to the enemy. "I don't want them to know what I'm thinking, does that make sense? I want people to be guessing ... I don't want people to figure it out. I don't want people to know what my plan is. I have plans. I have plans! But I don't want to do it." Once elected he would find a "proper general", a Patton or a McArthur who would "hit [ISIL] so hard your head would spin." Defense policy Internet security Trump said in a December 2015 rally, "We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some ways. Somebody will say, 'Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people." In the December Republican debate, Donald Trump said that the internet should be shut off to countries that have a majority of their territory controlled by terrorist organizations. Interrogation Trump has stated that he would reinstate waterboarding as an interrogation technique, and "a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding." When asked about his comments on CNN, Trump said, "They're chopping heads of Christians and many other people in the Middle East." Trump said, "They're chopping heads off. They laugh at us when they hear that we're not going to approve waterboarding ... It works, okay? It works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn't work." Trump has called for the reintroduction of waterboarding and "a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding" on captured prisoners, which would contravene international law under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. In an interview, Trump stated "We’re going to have to do what Israel was doing for a period of time. 'Take out' means you have to wipe out their homes where they came from." Intentionally targeting non-combatants is a violation of the Geneva Convention and other aspects of the international law of war. Iraq War In 2002, when asked by radio talk-show host Howard Stern if he supported an invasion of Iraq, Trump responded, "Yeah, I guess so". On March 21, 2003, one day into the Iraq war, Trump was interviewed by Fox News' Neil Cavuto and said the war appears to be "a tremendous success from a military standpoint." Trump subsequently dropped his support for the Iraq War. Trump first publicly criticized the war sixteen months after the invasion in an interview published in Esquire in August 2004. In that issue, Trump stated: "Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we're in," criticized the George W. Bush administration's handling of the war, dismissed the idea of Iraq becoming functionally democratic, and predicting that "Two minutes after we leave, there's going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over. And he'll have weapons of mass destruction, which Saddam didn't have." On the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016, Trump has repeatedly claimed to have been "against the war from the very beginning." Nuclear policy In his announcement speech, Trump said that the U.S.'s control is getting weaker and that its nuclear arsenal is old and does not work, although he appeared to be unfamiliar with the term "nuclear triad" when asked by Hugh Hewitt in a December 2015 debate what specific improvements he would make. Syrian Civil War and ISIL Trump has described his plans for dealing with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in several debates and interviews. In December 2015, he said: The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families; when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families. — Donald Trump, 2 December 2015 On December 9, 2015, Jonathan Russell, head of policy for the anti-radicalization think tank Quilliam, warned that Trump's "anti-Muslim rhetoric" helps ISIL's narrative, saying "Trump will contribute to Islamist radicalization as his comments will make Muslims feel unwelcome in America. This grievance will fuel their identity crisis, which when combined are a potent combination for the vulnerability that ISIS is so adept at exploiting with their Islamist narrative." Trump has claimed that he would "bomb the hell" out of Iraqi oil fields controlled by ISIL. In the aftermath of the November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris, which were committed by ISIL, Trump reiterated his statements about ISIL from November 12, 2015, when he stated he would "bomb the shit out of 'em" and said "I'd blow up the [oil] pipes, I'd blow up the refineries, and you know what, you'll get Exxon to come in there in two months... and I'd take the oil." Trump said in an interview with Anderson Cooper "There is no Iraq. Their leaders are corrupt." In 2015 when asked how he would deal with Iraq's condemnation of strikes on their oil fields, Trump replied that Iraq is a corrupt country that is not deserving of his respect. Trump's first post-announcement interview on June 17, 2015, was with Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor. One of several issues he highlighted was his proposed strategy in dealing with the Syrian Civil War. He observed that while Syria was supposed to be America's enemy he felt that Bashar al-Assad "looks a lot better than some of our so-called friends." Instead of fighting ISIS in Syria, Trump would cut off ISIS' access to capital by bombing the oil fields that ISIS controls while letting Iran and Russia protect Syria. He suggests, "It's really rather