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Four little words have critics pouncing on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, charging that the candidate is already backing away from what he has said on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, supporters argue that as a skilled negotiator, Trump is doing what every president must do to get things done in Washington.
The four words in question: “It is a suggestion.”
During an interview Wednesday with Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, the real estate tycoon said his December proposal for a ban on Muslims entering the United States was “just a suggestion,” adding that it “hasn’t been called for yet,” according to CNN.
Trump contradicted a campaign release at the time that said: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
As might be expected, the issue came up Friday in an appearance on NBC’s “Today,” and Trump insisted he wasn’t changing his tone.
“Look, anything I say right now — I’m not the president, everything is a suggestion,” he said. “No matter what you say, it is a suggestion.”
“No, I’m not softening my stance at all but I’m always flexible on issues,” Trump added later.
With Trump now pivoting to the general election, it’s not unexpected that he will move away from some of the hyperbole employed during the primary.
And while some may argue that President Barack Obama proved to be an exception, every president has to triangulate, work with Congress and cut deals to solve problems.
Trump said Friday on “Fox and Friends” that he has enlisted the help of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani to do just that.
“I feel very strongly that we have to find out what the problem is,” Trump said. “When you look at San Bernardino, when you look at Paris, when you look at all of these horrible, horrible acts of hatred, this is pure hatred. We have to find out and get to the bottom of the problem before we can solve it.”
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