"The death penalty. It should be brought back and it should be brought back strong... They say it's not a deterrent. Well, you know what, maybe it's not a deterrent but these two [men convicted of killing two police officers in Hattiesburg, MS] will not do any more killing. That's for sure."
Source: The Right Scoop, "Donald Trump: Death Penalty Needs to Be Brought Back Strong for Cop Killing Thugs in Mississippi," therightscoop.com, May 11, 2015
Pro Should Law Enforcement Be Allowed to Use Racial Profiling?
"Well, I think there can be profiling. I mean… If they thought there was something wrong with that group and they saw what was happening, and they didn't want to call the police because they didn't want to be profiling, I think that's pretty bad. People are dead. A lot of people are dead right now. So everybody wants to be politically correct, and that's part of the problem that we have with our country… We are having a problem with radical -- with the radicals in the Muslim group. Let's not kid ourselves. And you can say it, or you don't have to say it. And maybe you won't even want to. But I've been saying it loud and strong. So if you have people coming out of mosques with hatred and with death in their eyes and on their minds, we're going to have to do something, John. We can't just say, 'We're not going to look at it.' Now I made that statement a number of weeks ago. It took a lot of -- you know, a lot of, whatever, a lot of people were not exactly thrilled with it. And now everybody seems to agree with me… You have people that have to be tracked. If they're Muslims, they're Muslims. But you have people that have to be tracked. And we've better be --I use the word vigilance. We have to show vigilance. We have to have it. And if we don't, we're foolish people."
Source: CBS News, "Face the Nation Transcripts December 6, 2015: Trump, Christie, Sanders," cbsnews.com, Dec. 6, 2015
Con Should Supreme Court Justice Scalia's Replacement Be Chosen by President Obama?
"Well, I can say this. If the President, and if I were President now I would certainly want to try and nominate a justice. I'm sure that, frankly, I'm absolutely sure that President Obama will try and do it. I hope that our Senate is going to be able -- Mitch, and the entire group, is going to be able to do something about it.
In times of delay, we could have a Diane Sykes, or you could have a Bill Pryor [two federal judges], we have some fantastic people. But this is a tremendous blow to conservatism. It's a tremendous blow, frankly to our country... I think he's going to do it whether or I'm OK with it or not. I think it's up to Mitch McConnell, and everybody else to stop it. It's called delay, delay, delay."
Source: Team Fix, "The CBS News Republican Debate Transcript, Annotated," washingtonpost.com, Feb. 13, 2016
Should the United States Continue the War on Drugs?
"[George] Stephanopoulos: You used to think that legalization [of drugs], taking the profit out, would solve that problem. What changed your mind?
Trump: Well, I did and I—I—not think about it, I said it's something that should be studied and maybe should continue to be studied. But it's not something I'd be willing to do right now. I think it's something that I've always said maybe it has to be looked at because we do such a poor job of policing. We don't want to build walls. We don't want to do anything. And if you're not going to want to do the policing, you're going to have to start thinking about other alternatives. But it's not something that I would want to do. But it's something that certainly has been looked at and I looked at it. If we police properly, we shouldn't do that."
Source: ABC News, "'This Week' Transcript: Ben Carson and Donald Trump," abcnews.go.com, Nov. 8, 2015
Pro Should Churches (Defined as Churches, Temples, Mosques, Synagogues, etc.) Remain Tax-Exempt?
"An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. Their voice has been taken away. I will work hard to repeal that language and to protect free speech for all Americans."
Source: Donald J. Trump, "Full Text: Donald Trump 2016 RNC Draft Speech Transcript," politico.com, July 21, 2016
Pro Does Lowering the Corporate Income Tax Rate Create Jobs?
"Lower the corporate tax rate to 15% to unleash American ingenuity here at home and make us more globally competitive. This tax cut puts our rate 10 percentage points below China and 20 points below our current burdensome rate that pushes companies and jobs offshore."
Source: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., "Reforming the US-China Trade Relationship to Make America Great Again," donaldjtrump.com (accessed Aug. 9, 2016)
"Let me just set it straight. I put in the biggest tax decrease of anyone running for office so far. And that really is a proposal because we have to go to Congress... I said I may have to increase it on the wealthy. I'm not going to allow it to be increased on the middle class. Now, if I increase on the wealthy, that means they're still going to being paying less than they pay now. I'm not talking about increasing [the tax rate] at this point. I'm talking about increasing [the numbers] from my tax proposal."
Source: Eric Levitz, "Donald Trump Does Not Want to Raise Taxes on the Wealthy," nymag.com, May 9, 2016
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should There Be a Flat Tax on Income?
"Well, I think fair tax is okay. And I think flat tax is okay. But, I think the simplest thing to get approved is just the simplification of the existing. You know, we can just simplify the existing, and then we can start thinking about other things. But, to move fast, the simplification would be very easy. I mean, we could take so many of these deductions, these false deductions off and lower, which, by the way, benefit the wealthy. And lower taxes."
