East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, April 14, 2017, Page Page 13A, Image 13

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    NATION/WORLD
Friday, April 14, 2017
East Oregonian
Page 13A
Is this a new Trump? Abrupt reversals may reflect experience
“Candidates are
always bombastic
on the campaign
trail — and Trump
especially.”
Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Presi-
dent Donald Trump is abruptly
reversing himself on key issues.
And for all his usual bluster, he’s
startlingly candid about the reason:
He’s just now really learning about
some of them.
“After listening for 10 minutes,
I realized it’s not so easy,” the pres-
ident said after a discussion with
Chinese President Xi Jinping that
included his hopes that China’s
pressure could steer North Korea
away from its nuclear efforts.
“I felt pretty strongly that they
had a tremendous power” over
North Korea, he said in an interview
with The Wall Street Journal. “But
it’s not what you would think.”
That’s just one of several recent
comments offering insight into
what looks like a moderate make-
over for an immoderate president.
As he approaches 100 days in
office he appears to be increas-
ingly embracing what he describes
as his “flexibility” — acknowl-
edging he may not have thought
deeply about some of the issues
he shouted about throughout his
political campaign.
Over the past 48 hours, the
outsider politician who pledged to
upend Washington has:
• Abandoned his vow to label
China a currency manipulator.
• Rethought his hands-off
assessment of the Syrian conflict
— and ordered a missile attack.
• Turned his warm approach
toward Vladimir Putin decidedly
chilly and declared U.S.-Russia
relations “may be at an all-time low.”
• Decided NATO isn’t actually
obsolete, as he had claimed.
• Realized the U.S. Export-Im-
port Bank is worth keeping
around.
— Stephen Moore,
Conservative economist
who helped draft Trump’s
economic plans
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One before
his departure from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Thursday, to his
Mar-a-Largo resort in Florida.
“Instinctively, you would say,
‘Isn’t that a ridiculous thing,’” he
said of the bank he once panned
as “featherbedding” and pledged
to eliminate. He now says of the
bank, which supports U.S. exports,
“Actually, it’s a very good thing.
And it actually makes money.”
Allies describe Trump as merely
growing in the job, taking what he’s
learning and adapting. The White
House, however, is struggling to
explain some of the changes.
Asked about the growing
list of reversals on Wednesday,
spokesman Sean Spicer argued
that NATO actually is “evolving
toward the president’s position,”
not the other way around, by
focusing more on terrorism and
encouraging nations to pay more
toward defense.
What about flipflops besides
NATO? Spicer was asked.
NATO is actually moving
toward Trump, he responded
again. Next question.
Trump, who seemed to remain
in campaign mode for months
after the election, appears to be
listening to different advisers
now. His onetime campaign guru,
Steve Bannon, has been somewhat
marginalized while moderate
voices grow louder.
It may also be that Trump
is merely looking for a way
to improve his low approval
rating, acknowledging his best
tactic could be switching to a
less dogmatic, more pragmatic
approach.
“Candidates
are
always
bombastic on the campaign trail
— and Trump especially. But
there is some growing into the
office and dealing with the real
effects of some of the policies,”
said Stephen Moore, a conserva-
tive economist who helped craft
Trump’s economic plans.
On the other hand, he warned,
“if he starts just abandoning his
promises, then I think it’s going to
exact a political toll.”
In many cases, Trump’s
campaign talk appeared born from
instinct and little else. He was
known as a candidate who rarely
dug deep, and he employed few
policy experts to inform his views.
He’s also long boasted of his
flexibility, describing his positions
as starting points for negotiation
— though many of his core ideas,
including frustrations over the
U.S. trade imbalance, have held
steady for years.
Trump, for instance, vowed to
label China a currency manipu-
lator,
“They’re not currency manip-
ulators,” he conceded in the Wall
Street Journal interview, adding
that he was concerned that offi-
cially branding them as such could
jeopardize his talks with Beijing
on confronting North Korea.
Trump’s evolution also reflects
changing power dynamics within
the White House, including the
rise of Gary Cohn, his economics
chief and the former president of
Goldman Sachs, and other more
moderate business leaders. Cohn
has been looking for ways to fulfill
Trump’s campaign promises in ways
that are practical and achievable —
as opposed to doing things precisely
the way the candidate outlined.
That’s an attractive prospect for
a president eager for the wins he
promised — after a difficult first
few months that saw much of his
agenda, including his signature
travel ban and high-profile attempt
at overhauling health care, blocked
by Congress and the courts.
Trump has also been turning to
outside business leaders, including
many he’s known for years, for
guidance. They include billionaire
real estate developers Richard
LeFrak and Steven Roth, who are
informally advising him on infra-
structure, and billionaire investor
Stephen
Schwartzman,
the
chairman and CEO of the Black-
stone Group, who helped organize
two major business panels this
month to weigh in on possible
regulatory and tax changes.
Trump has also won praise for
his decision to bomb an air base
in Syria, despite his campaign
promise to stay out of conflicts in
the Middle East. While many in
his conservative base were furious
about the move, the bombing after
a Syrian chemical weapons attack
was widely applauded on the
cable networks Trump voraciously
consumes.
And it changed the subject from
the investigations into Russian
interference — and possible
collaboration with his campaign
— in the U.S. election.
Some things don’t change.
Bruce LeVell, a Georgia congres-
sional candidate and Trump
campaign backer who met with
him several times this week, said,
“We don’t want his Twitter to
go away. That’s his pipeline to
supporters, and he still has it.”
