TOPICS > Politics > Election 2016

What does Donald Trump believe? Where the candidate stands on 10 issues

BY and   June 16, 2015 at 12:08 PM EDT  | Updated: Feb 2, 2016 at 5:56 PM
As primary season heats up, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to prove that he can translate massive crowds and poll leads into election wins. Photo by Marvin Gentry/Reuters

As primary season heats up, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to prove that he can translate massive crowds and poll leads into election wins. Photo by Marvin Gentry/Reuters

He is a cultural phenomenon, television showman and billionaire whose business runs from real estate to clothing to international beauty pageants. Donald John Trump earned an economics degree from the University of Pennsylvania and currently has, by far, the largest Twitter following in the Republican field, eclipsing @POTUS as of the publishing time for this piece. He has been an Emmy nominee, best-selling author and was twice named statesman of the year in Sarasota, Florida. The New Yorker has thoughts on the decor at the U.N. and follows leadership changes at the Federal Reserve. Here is where Donald Trump stands on ten key issues.

Budget: Government must cut spending more.

Speaking on Fox News in 2013, Donald Trump said that automatic budget cuts, or sequester, does not go far enough and Congress must reduce spending further to address impending increases in the deficit.

READ MORE: What does Ted Cruz believe?

Climate Change: It is a hoax.

Trump does not believe climate change is real, tweeting out his skepticism with strong language and calling it a hoax on Fox News in 2014. In a 2012 Twitter post which is no longer accessible, Trump charged that the concept of climate change was created by the Chinese to supress the U.S. economy. (He insisted last month that he was just joking about that comment.) In addition, Trump has expressed firm opposition to wind turbines, which he sees as an environmental and aesthetic problem.

Watch the PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate, 9 p.m. EST Feb. 11, on your local PBS station, and in our live stream, which will begin at 8:30 p.m.

Entitlements: Do not cut Social Security or Medicare benefits. Grow the economy to save those programs.

The real estate tycoon told CPAC in 2013 that Republicans should not cut Social Security or Medicare because most Americans want to keep the benefits as they stand now. His solution is unclear, but he has indicated that general economic growth would play a role. Trump tweeted in May that he knows “where to get the money from” and “nobody else does.”

Gun Control: Limit restrictions on guns. Ban some assault weapons and extend the waiting period for purchase.

During a 2013 interview with Fox News, the real estate mogul defined himself as, “a very strong person on the Second Amendment.” He believes guns are necessary for self-defense and has written that he generally opposes gun control. In his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve” Trump wrote that he supports a ban on assault weapons and a slightly longer waiting period to buy a gun.

Immigration and Refugees: Deport all undocumented individuals. Freeze green cards. Ban all Muslims from entering the United States, at least temporarily.

The real estate CEO has an extensive immigration plan that centers around building a wall at the Mexican border, tripling the number of Immigration, Custom and Enforcement (ICE) officers and prioritizing removal of criminal undocumented immigrants. The wall would be paid for, in part, by seizing money undocumented immigrants attempt to send to Mexico.

READ MORE: What does John Kasich believe?

Separately, Trump has said that he would establish a “deportation force” to deport the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. In addition, Trump would end birthright citizenship, the automatic granting of U.S. citizenship to those born on U.S. soil. He would pause the issuing of all green cards and require employers first offer those jobs to American citizens. And he would cut off federal funding to so-called “sanctuary cities” which have an official policy protecting undocumented residents.

In a 2015 speech, he indicated that he believes half of the undocumented residents in America are criminals. In 2013 at CPAC, the businessman said Republicans should block any path to citizenship or voting status for undocumented immigrants but should expand legal immigration from Europe. In addition, Trump would give a legal status to foreign students who complete a degree at an American university.

Following the Paris Attacks, Trump called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Obamacare: Repeal it. Replace it.

Speaking at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January, Trump said Obamacare is a catastrophe that must be repealed and replaced. In 2011, Trump suggested that the health insurance industry have more ability to cross state lines. In “The America We Deserve” Trump wrote that he supported universal health care and a system that would mirror Canada’s government-run health care service.

READ MORE: What does Bernie Sanders believe?

Social Issues: Abortion should be limited. Marriage is between a man and a woman and should be defined state by state.

Describing himself as “pro-life,” Trump told Bloomberg News in January that he believes abortion should be banned at some point in pregnancy, with exceptions for rape, incest or life of the mother. In 2011 he explained to the Christian Broadcasting Network that he had changed his mind on the issue. In “The America We Deserve,” Trump then wrote that he supported a woman’s right to choose. In the same Bloomberg interview in January, the businessman asserted that he personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman. While he sees it as a state issue, Trump indicated that the Supreme Court could issue a ruling to determine the law.

Taxes: Fewer tax brackets with lower tax rates.

As president, Trump says he would push a tax reform plan that would collapse the current seven tax brackets into four and significantly reduce income taxes for most Americans. Married couples earning up to $50,000 would pay no income tax. The highest rate, 35 percent, would apply to those making over $477,450.

In his 2011 book “Time to Get Tough,” Trump proposed a five-tiered system and a one-time 14.25 percent tax on America’s wealthiest residents in order to pay down the national debt.

Iran and Israel: Walk away from nuclear talks. Increase sanctions.

Trump has said that the U.S. is mishandling current Iran negotiations and should have walked away from the table once Tehran reportedly rejected the idea of sending enriched uranium to Russia. The real estate developer told Fox News that he would increase sanctions on the Persian state. Trump has been sharply critical of the Obama administration’s handling of relations with Israel and has called for a closer alliance with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

READ MORE: What does Hillary Clinton believe?

Islamic State and Iraq: Send U.S. ground troops to target oil-rich areas.

Trump would aim to target and capture oil-producing or oil-selling areas controlled by the Islamic State. In August, he told MSNBC he would put boots on the ground in those areas. He has stated that the United States needs to look tougher on the world stage and that its leaders should not broadcast their plans ahead of time.

In early 2015, Trump told Fox News that he would send limited numbers of troops to fight the Islamic State group if all of his military advisers recommended it.

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