Source: Ian Hanchett, "Trump: 'Flat Tax Is Okay,'" www.breitbart.com, Aug. 22, 2015
"Dodd-Frank has been a disaster, making it harder for small businesses to get the credit they need. The policies of the Clintons brought us the financial recession – through lifting Glass-Steagall, pushing subprime lending, and blocking reforms to Fannie and Freddie. It’s time for a 21st century Glass Steagall."
Source: Tim Hains, "Trump Proposes 'New Deal for Black America' in Charlotte," realclearpolitics.com, Oct. 26, 2016
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should the US Return to the Gold Standard in Which Coin and Currency Are Backed by Gold?
"[Josh McElveen:] Can you envision a scenario that this country ever goes back to the gold standard?
Donald Trump: Well, in some ways, I like the gold standard. In some ways, I like the gold standard. There's something very nice about the gold standard. And you have to go back at right time when gold does the old crash-o. But, you know, there's something very nice about having something solid. We used to have a very very solid country because it was based on a gold standard. We don't have that anymore. There is something very nice about the concept of that. It would be very very hard to do at this point. And one of the problems is we don't have the gold. Other places have the gold."
Source: Pittsburgh’s Action News 4, "Conversation with the Candidate: Donald Trump," www.wtae.com, Mar. 31, 2015
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should Social Security Be Privatized?
"We have to make our country rich again so we do that, so we can save Social Security. Because I'm not a cutter; I'll probably be the only Republican that does not want to cut Social Security. I'm not a cutter of Social Security; I want to make the country rich so that Social Security can be afforded, and Medicare and Medicaid. Get rid of the waste, get rid of the fraud, but you deserve your Social Security; you've been paying your Security. And like, I like Congressman Ryan, I like a lot of the people that are talking about you know cutting Social Security, and by the way the Democrats are eating your lunch on this issue. It's an issue that you're not going to win; you've got to make the country rich again and strong again so that you can afford it, and so you can afford military, and all of the other things."
Source: P2016.org, "Donald Trump, Iowa Freedom Summit, Hoyt-Sherman Place, Des Moines, Iowa, January 24, 2015," p2016.org, Jan. 24, 2015
Pro Is the Growth of Charter Schools Good for Education in America?
"Charter schools, in particular, have demonstrated amazing gains and results in providing education to disadvantaged children and the success of these schools will be a top priority for my Administration.
They also produce competition that causes better outcomes for everyone."
Source: Donald Trump, "Trump Outlines Bold New Plan for School Choice," donaldjtrump.com, Sep. 8, 2016
Con Are the Common Core Standards Good for Education in America?
"I'm a tremendous believer in education. But education has to be at a local level. We cannot have the beuraucrats in Washington telling you how to manage your child's education.
So Common Core's a total disaster. We can't let it continue. We are rated 28 in the world--the United States!--think of it!--28 in the world--and, frankly, we spend far more per pupil than any other country in the world by far, it's not even a close second. So here we are, we spend more money, and we're rated 28--third world countries are ahead of us.
We're gonna end Common Core, we're gonna have education an absolute priority."
Source: Donald Trump, Facebook post, facebook.com, Jan. 26, 2016
"On education, it is time to have school choice, merit pay for teachers, and to end the tenure policies that hurt good teachers and reward bad teachers. We are going to put students and parents first."
Source:Politico, "Full text: Donald Trump Campaign Speech in Wisconsin," politico, Aug. 17, 2016
Con Should Any Public Colleges or Universities Be Tuition-Free?
"Well, there's no such thing as free education, because you know that ultimately somebody else is going to be paying for that education. And, so, as a, I can't believe I'm saying this as a politician, I'm not a politician, but as somebody that's now in politics, in the political world, I'd love to say 'free education!' but, again, if somebody gets free education, all of the people paying their rates are going to go up… You take a look at how college costs are rising and there's no reason for it. They are letting them go up and the problem is the students are getting crushed because, again, the government just keeps giving them more and more money and the students give them to the college. So it's not fair. We're going to really look into that because we have to keep it down. We have to keep it down. Some of the colleges do a good job. Many of them, I don't think they even care what the costs are because they get so much money. We're going to do something for the students. We're going to have something with extensions and lower interest rates and a lot of good things."
Source: Fox News Insider, "Trump: 'There's No Such Thing as Free Education,' Bernie," insider.foxnews.com, Apr. 3, 2016
Con Was the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision Good for America?
"Personally, I’d almost rather not see it [Citizens United]. Because I see all the money that’s being raised by these folks. They’re raising hundreds of millions of dollars and ultimately billions of dollars. From my personal standpoint, because I don’t need anybody’s money and I want to do it the old fashioned way. I don’t like the fact that lots of people are getting into the act. So personally, I wouldn’t like. Overall, I’m not sure it’s the worst thing in the world. I would like to see it a little bit differently where it’s not PACs. It’s a total phony deal."
Source: Richard Rubin and Sahil Kapur, "Donald Trump Likes Volcker—and His Rule," bloomberg.com, Aug. 4, 2015
Pro Should the Presidential Debates Include Third Party Candidates?
"QUESTION… Mr. Trump your reaction to the possibility that the Reform Party candidate may not be allowed in the presidential debates...
