A liberal journalist argued on a New York Times podcast that former President Trump’s stated policy views are “just not that extreme.”
On the “Ezra Klein Show” podcast, Yglesias argued that Trump is more moderate in some policy areas than Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah – the 2012 Republican presidential nominee – and other establishment Republicans.
“I know how strong the reactions are, so I just — I want to be careful in what I’m saying. But Donald Trump’s stated policy views are just not that extreme,” Yglesias said.
“The positions he took on immigration are pretty similar to the positions Mitt Romney took on immigration. The positions he took on economic policy are much more moderate than the ones Romney took in 2012. His wildest ideas — like we should completely ban Muslims from entering the country — poll better than lots of more, quote unquote, ‘mainstream’ opinions,” Yglesias continued.
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Trump, who first ran as an outsider candidate that criticized the establishment of both political parties during the 2016 presidential election, has often defended Social Security and throughout his administration did not attempt to cut its benefits to Americans.
“[H]e didn’t come out there and say, hey, we should privatize Social Security and get crowds cheering for him,” Yglesias said.
“What he did was he was like, let’s not do the most toxically unpopular stuff that the Republican Party used to stand for,” he continued.
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In 2016, Trump defended Social Security on WROK radio and criticized Republican politicians for targeting the program. “Paul [Ryan] wants to knock out Social Security, knock it down, way down. He wants to knock Medicare way down… I want to keep Social Security intact… I’m not going to cut it, and I’m not going to raise ages, and I’m not going to do all of the things that they want to do. But they want to really cut it, and they want to cut it very substantially, the Republicans, and I’m not going to do that,” he said.
Critics of making cuts to Social Security argue that workers have already made mandatory tax payments into the program based on the promise that they would one day receive benefits from the program. Proponents of cuts argue that the program is not fiscally sustainable.
Klein agreed with Yglesias that Trump shifted the Republican Party’s view on economic policy. “I agree that people underestimate that Trump shifted the Republican Party’s economic policy substance a little bit more centrist from where it was under, say, Paul Ryan,” Klein said.
Yglesias recalled Trump’s 2016 candidacy and his presidency as an exciting time in American politics.
“We all watched Donald Trump. There was nothing boring about it. It was the craziest, most captivating thing that’s ever happened in politics,” he said.