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Where does Donald Trump stand?

Evan Vucci, AP

Donald Trump has big plans for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, should he win in November. At the top of his agenda is immigration, embodied by his call to build a wall that spans the length of the southern border. There isn't a voter in America who doesn't know who Trump plans to have pay for his wall, though you'll get a different answer from the Mexican president.

Beyond the wall, Trump has proposed a Muslim ban (which has been modified to an "extreme vetting" plan since he proposed it in December) and mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. At many of his rallies, Trump also talks about his support of police officers, often referring to himself as the "law and order" president.

He would be aggressive about job-creating measures, supporting massive infrastructure investment. And Trump recently rolled out a plan designed to appeal to women -- with paid maternity leave and child care expense deduction. Many of his policies, he often suggests, can be paid for by closing waste, fraud and abuse loopholes in the tax code.

On foreign policy, Trump has opposed the vast majority of President Obama's actions, including the Iran nuclear deal, his handling of aftermath of the Iraq war and the rise of ISIS. He has also said he would cancel or renegotiate trade pacts to get a better deal for America.

With that in mind, read on to see where Donald Trump stands on some of the major issues of the campaign.

  • Energy/Environment
  • Entitlements
  • Women
  • Health care
  • Immigration
  • Taxes
  • Defense
  • Terrorism
  • Gun control
  • Education
  • Foreign policy

This series was written and produced by Reena Flores, Rebecca Shabad, Emily Schultheis, Julia Boccagno, Christina Capatides, Jennifer Earl, and Shayna Freisleben, with contributions from Hannah Fraser-Chanpong.


The Republican presidential nominee believes ... 01:17

Donald Trump's "America First" vision on energy and the environment outlines policy that's traditionally championed by conservatives, from climate change to fracking to regulation.

More often than not, the GOP nominee positions himself as the savior to the embattled coal industry, promising to revitalize the employment outlook in a market that's experiencing pressure from alternative energy and from those Trump casts as the "feel-good tree huggers" demanding a solution to rising sea levels.

"We're going to bring back the coal industry, save the coal industry," he has promised. "I love those people."

Beyond coal, Trump has other plans for the environment if elected. Here are the key components of his platform.


Become completely energy independent

Save the coal industry. He promised miners at a rally in West Virginia in May, "Get ready because you're going to be working your asses off;"

Approve the Keystone pipeline -- but only if the U.S. receives a portion of the profits because "that's how we're going to make our country rich again;"

Lift regulations on oil and gas industries. "Our total untapped oil and gas reserves on federal lands equal an estimated $50 trillion dollars," he exclaimed in May. "Think of it. We're loaded. We didn't even know it. We're loaded. We had no idea how rich we were."


Trump has described climate change as a "hoax"

He would nullify the Paris Climate Agreement--an international pledge to mitigate greenhouse gases that's already been signed by 31 nations. "This agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use on our land, in our country," he said at a North Dakota rally where he outlined his energy policy. "No way."

He would also eiminate the Department of Environmental Protection in "almost every form"


Trump, unlike others in the Republican party,... 00:46

By Emily Schultheis

The future of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare is the subject of fierce partisan debate--and something each candidate is asked about during a presidential race.

Four years ago, in 2012, Mitt Romney came under fire for the position of his running mate, now-House Speaker Paul Ryan, for the cuts he proposed to keep entitlement programs solvent.

This year, though, neither Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton nor Republican nominee Donald Trump have said they plan to cut Social Security benefits, though each has something different to say about how they would preserve the benefits that are currently in place.

Here is a reference guide to Trump's position on the issue:

Has pledged not to cut Social Security

The Republican candidate has said he does not want to make cuts entitlement programs, including Social Security.

"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," he said in a radio interview this spring. "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."

Still, he in a letter to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Trump hinted at the need to modify the social safety net.

"As our demography changes, a prudent administration would begin to examine what changes might be necessary for future generations," he wrote.