[Trump] It's disgraceful. It's amazing that they can get away with it. The Republicans and Democrats are the ones that, as you know, chose the - I guess you have three members of each and they're the ones that chose. If you look at your lobbyists and everyone else, they're all Republicans or Democrats.
And I'll add one additional thing. I watched the Republican debate last night and I'll tell you what: If the right person was debating against whoever the winner of that group is, they'd have a major impact on the election, because that was not a very inspiring group of people that I was watching last night.
So I think they're very concerned. I think they're extremely nervous about it. And I also think that probably the law may be - will be changed in this case, or the rule may be changed in this case, because it's just inconceivable to me that they can allow this to happen."
Source: CNN, "Jesse Ventura, Donald Trump Hold News Conference on Reform Party Presidential Race," cnn.com, Jan. 7, 2000
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should Felons Who Have Completed Their Sentences (Incarceration, Probation, and Parole) Be Allowed to Vote?
"They're [the state of Virginia] giving 200,000 people that have been convicted of heinous crimes, horrible crimes, the worst crimes, the right to vote because, you know what? They know they're gonna vote Democrat. They're gonna vote Democrat and that could be the swing. That’s how disgusting and dishonest our political system is."
Source: Right Side Broadcasting, "Full Speech: Donald Trump Holds Rally in Warwick, RI (4-25-16)," youtube.com, Apr. 25, 2016
[Editor's Note: We have classified Donald Trump as Not Clearly Pro or Con (NC) to our question, rather than Con, because it is not clear whether he thinks all felons who have served their sentences (including non-violent felons) should lose their ability to vote. In the above quote, Donald Trump is speaking specifically about 200,000 violent felons who had been given a blanket restoration of voting rights by the Governor of Virginia on Apr. 22, 2016.]
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should US Election Campaigns Be Publicly Financed?
"[Kyle] CHAPMAN: Pork-barreling is a term that I learned recently. And it just kind of refers to the idea of how big donors get rewarded with government projects and public contracts. What do you think about the idea of publicly financed campaigns in order to try to curtail that kind of activity?
TRUMP: Enh, I think it's fine but you know, it's the least of our problems."
Source: Jon Schwarz, "Trump Responds to Idea of Public Campaign Financing with an 'Enh,'" theintercept.com, Aug. 6, 2015
Pro Should New Fossil Fuel Leases on Federal Land Be Allowed?
"America's incredible energy potential remains untapped. It is a totally self-inflicted wound...
America has 1.5 times as much oil as the combined proven resources of all OPEC countries; we have more Natural Gas than Russia, Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia Combined; we have three times more coal than Russia. Our total untapped oil and gas reserves on federal lands equal an estimated $50 trillion.
We will become, and stay, totally independent of any need to import energy from the OPEC cartel or any nations hostile to our interests...
We're going to lift moratoriums on energy production in federal areas."
Source: Donald Trump, "An America First Energy Plan," donaldjtrump.com, May 26, 2016
"But they [Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders] want to absolutely knock out fracking. And you do that, you're going to be back into the Middle East and we're going to be begging for oil again. It's not going to happen. Not with me.
We're going to open it up. We're going to be energy independent. We're going to have all sorts of energy. We're going to have everything you can think of, including solar."
Source: Philip Bump, "There's a Lot to Unpack in Just One of Donald Trump's Answers about Energy Policy," washingtonpost.com, May 26, 2016
Pro Should the United States Build Additional Nuclear Power Plants?
"We will get the bureaucracy out of the way of innovation, so we can pursue all forms of energy. This includes renewable energies and the technologies of the future. It includes nuclear, wind and solar energy – but not to the exclusion of other energy. The government should not pick winners and losers. Instead, it should remove obstacles to exploration. Any market has ups and downs, but lifting these draconian barriers will ensure that we are no longer at the mercy of global markets."
Source: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., "An America First Energy Plan," donaldjtrump.com, May 26, 2016
Pro Is China an Economic or Military Threat to the United States?
"When was the last time you heard China is killing us? They're devaluing their currency to a level that you wouldn't believe. It makes it impossible for our companies to compete, impossible. They're killing us…
I love China. The biggest bank in the world is from China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In this building, in Trump Tower. I love China. People say, 'Oh, you don't like China?' No, I love them. But their leaders are much smarter than our leaders...
Now they're going militarily. They're building a military island in the middle of the South China sea. A military island. Now, our country could never do that because we'd have to get environmental clearance, and the environmentalist wouldn't let our country — we would never build in an ocean. They built it in about one year, this massive military port.
They're building up their military to a point that is very scary. You have a problem with ISIS. You have a bigger problem with China."
Source:Wall Street Journal, "Donald Trump Transcript: 'Our Country Needs a Truly Great Leader,'" blogs.wsj.com, June 16, 2015
Con Should the United States Maintain Its Embargo against Cuba?
"I think it's [easing restrictions on Cuba] fine. I think it's fine, but we should have made a better deal. The concept of opening with Cuba — 50 years is enough — the concept of opening with Cuba is fine. I think we should have made a stronger deal."
