Falling out of favor with Donny
Trump is not known for the consistency of his views. In the six months since he became president, Trump has changed his mind on China, on Nato and on military intervention in Syria. On healthcare, he seems to change his mind twice before lunch.
But it’s not just the issues that have fallen victim to Trump’s caprices. It’s his colleagues and allies, too. This week it was attorney general Jeff Sessions who faced Trump’s ire.
But Sessions wasn’t the first to fall out of favor with the president. Here are some others.
Trump on Jeff Sessions Then:
“Jeff has been a highly respected member of the US Senate for 20 years,” Trump said in a statement. “He is a world-class legal mind and considered a truly great attorney general and US attorney in the state of Alabama. Jeff is greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him.”
Sessions, the first senator to endorse Trump, was one of the president elect’s first cabinet nominees. Trump was happy with his choice. He was less happy after Sessions recused himself from any investigation into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Sessions had earlier admitted to meeting with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s campaign.
Trump on Jeff Sessions Now:
“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else [Session’s actions were] “extremely unfair – and that’s a mild word – to the president”
Trump on Steve Bannon Then:
“I want to win. That’s why I’m bringing on fantastic people who know how to win and love to win.”
Trump’s campaign was ailing when he decided to bring in Bannon, then Breitbart News’s executive chair. The pair swept to an unlikely victory that November. But as Bannon’s profile grew – he was sometimes portrayed as pulling the strings in the White House and was featured on the cover of Time magazine in February – Trump grew resentful. Then came the public smackdown.
Trump on Steve Bannon Now:
“I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late […] had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve. I’m my own strategist and it wasn’t like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary.”
Trump on James Comey Then:
“It took guts for director Comey to make the move that he made, in light of the kind of opposition he had where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution. You know that. It took a lot of guts.”
James Comey had just announced that the FBI would be reviewing new emails in relation to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. It pleased Trump. But when Comey used those same guts to investigate alleged ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, the president was less pleased.
Trump on James Comey Now:
“He was crazy, a real nut job,” Trump told Russian officials, according to a summary of the meeting acquired by the New York Times. In June, after Comey had testified at a Senate hearing about Trump allegedly interfering with the Russia investigation, Trump accused the former FBI director of making “so many false statements and lies”.
Trump on House Republican health care bill Then:
“This is a great plan […] What we have is something very, very incredibly well crafted.”
House Republicans had just managed to pass a healthcare bill with one vote to spare. But the bill proved deeply unpopular with the general public, with one poll suggesting 48% of Americans thought it was a bad idea. Trump swiftly changed his mind on the legislation.
Trump on House Republican health care bill Now:
The bill is a “son of a bitch”, CNN reported the president as saying. Trump also described it as “mean”.
Trump on Paul Manafort Then:
“Paul is a great asset and an important addition as we consolidate the tremendous support we have received in the primaries and caucuses, garnering millions more votes than any other candidate. Paul Manafort, and the team I am building, bring the needed skill sets to ensure that the will of the Republican voters, not the Washington political establishment, determines who will be the nominee for the Republican Party.”
Trump had just announced that Manafort would serve as his convention manager, and later promoted him to campaign manager and chief strategist. But Manafort was forced to resign in August as he increasingly came under scrutiny for his work representing Ukraine’s ruling political party. When Manafort became a focus for the special council and congressional committees, Trump changed his views on his former ally.
Trump on Paul Manafort Now:
This time it was Trump mouthpiece Sean Spicer who criticized a former ally. Manafort played a “very limited” role for a “very limited amount of time”, Spicer said. He later added, incorrectly: “Paul was brought on sometime in June and by the middle of August he was no longer with the campaign, meaning for the final stretch of the general election, he was not involved.”
Trump on Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein Then:
“He’s highly respected – very good guy, very smart guy. The Democrats like him. The Republicans like him.”
The president was speaking after Rosenstein wrote a memo recommending he fire then FBI director James Comey. Trump said he was going to fire Comey “regardless of the recommendation”, but praised Rosenstein’s character in writing the initial note. Trump had nominated Rosenstein for deputy attorney general on 31 January. By July, however, Trump had soured on his choice.
Trump on Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein Now:
The New York Times said Trump was angry with the attorney general during an interview in July: “When Mr. Sessions recused himself, the president said he was irritated to learn where his deputy was from. ‘There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any,’ he said of the predominantly Democratic city. He complained that Mr Rosenstein had in effect been on both sides when it came to Mr Comey. The deputy attorney general recommended Mr Comey be fired but then appointed Mr Mueller, who may be investigating whether the dismissal was an obstruction of justice. ‘Well, that’s a conflict of interest,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘Do you know how many conflicts of interests there are?'”