Donald Trump’s detractors and even his supporters are intensely curious to see where the president-elect stands now that the people have spoken. This week, Trump sat down with the editors of the Wall Street Journal for his first interview since his upset victory, giving Americans a glimpse of what he intends to do once taking office on January 20.
As might be expected, the conversation quickly turned to Obamacare, which Trump has promised to repeal and replace – one promise that enjoys overwhelming support among both his voters and a Republican Congress. Trump said in the interview that he would be moving “quickly” to fulfill that promise, insisting that the ACA had become so expensive that “you can’t use it.”
At the same time, Trump – ever the dealmaker – said there could be room for compromise as the country moves forward on healthcare. He expressed admiration for certain elements of the law, such as those that protect Americans with pre-existing conditions and the one that allows young people to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26.
“I like those very much,” Trump said.
The question is, of course, how you can keep those aspects of the law in place without keeping things like the individual mandate. The aspects Trump likes are the “good parts.” But those “good parts” are only possible because of the bad parts; i.e. federal subsidies and a government mandate to purchase health insurance. If the answer is entitlement expansion, how are we not trading one tax for another? It will be interesting to see how Trump and the Republican Congress answers these thorny questions.
Trump, less controversially, also told the Wall Street Journal that financial deregulation will be among his first priorities. He said Dodd-Frank was a “tremendous burden to the banks” that would have to be scrapped or minimized so that banks could again open up loans to struggling America.
“I can borrow money,” Trump said. “The people who are really good, but need money to open a business or expand a business, can’t borrow money from the banks.”
Trump also expressed interest in moving forward on an infrastructure bill, the renegotiation of America’s trade deals, and a secure border.
On foreign policy, Trump said he was in favor of a new approach to the fight against ISIS.
“My attitude was you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS,” Trump said. “Russia is now totally aligned with Syria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful, because of us, is aligned with Syria. Now we’re backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are.”
The Trump Doctrine – America First – is already becoming clear. Trump the Campaigner is morphing into Trump the President. So far, so good.