WH on Trump Policy Shift: ‘The Issue Is Evolving Towards the Position That He Articulated’

Melanie Arter | April 14, 2017 | 12:34pm EDT
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President Donald Trump (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - When asked to explain some of President Donald Trump’s recent policy shifts, the White House said Thursday that in some cases - NATO, for example - the issue is evolving towards the position that the president articulated.

“I think you can look at what you're referring to as a shift in a lot of ways,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in response to a question about what the American people should make of the policy shifts the president has made on issues such as labeling China as a currency manipulator and asking Congress to do away with the Export-Import Bank.



“By that I mean I saw a couple instances with respect to NATO being one of those shifts yesterday, and if you look at what’s happened, those entities, or individuals in some cases, are issues evolving towards the president’s position. And NATO, in particular, he talked about the need of countries to pay their fair share, to live up to their commitments of 2 percent of GDP. He talked about the need for NATO to focus more on terrorism. NATO has done just that,” Spicer said.

“And it's something that he pointed out in the debate -- the first debate in September of last year. He talked about the fact that NATO is moving towards what he has been calling for, and I think in some cases, the issues evolve -- that it's not just a clear and fast statement that this is -- the entity itself is moving towards his -- or the issue is evolving towards the position that he articulated,” Spicer said.

“And that can't be proven more true in the case of NATO, where he laid out two very clear positions that he had an issue with NATO, and as far back as September of last year, started to recognize that that institution was moving much more towards his position. The Secretary General noted that as well yesterday,” Spicer added.

“The Ex-Im Bank is another one. That's an institution that hasn’t changed at all. So I'm wondering, on some of these other policy shifts where you haven't seen the type of change you're talking about with NATO, what should we make of those kinds of shifts? And again, are there any policy areas that are nonnegotiable, that are off limits?” a reporter asked Thursday.

“I think that there’s going to be areas where I think, again, it depends on the outcome. In the case of NATO, in particular, as I pointed out, it's the most illustrative,” Spicer said.

“I think you look at the president’s position, where he wanted to see NATO, in particular, evolve to, and it's moving exactly in the direction that he said it was in terms of its goals of increasing the amount of participation from other member countries, and, two, as having a greater focus on terrorism -- something that was reinforced by the Secretary General himself when he was here,” he added.

“I think when you look at these issues and you recognize the direction in which they’re moving, they’re moving in a direction that the president stated very clearly,” Spicer said.

During the campaign, Trump said he would order his Treasury secretary to label China a currency manipulator immediately after taking office, but in an interview Wednesday with the Wall Street Journal, the president said he won’t label China a currency manipulator after all. He said the U.S. dollar “is getting too strong” and wants the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low.

When asked what message Trump’s reversal on China sends to his supporters, Spicer said, “I think the president’s tough talk was on a variety of subjects -- was to gets results for the American people. That’s what he has pledged to do, to get more jobs here, to grow more manufacturing, to keep our country safe.

“The president and President Xi had a great meeting. The president likes President Xi and got to know him really well in Mar-a-Lago and I think has established a really good relationship moving forward. But at the end of the day, this is always about developing a better situation for the American people, and I think he’s done that,” Spicer added.

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