Source: Jamie Weinstein, "Donald Trump on His Nuclear Doctrine, Democracy Promotion and Why He Refuses to Use Term 'Supreme Leader,'" dailycaller.com, Sep. 7, 2015
Con Is the Nuclear Arms Deal with Iran Good for America?
"The Obama Administration's agreement with Iran is very dangerous.
Iran developing a nuclear weapon, either through uranium or nuclear fuel, and defying the world is still a very real possibility. The inspections will not be followed, and Iran will no longer have any sanctions. Iran gets everything and loses nothing.
Every promise the Obama Administration made in the beginning of negotiations, including the vow (made at the beginning of the negotiations) to get our great American prisoners returned to the U. S. has been broken. This is a bad deal that sets a dangerous precedent.
This deal sets off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which is the most-unstable region in the world. It is a horrible and perhaps catastrophic event for Israel.
Furthermore, we should have kept the billions of dollars we have agreed to pay them. Any great dealmaker would know this is a perfect example of 'tapping along' and because they have been unchecked for so long throughout this extremely lengthy process, I guarantee they are much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than they were at the start of negotiations.
The fact is, the US has incompetent leaders and even more incompetent negotiators. We must do better for America and the world. We have to Make America Great Again."
Source: Fox News Insider, "'A Staggeringly Bad Deal': 2016 GOP Field Reacts to Obama's Nuclear Deal with Iran," insider.foxnews.com, July 14, 2015
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should There Be an Independent Palestinian State?
"I'm not exactly thrilled by it [the United States funding the Palestinian Authority]. It's obvious. We have to help people that respect us, that want things to be done and properly done. Not just there (the Palestinian Authority), we're giving money to all sorts of groups and people and countries that take advantage of the United States, so it's something that I'm not thrilled about."
Source: JNS.org, "Donald Trump Says He Is No Apprentice When It Comes to Israel," www.breakingisraelnews.com, July 3, 2015
"[Moderator Maria Bartiromo] Mr. Trump, are there any circumstances that you think we should be limiting gun sales of any kind in America?
TRUMP: No. I am a 2nd amendment person. If we had guns in California on the other side where the bullets went in the different direction, you wouldn't have 14 or 15 people dead right now.
If even in Paris, if they had guns on the other side, going in the opposite direction, you wouldn't have 130 people plus dead. So the answer is no."
Source:Washington Post, “6th Republican Debate Transcript, Annotated: Who Said What and What It Meant,” washingtonpost.com, Jan. 14, 2016
[Editor's Note: On Feb. 10, 2011, Donald Trump told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Congress (CPAC): "I'm against gun control." The speech is available at Gary Franchi, "Donald Trump @ CPAC 2011," youtube.com, Feb. 14, 2011
"She [Hillary Clinton] talked about guns in classrooms. I don't want to have guns in classrooms although, in some cases, teachers should have guns in classrooms, frankly. Because, teachers are, you know, things that are going on in our schools are unbelievable. You look at some of our schools, unbelievable what's going on. But I'm not advocating guns in classrooms. But remember in some cases, and a lot of people have made this case, teachers should be able to have guns, trained teachers should be able to have guns in classrooms."
Source: David Edwards, "Donald Trump: 'I'm Not Advocating Guns in Classrooms' but 'Teachers Should Have Guns in Classrooms,'" rawstory.com, May 22, 2016
[Editor's Note: While "I don't want to have guns in classrooms" suggests that Mr. Trump supports gun-free zones at schools and would thus be "PRO" to our question, he also said "teachers should have guns in classrooms," which may suggest that he opposes gun-free zones at schools and may be "CON" to our question. The Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) of 1990 prohibits unauthorized individuals from knowingly possessing firearms on school grounds. The GFSZA allows each state to authorize additional groups of people, including teachers, which some states have done. Given the variability by state for teachers being authorized to possess guns in gun-free zones and the reasonable interpretation of Mr. Trump's statement as either "PRO" or "CON," we have classified his position as "Now Not Clearly Pro or Con."
Con Should People on the No-Fly List or the Terror Watch List Be Allowed to Purchase Guns?
"TRUMP: We have to have a watchlist, and if that watchlist has somebody that's -- you know, we have -- you know, we have the laws right now. We have the laws already on the books as far as Second Amendment for guns, and as you know I'm a big, big, really big proponent of the Second Amendment…
[I]f people are on a watch list or people are sick, you have already -- this is already covered in the legislation that we already have, George. It's already fully covered.
STEPHANOPOULOS: … Mr. Trump, yes or no, should someone on the terror watch list be allowed to buy a gun?
TRUMP: If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it's an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely."
Source: ABC News, "'This Week' Transcript: Donald Trump and Ben Carson," abcnews.go.com, Nov. 22, 2015
[Chris Matthews:] How do you ban abortion? How do you actually do it?
[Trump:] Well, You go back to a position like they had where people will perhaps go to illegal places but you have to ban it...
[Matthews:] Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?
[Trump:] The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.
[Matthews:] For the woman?