amazing, maybe Syria should be a free zone for ISIS, let them fight and then you pick up the remnants." In the fourth Republican debate on November 10, 2015, Trump said he "got to know [ Vladimir Putin ] very well because we were both on '60 Minutes', we were stable mates, we did well that night." Trump said he approved of Russia's intervention in Syria, stating: "If Putin wants to knock the hell out of ISIS, I’m all for it 100 percent and I can’t understand how anybody would be against that ... He‘s going in and we can go in and everybody should go in." During his speech at the Oklahoma State Fair, Trump accused his opponents of wanting to "start World War III over Syria." Alliances Trump has stated, "We Americans are laughed at around the world for losing a hundred and fifty billion dollars year after year, for defending wealthy nations for nothing, nations that would be wiped off the face of the earth in about 15 minutes if it weren’t for us. Our ‘allies’ are making billions screwing us." Trump has called for allied countries, including Japan, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Israel, to pay the United States for helping protect their nations. NATO In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump made the case that European countries used NATO as a pathway to place the burden of international responsibility on the United States while “their conflicts are not worth American lives. Pulling back from Europe would save this country millions of dollars annually.” Donald Trump called for a "rethink" of American involvement in NATO, stating that the United States pays too much to ensure the security of allies, stating that "NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we're protecting Europe with NATO, but we're spending a lot of money". Later in the same interview on CNN in March 2016, he clarified his position, stating that the US should not decrease its role, rather decrease US spending in regards to the organisation. Countries Iran If elected, Trump says he would prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Trump has criticized the international nuclear agreement with Iran (negotiated with the U.S. and five other world powers) that was made in 2015, calling it "terrible" and saying that the Obama administration negotiated the agreement "from desperation." Trump later said that the U.S. was a "dumb son of a bitch" for agreeing to the deal. Trump opposed the sanctions relief in the agreement, saying: "we're giving them billions of dollars in this deal, which we shouldn't have given them. We should have kept the money." In opposing the Iran agreement, Trump cited four American prisoners being held prisoner in the country. When the four prisoners were released in January 2016, after the agreement went into effect, Trump claimed credit for the release. In September 2015, Trump told CNN that he believed the agreement would compel the U.S. to side with Iran in the event of war: "There's something in the Iran deal that people I don't think really understand or know about, and nobody’s able to explain it, that if somebody attacks Iran, we have to come to their defense. So if Israel attacks Iran, according to that deal, I believe the way it reads [...] that we have to fight with Iran against Israel." This assertion is false, as the agreement has no such provision. Trump has said that despite opposing the content of the deal, he would seek to it rather as president rather than seek to abrogate it. When questioned on his "new deal with Iran" Trump responded that "Iran is doing nuclear. They're going nuclear." He would "put on the sanctions big league. I'd double and triple up the sanctions and make a deal from strength." According to Trump, nuclear weapons, not global warming, is America's biggest problem. Trump said that any deal will Iran should stipulate that inspectors have 24-hour-a-day access immediately to all nuclear sites and made reference to U.S. nationals imprisoned the country. Israel and Palestine Trump lent his personal jet to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani so that the latter could show solidarity for terror victims in Israel in 2001, and he was the grand marshal of the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York in 2004. Trump has been a popular figure in Israel, where his name has been used to sell products such as vodka. Trump had formerly owned land in Israel, having purchased the Elite Tower site for $44 million. Speaking in 2006, Trump said that Israel was one of his favorite countries, adding: "I know that you’ve been through a lot recently... I believe Israel is a great country.” Trump released a video endorsing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the 2013 Israeli elections. In 2015, when Trump won the Liberty Award at the Second Annual Algemeiner Jewish 100 Gala in honor of his positive contributions to Israel–United States relations, he stated: “We love Israel, we will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1000 percent, it will be there forever”. In December 2015, Trump told the Associated Press that an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord would depend very much upon Israel, remarking: "I have a real question as to whether or not both sides want to” come to a peace accord. "A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal — whether