N. Korean official blames Trump
for region’s ‘vicious cycle’
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Han Song Ryol, North Korea’s vice foreign minister,
listens to a translator during an interview with The
Associated Press on Friday in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Han Song Ryol said the situation on the Korean Penin-
sula is now in a “vicious cycle.”
ballistic missile capable of
hitting the United States’
mainland on Trump’s watch
as president — within the
next few years.
Outwardly, there are few
signs of concern in North
Korea despite the political
back and forth. Instead, the
country is gearing up for its
biggest holiday of the year,
the 105th anniversary of
the birth of the late Kim Il
Sung, the country’s founder
and leader Kim Jong Un’s
grandfather.
The Saturday anniversary
may provide the world with a
look at some of that arsenal.
Expectations are high the
North may put its newest
Darlene Abney
Robert Lieuallen
Karen & Don Allen
Daniel V. Lopez
Kaye McAtee
Sonny Bernabe
Doris Boatwright
Larry Nye
Mary K. Bousquet
Carol Powell
Fred & Betty Price
Dean’s Pendleton Athletic
Prodigal Son Brewery & Pub
Joan Deroko
Joseph E. Ramos
Gene Derrick
Kenneth Robbins
Hope Fischer
Cindy & John Fowler
Linda R. Rogers
Richard Gillette
Rogers Motors of Hermiston
S&S Ranches
Shanna Griffin-Herman
Vonna D. Grotz
Heath Schiller
Christine Guenther
Janice Schulze
Thomas Serface
Linda Harries
Carlisle & Lydia Harrison
Betty Smith
Wray Hawkins
Barbara Stanton
Phyllis Heidenrich
Colleen Stewart
David S. Herr
Bill Storie
David Hinton
Tom Taylor
Robert Johnson
Umatilla Co. Public Health
David & Karen King
Warren Wagenseil
Jan Leonard
Wheatland Insurance Center, Inc.
missiles on display during a
military parade that could be
held to mark the event.
At the same time,
speculation is growing that
Pyongyang may be close to
conducting more nuclear or
missile tests, despite a raft
of international sanctions
punishing it over its nuclear
weapons program.
Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe warned Thursday
that North Korea may be
capable of firing a missile
loaded with sarin nerve gas
toward Japan, as interna-
tional concern mounted that
a missile or nuclear test by
the authoritarian state could
be imminent.
BRIEFLY
Trump’s health
care fixes don’t
impress insurers
Dragged passenger
lost 2 teeth and
broke his nose
WASHINGTON (AP) —
The Trump administration
released limited fixes
Thursday for shaky health
insurance markets, but
insurers quickly said those
actions won’t guarantee
stability for millions of
consumers now covered.
While calling it a step
in the right direction,
the industry is looking
for a guarantee that the
government will also keep
paying billions in “cost-
sharing” subsidies. And
President Donald Trump says
he hasn’t made up his mind
on that.
Republicans contend that
the Affordable Care Act, or
ACA, is beyond repair, but
their “repeal and replace”
slogan hasn’t been easy to put
into practice, or politically
popular. So Thursday’s action
was intended to keep the
existing system going even
as Republicans pursue a total
remake.
CHICAGO (AP) — The
passenger dragged from a
United flight lost two front
teeth and suffered a broken
nose and a concussion,
his lawyer said Thursday,
accusing the airline industry
of having “bullied” its
customers for far too long.
“Are we going to
continue to be treated like
cattle?” attorney Thomas
Demetrio asked.
The passenger, Dr. David
Dao, has been released
from a hospital but will
need reconstructive surgery,
Demetrio said at a news
conference, appearing
alongside one of Dao’s
children. Dao was not there.
The 69-year-old
physician from
Elizabethtown, Kentucky,
was removed by police from
the United Express flight
Sunday at Chicago’s O’Hare
Airport after refusing to give
up his seat on the full plane
to make room for four airline
employees.
Cellphone video of him
being pulled down the aisle
on his back and footage of
his bloody face have created
a public-relations nightmare
for United.
One of Dao’s five
children, Crystal Pepper,
said the family was
“horrified, shocked
and sickened” by what
happened. She said it was
made worse by the fact that
it was caught on video.
For Dao, who came
to the U.S. after fleeing
Vietnam by boat in 1975
when Saigon fell, being
dragged off the plane
“was more horrifying and
harrowing than what he
experienced in leaving
Vietnam,” Demetrio said.
Demetrio, who indicated
Dao is going to sue, said the
industry has long “bullied”
passengers by overbooking
flights and then bumping
people, and “it took
something like this to get a
conversation going.”
“I hope he becomes a
poster child for all of us.”
the lawyer said.
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PYONGYANG, North
Korea (AP) — North Korea’s
vice foreign minister told
The Associated Press on
Friday that the situation on
the Korean Peninsula is now
in a “vicious cycle,” and that
Pyongyang won’t “keep its
arms crossed” in the face of
a pre-emptive strike by US.
In an exclusive interview
with the AP in Pyongyang
on Friday, Vice Minister
Han Song Ryol also blamed
President Donald Trump for
raising tensions, saying that
his “aggressive” tweets were
“making trouble.”
Tensions are deepening as
the U.S. has sent an aircraft
carrier to waters off the
peninsula and is conducting
its biggest-ever joint military
exercises with South Korea.
Pyongyang,
meanwhile,
recently launched a ballistic
missile and some experts
say it could conduct another
nuclear test at virtually
anytime.
Trump added to the
growing war of words with
a tweet on Tuesday that said
the North is “looking for
trouble.” He added that if
China doesn’t do its part to
rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear
ambitions, the U.S. can
handle it.
Many
North
Korea
watchers believe North
Korea could have a viable
nuclear warhead and a
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