[Trump:] Yeah. There has to be some form."
Source: Maggie Haberman, "Pressed on Abortion Ban, Donald Trump Sees a Penalty for Women," nytimes.com, Mar. 30, 2016
[Editor's Note: Shortly after the above Mar. 30, 2016 quote was released to the media, Trump's campaign released a statement: "If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed — like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions."
In Sep. 2016, Donald Trump's campaign released a letter to the Susan B. Anthony List, stating that he was committed to: "nominating pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court," "signing into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide," and making the Hyde Amendment permanent.
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children?
"Autism has become an epidemic. Twenty-five years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control.
I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time... I had my children taken care of over a long period of time, over a two or three year period of time...
Just the other day, two years old, two and a half years old, a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic...
I'm in favor of vaccines, do them over a longer period of time, same amount."
"As far as Obamacare is concerned... it's a disaster. It is really kicking in... in 16. It is going to be a tremendous negative for the country. And here's the problem, it's terrible, the rates are going up through the roof. You look at every aspect of Obamacare, it's just not working. And there are a lot of people that still don't have insurance. But the people that had good insurance now have bad insurance. Their deductibles are through the roof. Their rates are through the roof. And I hear more and more complaints. Another thing that nobody talks about... is doctors. I know so many doctors that are going to retire, they don't want to do it. One of my friends whose a doctor said you know I have more accountants than I have nurses because of the complexity of it. So it really does have to be changed... And, ideally, repealed and replaced... I want healthcare for everyone... You can't let the people in this country that are poor people, the people without the money, without the resources, go without healthcare. I just can't even imagine that you're sick and you can't even go to a doctor."
Source: Sandy Fitzgerald, "Trump: I Still Want 'Healthcare for Everybody,' but Not Obamacare," www.newsmax.com, July 17, 2015
Should Planned Parenthood Receive Federal Funding?
"I'm against it. I'm for defunding Planned Parenthood, very strongly. And that's really become, that's been such a big subject lately, especially when you're looking on television and you're seeing, you know, some of those clips that are terrible—so I'm totally for defunding. We shouldn't be giving to Planned Parenthood."
Source: Last Night Today, "Donald Trump Speech Holds Rally in Newton, IA 11/19/15 (Full)," www.youtube.com, Nov. 19, 2015
Should All Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care?
“As far as single payer [universal health care], it works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age, which is the age you're talking about here.
What I'd like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state. I have a big company with thousands and thousands of employees. And if I'm negotiating in New York or in New Jersey or in California, I have like one bidder. Nobody can bid…
I'm not [in reference to Rand Paul saying Trump is still arguing for a single-payer system]. I don't think you heard me."
Source:Time, "Transcript: Read the Full Text of the Primetime Republican Debate," time.com, Aug. 11, 2015
Pro Should the United States Continue to Build the Fence/Wall along the US-Mexico Border?
"A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border... Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards – of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options]. We will not be taken advantage of anymore."
Source: Donald Trump for President, Inc., "Immigration Reform That Will Make America Great Again," www.donaldjtrump.com (accessed Sep. 25, 2015)
Should Undocumented Immigrants in the United States Be Allowed to Become Legal Residents?
"Our message to the world will be this. You cannot obtain legal status or become a citizen of the United States by illegally entering our country. Can't do it.
This declaration alone will help stop the crisis of illegal crossings and illegal overstays, very importantly. People will know that you can't just smuggle in, hunker down and wait to be legalized. It's not going to work that way. Those days are over…
For those here illegally today, who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only. To return home and apply for reentry like everybody else, under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined above."
Source:Los Angeles Times staff, “Transcript: Donald Trump's Full Immigration Speech, Annotated,” latimes.com, Sep. 1, 2016
Con Should Sanctuary Cities Continue to Receive Federal Funding for Law Enforcement?
"Countless innocent American lives have been stolen because our politicians have failed in their duty to secure our borders and enforce our laws like they have to be enforced. I have met with many of the great parents who lost their children to sanctuary cities and open borders. So many people, so many, many people. So sad...
President Obama and Hillary Clinton support sanctuary cities. They support catch and release on the border. they support visa overstays. They support the release of dangerous, dangerous, dangerous, criminals from detention...
We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths. Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities."
Source:Los Angeles Times staff, “Transcript: Donald Trump's Full Immigration Speech, Annotated,” latimes.com, Sep. 1, 2016
Should the United States Allow Syrian Refugees into the Country?
"We have no idea who these people [Syrian refugees] are, we are the worst when it comes to paperwork... This could be one of the great Trojan horses... We cannot let them into this country, period. Our country has tremendous problems. We can't have another problem."
Source: Tal Kopan, "Donald Trump: Syrian Refugees a 'Trojan Horse,'" www.cnn.com, Nov. 16, 2015
Should the Federal Government Guarantee Paid Family and Medical Leave?
"The United States is the only developed country that does not provide cash benefits for new mothers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor: ‘Only 12 percent of U.S. private sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employer.’ Each year, 1.4 million women who work give birth without any paid leave from their employer.