or not Israel's willing to sacrifice certain things." After Trump proposed in December 2015 to temporarily exclude Muslims from travel to the United States, numerous leaders, including Netanyahu, criticized Trump's proposal - Netanyahu released a statement saying: "The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens." Several dozen Israeli Knesset members, many of whom are Muslim themselves, signed a petition urging Netanyahu not to meet with Trump later that month; a day later, Trump postponed his visit to Israel until "a later date after I become President of the U.S.", stating that he did not want to put Netanyahu "under pressure". Trump said that he would not take sides in any Israeli-Palestinian agreement in order to be a neutral negotiator in the peace talks despite also adding that he is "totally pro-Israel". At a press conference in March 2016, Trump said that as president, he would require nations to re-compensate for the foreign aid that they have received. When specifically asked whether his previously stated stance on charging U.S allies for defense spending would extend to Israel, he replied "I think Israel would do that also. There are many countries that can pay, and they can pay big-league."  However, immediately after the press conference, Trump reversed himself on that position of aid to Israel, adding, “They [Israel] help us greatly.” Trump has said on more than one occasion that if elected president he will move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he described as the "eternal capital of the Jewish people", although in an earlier speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition, Trump had refused to say whether he supports Israel's position that Jerusalem is its undivided capital. Trump has vowed that as president he will veto a UN imposed Israel-Palestine peace agreement, stating: "When I’m president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the U.N. to impose its will on the Jewish state. It will be vetoed 100 percent." He added that "The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable." Trump has criticized the Palestinian Authority for the absence of peace, saying: "the Palestinian Authority has to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. …[and they] have to stop the terror, stop the attacks, stop the teaching of hatred... They have to stop the teaching of children to aspire to grow up as terrorists, which is a real problem. Of course, the recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is also a major sticking point, with the current Palestinian leadership repeatedly refusing to meet that basic condition." Libya Trump believes the 2011 military intervention in Libya was a mistake, saying that Libya was better off under the rule of Muammar Gaddafi because of the current Libyan civil war and rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In February 2011 Trump actually urged American intervention saying that "we have go in to save these lives". Trump has advocated for shrewdness when dealing with political leaders like Muammar Gaddafi. North Korea Trump has advocated for greater pressure on China, including through restrictions on trade, to rein in its ally North Korea in the wake of the 2016 North Korea nuclear test. He has described North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-un as a "maniac" but also claimed that Kim deserves "credit" for being able to overcome his rivals in order to succeed his father. Pakistan Trump has been critical of Pakistan, comparing it to North Korea, calling it "probably the most dangerous country" in the world, and claiming that Pakistan's nuclear weapons posed a "serious problem." He has advocated improving relations with India as a supposed "check" to Pakistan. Russia Trump criticized former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev as not having a firm enough hand controlling Russia and mentioned China for effectively handling the situation during the Tiananmen Square massacre as horrible but "shows you the power of strength". After Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Trump using the Russian word "yarkiy" which some translated as "bright and talented", Trump called the praise a great honor and shrugged off allegations of Putin's alleged assassination of journalists and dissidents by saying that Putin is "running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country". Ukraine In July 2015 Trump opposed U.S. involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, describing the Crimea as "Europe's problem." In August 2015 Trump stated he "did not care" about Ukrainian NATO-membership. Claiming that both a membership and non-membership would be "great". Speaking to the Yalta European Strategy conference in September 2015, Trump criticized Germany and other European countries for not doing enough to support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, saying, Ukrainians are "not being treated right." He also claimed that because of Russian President Putin did not respect President Obama Russia had pursued an aggressive policy in Ukraine. In March 2016 Trump again claimed that Germany and other NATO countries "they're not doing anything" while the U.S. was "doing all of the lifting" even though "Ukraine is a country that affects us far less than it affects other countries in Nato".