For someone who speaks with as much conviction as President Trump, he sure has a way of changing positions with an equal level of certitude.
We looked into those reversals here and here, and some of them make up a good chunk of some of the list below of eye-popping quotes from the week that was. You can vote on which one you think is worthy of quote of the week on the NPR Politics Facebook page.
1. “And I got it done in the first 100 days. That’s even nice. You think that’s easy?” — Trump on his appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court before Gorsuch’s swearing-in at the White House.
2. “I’ve not always made the right choices, I’ve not always said the right things. … I can no longer allow my family, my dear friends, my dedicated staff and Cabinet to be subjected to the consequences that my past actions have brought upon them.” — Robert Bentley in a short statement announcing he was stepping down as governor of Alabama. After allegedly concealing an affair with an adviser, he pleaded guilty to abusing his office.
3. “You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” — White House press secretary Sean Spicer saying Hitler wasn’t as bad as Syria’s President Bashar Assad. Spicer later apologized.
4. “I like Steve, but you have to remember, he was not involved in my campaign until very late. … I’m my own strategist.” — Trump to the New York Post, referring to chief strategist Steve Bannon. It signaled the potentially waning influence of a man who just two months ago was on the cover of Time magazine as “The Great Manipulator” and described as possibly the “second most powerful man in the world.”
5. “The pundits were talking about — this wasn’t a seat we were going to win.” — Ron Estes, the Republican who won a special election in Kansas in a closer-than-expected race. He won by just 7 points in a district Trump won by 27. It sets up a test of enthusiasm this coming Tuesday in a more centrist district in another special election in the Atlanta suburbs.
6. “We had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen. And President Xi was enjoying it.” — Trump on when he decided to give the go-ahead to bomb Syria, during dessert with China’s leader at Mar-a-Lago.
7. “I said it was obsolete; it’s no longer obsolete.” — Trump on NATO while speaking at a press conference with its secretary general.
8. “Right now, the world is a mess. But I think by the time we finish, I think it’s going to be a lot better place to live. And I can tell you that, speaking for myself, by the time I’m finished, it’s going to be a lot better place to live in — because right now it’s nasty.” — Trump in the same news conference.
9. “Otherwise, we’re just going to go it alone. That will be all right, too. But going it alone means going it with lots of other nations.” — Trump on what he said to China’s Xi about why his country should help with North Korea. He said in order for China to make a good trade deal, it should help with North Korea.
10. “After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy.” — Trump to the Wall Street Journal on China’s Xi explaining to him the history of the relationship between China and the Korean peninsula and whether China could easily help on North Korea, as Trump had previously asserted.
11. “I do like a low-interest rate policy, I must be honest with you. … No, not toast. I like her, I respect her.” — Trump in the same interview with the Journal on Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, reversing himself after during the campaign calling her “political” and saying that she should be “ashamed” of herself.
12. “I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not.” — Trump on dropping what’s known as the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan and whether it sends a message to North Korea. Trump has reportedly given significant leeway to his military.
13. “Given the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, the White House Office will disclose Secret Service logs as outlined under the Freedom of Information Act.” — White House Communications Director Michael Dubke in a statement announcing the Trump White House would reverse an Obama administration policy of voluntarily releasing White House visitor logs. Dubke noted FOIA, but visits to the White House complex are not subject to FOIA requests.
Ironically, in 2012, Trump took a very different tone. He questioned if Obama was “hiding something” by no releasing certain records that other presidents had.