The Trump plan will enhance Unemployment Insurance (UI) to include 6 weeks of paid leave for new mothers so that they can take time off of work after having a baby. This would triple the average 2 weeks of paid leave received by new mothers, which will benefit both the mother and the child."
Source: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., “Child Care Reforms That Will Make America Great Again,” donaldjtrump.com (accessed Sep. 14, 2016)
Not Clearly Pro or Con Do Labor Unions Provide an Overall Benefit to Their Workers in the United States?
"I work in areas where we have unions, we don't have unions. Manhattan is a hundred percent - you're building a building, it's essentially a hundred percent union. So I've worked with unions over the years - I've done very well with unions... And I have tremendous support within unions, and I have tremendous support in areas where they don't have unions. Like in Florida, they don't have very many unions. The workers love me. I mean, my support is really with those workers, those people. That's it - the policemen, the firemen, the construction workers, the lathers, the sheetrock workers, the electricians, the plumbers. That's where my support is - every poll shows it. The men and women of the Teamsters are with Trump."
Source: David Sherfinski, "Donald Trump: I Have Tremendous Support within Unions," washingtontimes.com, Feb. 8, 2016
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should the Minimum Legal Drinking Age Be Lowered from 21 to a Younger Age?
"The world is so tough and it is so competitive that you can't put yourself, as a child, or even as a parent, if you want that child to be successful, at a disadvantage of letting them drink or letting them take drugs because it is not going to work... They are going to be at a tremendous disadvantage and ultimately they may not recover."
Source: Seth McLaughlin, "Trump Says Straight-Edged Lifestyle More Likely to Lead to Happiness, Success," washingtontimes.com, Dec. 1, 2015
"Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen -- right? Don't we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states. And of course you have Colorado. And I love Colorado and the people are great, but there's a question as to how it's all working out there, you know? That's not going exactly trouble-free. So I really think that we should study Colorado, see what's happening."
Source: Jenna Johnson, "Trump Softens Position on Marijuana Legalization," www.washingtonpost.com, Oct. 29, 2015
Pro Should the United States and Russia Collaborate to Combat Terrorism?
"I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect."
Source: Nick Gass, "Trump: Putin's Compliments Are a 'Great Honor'," politico.com, Dec. 17, 2015
Pro Should the United States Send Ground Troops to Fight ISIS?
"DONALD TRUMP: Well, I want to take away their wealth. And, as you know, for years I've been saying, 'Don't go into Iraq.' They went into Iraq. They destabilized the Middle East. It was a big mistake. Okay, now we're there. And you have ISIS. And I said this was going to happen. I said, 'Iran will take over Iraq,' which is happening as sure as you're sitting there. And ISIS is taking over a lot of the oil and certain areas of Iraq. And I said you take away their wealth, that you go and knock the hell out of the oil, take back the oil. We take over the oil, which we should have done in the first place...
CHUCK TODD: What you're talking is--ground troops.
DONALD TRUMP: That's okay."
Source:Meet the Press, "Meet the Press Transcript – August 16, 2015," www.nbcnews.com, Aug. 19, 2015
Con Should the United States Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp?
"This morning I watched President Obama talking about Gitmo, right, Guantanamo Bay, which by the way, which by the way, we are keeping open, which we are keeping open. And we're going to load it up with some bad dudes. Believe me; we're going to load it up.
But here's the thing I didn't understand. I heard this but I didn't understand it. We spent $40 million a month on maintaining this place? Now, think of it - $40 million dollars a month. What do we have left in there, like, a hundred people, or something? So we're spending $40 million dollars. I would guarantee you that I could do it for a tiny, tiny fraction. I don't mean like 39, I mean like maybe $5 million, maybe 3, maybe, like, peanuts.
Maybe in our deal with Cuba, we get them to take it over and reimburse us, cause we're probably paying rent... We're going to keep it open by the way, but we're going to get the cost down."
Source: David Weigel, "Trump: Maybe Cuba Should Take over Guantanamo 'and Reimburse Us,'" washingtonpost.com, Feb. 23, 2016
"I'm the only one on this stage that said, 'Do not go into Iraq. Do not attack Iraq.' Nobody else on this stage said that. And I said it loud and strong. And I was in the private sector. I wasn't a politician, fortunately.
But I said it, and I said it loud and clear, 'You'll destabilize the Middle East.' That's exactly what happened... Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake... The war in Iraq, we spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives... Obviously, it was a mistake...
George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East."
Source:Washington Post, "The CBS News Republican Debate Transcript, Annotated," washingtonpost.com, Feb. 13, 2016
"Under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, defense spending is on track to fall to its lowest level as a share of the economy since the end of World War II. We currently have the smallest Army since 1940. The Navy is among the smallest it has been since 1915. And the Air Force is the smallest it has been since 1947...
In the current year, we are spending $548 billion – a cut of 10% in real inflation-adjusted dollars. This reduction was done through what is known as the sequester, or automatic defense budget cuts. Under the budget agreement, defense took half of the cuts – even though it makes up only one-sixth of the budget.
