McConnell: Trump ‘learning the job’

Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is defending President Trump’s decision to break with some of his campaign rhetoric and reverse a string of policy positions.

“I think he’s learning the job. I think President Trump is learning the job and some of the things that were said during the campaign I think he now knows that’s simply not the way things ought to be,” McConnell told Newsmax TV.

McConnell was asked about Trump’s decision on Wednesday to back away from his “day one” pledge to label China as a currency manipulator — a reversal that has sparked criticism from top Democrats.

But the GOP leader also pointed to Trump’s flip on NATO when he declared Wednesday that it is “no longer obsolete.”

{mosads}Pressed if voters expected presidents to keep their campaign positions, McConnell argued there was “nothing wrong” about Trump’s policy reversals.

“In fact I welcome adjustments that he makes from the campaign,” he told Newsmax TV. “I can’t think of a single candidate who hasn’t changed their mind once being elected president.”

In addition to NATO and China, Trump also reversed his positions on the Export-Import Bank and has sounded less optimistic about the chances of a renewed U.S.-Russia relationship.

McConnell and Trump have at times split on policy during the campaign and through the first quarter of Trump’s administration.

Asked earlier this year if Mexico would pay for a border wall, which Trump frequently floated on the campaign trail, McConnell responded: “Uh, no.”

And days after the then-president-elect called NATO “obsolete,” McConnell told McClatchy that it is “the most important military alliance in world history and is more important than it ever was.”

McConnell’s also publicly urged Trump to practice better message discipline, telling reporters earlier this year, “I’ve been pretty candid with him and all of you that I’m not a fan of the daily tweet.”

The Senate GOP leader is well known for being strategic and tight-lipped about his plans, while Trump uses Twitter to weigh in on topics at any hour.

Tags Mitch McConnell

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