As soon as I take office, I will ask Congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester and will submit a new budget to rebuild our military.
This will increase certainty in the defense community as to funding, and will allow military leaders to plan for our future defense needs.
As part of removing the defense sequester, I will ask Congress to fully offset the costs of increased military spending."
Source: The Hill Staff, "Transcript of Donald Trump’s Speech on National Security in Philadelphia," thehill.com, Sep. 7, 2016
Pro Should the National Security Agency (NSA) Continue to Collect Phone and Email Metadata on US Citizens?
"I support legislation which allows the NSA to hold the bulk metadata. For oversight, I propose that a court, which is available any time on any day, is created to issue individual rulings on when this metadata can be accessed."
Source: Ken McIntyre, "Should the NSA 'Spying' Program Be Illegal? What 2016 Contenders Say," dailysignal.com, May 20, 2015
Pro Should Interrogation Techniques That Some Consider Torture, Such as Waterboarding, Be a Legal Option?
"[George Stephanopoulos:] Do you think we should bring back enhanced interrogation like waterboarding?
[Donald Trump:] Well, we have to be strong. You know, they don't use waterboarding over there. They use chopping off people's heads. They use drowning people. I don't know if you’ve seen with the cages where they put people in cages and they drown them in the ocean and then they lift out the cage. And we're talking about waterboarding. We have to be tough. We have to be...
[George Stephanopoulos:] So you would bring back waterboarding?
[Donald Trump:] I would bring it back, yes. I would bring it back. I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they do to us. What they're doing to us, what they did to James Foley when they chopped off his head, that's a whole different level and I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation."
Source: ABC News, "'This Week' Transcript: Donald Trump and Ben Carson," abcnewsgo.com, Nov. 22, 2015
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should the Veterans Health Administration Be Privatized?
"[U]nder my plan, if you’ve got to wait — and, by the way, people are dying on line. They’re dying, waiting, waiting to get to see a doctor. They’re waiting five days and six days.
Under a part of my plan, if they have that long wait, they walk outside, they go to the local doctor, they choose the doctor, they choose the hospital, whether it’s public or private, they get themselves better. In many cases, it’s a minor procedure or a pill or just a prescription. And they end up dying because they can’t get to see the doctor. We will pay the bill. They go outside, they get a doctor, they get a prescription, they do what they have to do, and we pay the bill...
That is something that I have been praised — and, by the way, I never said take the V.A. — take the Veterans Administration private. I wouldn’t do that. Too much respect for our people. I would never do that...
But I do believe — I do believe, when you’re waiting in line for six, seven days, you should never be in a position like that. You go out, you see the doctor, you get yourself taken care of."
Source: Ryan Teague Beckwith, "Read Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's Remarks at a Military Forum," time.com, Sep. 7, 2016
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should Women Be Allowed to Serve in Military Combat Positions?
"[Interviewer:] Women in the military… Now the Pentagon has opened up all combat to women. What do you think?
[Donald Trump:] Well, it's a very tricky subject. You're in there and you're fighting and you're sitting next to a woman and. Now they want to be politically correct. They want to do it but there are major problems. And, as you know, there are many people that think this shouldn't be done, at a high level, at a level of general. I think that it's a very tricky situation but on Fox today they had a woman who is a pilot, top level, very good, really indicating that this is really something that is not going to work out. Will it work out? I hope so. I can say this, the numbers of rapes in the military are through the roof. Through the roof."
Source: CBS News, "Trump: There Are 'Major Problems' with Women in the Military," cbsnews.com, Dec. 6, 2015
Pro Should Colleges and Universities Use Affirmative Action for Admissions?
"CHUCK TODD: Affirmative action. Should we keep it? Yes or no?
DONALD TRUMP: I'm fine with affirmative action. I mean, I think--
CHUCK TODD: Should it be expanded? Or should it... be limited?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, you know, you have to also go free market. You have to go capability. You have to do a lot of things. But I'm fine with affirmative action. We've lived with it for a long time. And I lived with it for a long time. And I've have great relationships with lots of people. So I'm fine with it."
Source: Chris Cillizza, "Donald Trump on 'Meet the Press,' Annotated," www.washingtonpost.com, Aug. 17, 2015
Not Clearly Pro or Con Is the Black Lives Matter Movement Good for America?
"Chuck Todd: And, again, I know we're going to get into a lot more issues with you in a couple weeks. But I want to ask you about Black Lives Matter. The latest shooting of a white police officer shooting an unarmed black man. Do you see this as a crisis in America?
Donald Trump: It's a massive crisis. It's a double crisis. What's happening and people. You know, I look at things. And I see it on television. And some horrible mistakes are made. At the same time, we have to give power back to the police because crime is rampant. And I'm a big person that believes in very big -- you know, we need police."
Source:Meet the Press, "Meet the Press Transcript – August 2, 2015," www.nbcnews.com, Aug. 2, 2015
Not Clearly Pro or Con Is the Criminal Justice System Unfair to Black People?
"Chuck Todd: ...But I want to ask you about Black Lives Matter. The latest shooting of a white police officer shooting an unarmed black man. Do you see this as a crisis in America?
Donald Trump: It's a massive crisis. It's a double crisis. What's happening and people. You know, I look at things. And I see it on television. And some horrible mistakes are made. At the same time, we have to give power back to the police because crime is rampant. And I'm a big person that believes in very big-- you know, we need police.
And we need protection. Look, I look at some of the cities. You look at Baltimore. You look at so many different places in this country. Chicago. Certain areas of Chicago. They need strong police protection. And those police can do the job. But their jobs are being taken away from them. At the same time, you've got these other problems. And there's no question about it. They are problems. There is turmoil in our country.
Chuck Todd: Do you understand why African Americans don't trust the police right now?
Donald Trump: Well, I can certainly see it when I see what's going on. But at the same time, we have to give power back to the police because we have to have law and order."
Source:Meet the Press, "Meet the Press Transcript – August 2, 2015," nbcnews.com, Aug. 2, 2015
Con Is Human Activity Primarily Responsible for Global Climate Change?
"You look back and they were calling it global cooling and global warming and global everything, but you look back and the biggest tornados were in the 1890s, the biggest hurricanes were in the 1860s and 1870s. It's weather. You're going to have bad weather. So often I watch the evening newscasts and every time there is a rainstorm some place, and then they wonder why they don't do well, they say, 'It's raining here and it's raining there,' usually leading the program. I call it weather. Maybe there's a little bit of change, I don't happen to believe it’s manmade."
Source:Palin Update, "Guest Donald Trump Part One...," mamagrizzlyradio.com, Aug. 3, 2015
Con Should Genetically Modified (GMO) Foods Have Mandatory Labeling?
"[Iowa Farm Bureau survey question:] Do you support the use of biotechnology in food products and oppose efforts to require mandatory labeling for foods simply because they contain ingredients derived from biotechnology?...
Donald Trump: Yes."
Con Should the United States Transition Away from Fossil Fuels and Towards Renewable Energy?
"There has been a big push to develop alternative forms of energy--so-called green energy--from renewable sources. That's a big mistake. To begin with, the whole push for renewable energy is being driven by the wrong motivation, the mistaken belief that global climate change is being caused by carbon emissions. If you don't buy that--and I don't--then what we have is really just an expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves.
The most popular source of green energy is solar panels. They work, but they don't make economic sense. They don't provide enough energy savings to cover the cost of installing and using them. They are the most highly subsidized for of green energy in America.
Some estimates claim it takes as long as several decades after installing solar panels to get your money back. That's not exactly what I would call a sound investment."
Con Was the US Supreme Court Decision Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage a Good Decision?
"[Chris Wallace] You say now that the Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is the law of the land and that any politician who talks about wanting to amend the Constitution is just playing politics. Are you saying it's time to move on?
TRUMP: No, I'm saying this. It has been ruled up. It has been there. If I'm a, you know, if I'm elected, I would be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things...
They have ruled on it. I wish that it was done by the state. I don't like the way they ruled. I disagree with the Supreme Court from the standpoint they should have given the state -- it should be a states' rights issue. And that's the way it should have been ruled on, Chris, not the way they did it.
This is a very surprising ruling. And I - I can see changes coming down the line, frankly. But I would have much preferred that they ruled at a state level and allowed the states to make those rulings themselves.
WALLACE: But - but just to button this up very quickly, sir, are you saying that if you become president, you might try to appoint justices to overrule the decision on same-sex marriage?
TRUMP: I would strongly consider that, yes."
Source: Fox News, "Ted Cruz Attacks Donald Trump's Financial Record; Trump Responds," foxnews.com, Jan. 31, 2016
[Editor's Note: Prior to the above Con quote, Donald Trump indicated that he would not seek to overturn the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. During a Sep. 4, 2015 interview on Morning Joe, he stated, "You have to go with it. The decision’s been made, and that is the law of the land."]
Should Transgender People Be Allowed to Use the Bathroom of Their Choice?
"[Sean Hannity:] Let me ask, I know there's a huge issue in North Carolina and it's a so-called 'bathroom law,' and a lot of people have made, I don't know how many people this actually impacts, my guess it's a very small number but it's become controversial and Ted Cruz tried to attack you on this today and so I wanted to give you a chance to explain your position on that as it relates to transgenders picking which bathroom they want to go to. I can't even believe I'm asking the question but I'm asking.
[Donald Trump:] Well, it is a small number but we have to take care of everybody, frankly. And North Carolina, which is a great place, which I won by the way. I love North Carolina and they have a law and it's a law that, you know, unfortunately is causing them some problems and I fully understand if they want to go through but they are losing business and they are having a lot of people come out against. With me, I look at it differently, a community, whether it's North Carolina or local communities, is really, they should be involved. We have so many big issues to be thinking about, Sean. We have ISIS to worry about. We have bringing trade back. We have rebuilding our military. But I think this, I think that local communities and states should make the decision and I feel very strongly about that. The federal government should not be involved."
Source: Fox News, "Trump: I Will Reduce Taxes and Take on Wall Street," foxnews.com, Apr. 21, 2016