Fund entitlement programs through strong economic policies

Trump has offered few specifics as to how he would ensure Social Security continues to stay solvent but has said that his other economic policies and plans will contribute to keeping Social Security in place.

In his letter to the AARP, Trump argued that his broader "pro-growth" economic policies--including his tax plans, trade policy, immigration reform and cutting "waste" from the government--would help ensure the safety of Social Security.

"The key to preserving Social Security is to have an economy that is robust and growing," he wrote.

Women's issues

By Reena Flores

Donald Trump frequently promises that he'll be the best advocate for women -- female rival Hillary Clinton notwithstanding -- and has pledged that he'll be "great on women's health issues."

Here are Trump's proposals dealing with reproductive care and equal rights for women in the workplace:


  • After some flip-flopping on the topic in March this year, Trump has said that he would largely keep the current laws as they are.
  • Still, Trump has suggested that he would nominate a Supreme Court justice who would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which protects a woman's right to have an abortion. In May, Trump told Fox News host Bill O'Reilly that he would "protect" the sanctity of human life, noting that "the biggest way you can protect it is through the Supreme Court and putting people on the court."
  • Following widespread backlash over his remark that women who undergo an abortion should suffer "some form of punishment," Trump posited instead that, if abortion were banned, the doctor or anyone performing the abortion would be held legally responsible for the crime.

Planned Parenthood

  • Trump has praised the women's health organization in the past, but he would ultimately de-fund it over the issue of abortion.

Child care and family leave

  • Trump advocates six weeks of paid maternity leave.
  • He proposes child care expenses be tax deductible for individuals making up to $250,000 a year or couples with an income of up to $500,000.
    • The benefit would be proportional to income and capped at the average child care cost of $12,000.
    • Lower-income families would be allowed to claim an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
  • Trump would offer dependent care savings accounts, with the government providing matching funds for lower income earners.

Equal pay

  • When asked about equal pay during one town hall event, Trump said women would make the same as men if they "do as good a job."

Health care

The Republican presidential nominee has promi... 00:56

By Maggie Dore

Voters face a clear choice on the direction of health care in this country, since Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could not disagree more about how to achieve health care reform.

A reliable applause line at Trump rallies is when he calls for the repeal of Obamacare. But Clinton has long been a health care activist. As first lady, Clinton headed a task force on health care reform in 1993, for which she was vilified by conservatives and industry lobbyists. She also ran on the individual mandate in 2008 in her first run for the presidency.

Here's a reference guide to Trump's positions on health care:

Repeal the Affordable Care Act

Trump promises to "repeal (Obamacare) and replace it with something terrific." His plan calls on Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and replace it with a health care system based on free market principles, including changing the law so insurers can sell policies across state lines.

Trump wants consumers to be able to establish Health Savings Accounts, and to get a tax deduction on health insurance premiums.

He would also block-grant Medicaid funds to the states.

But Trump has said he supports the ACA's controversial individual mandate (the requirement that every person buy insurance), saying "I like the mandate. I don't want people dying on the streets."

Allow free market to set prescription drug prices

Trump takes a free market approach to prescription drugs, saying that barriers to foreign drugs should be removed to lower costs to consumers.

Abortion and Birth Control

  • Opposes legal abortion
  • Birth control without prescription

Trump supported legal abortions, until he didn't. Trump admits changing his position on abortion, saying in a statement, "I had a significant personal experience that brought the precious gift of life into perspective for me." He said if abortion were illegal, women should face "some sort of punishment," but he later amended that to say abortion doctors should be punished.

Birth control, he believes, should be available without a prescription.


Donald Trump on immigration 01:29

By Rebecca Shabad

Donald Trump has made reforming the country's immigration system the central theme of his campaign, calling for the building of a wall along the southern border with Mexico early on.

When the GOP presidential nominee launched his campaign in June 2015, he came under fire for insulting Mexicans, accusing them of being "rapists."

In August, Trump suggested he was open to softening his hard-line immigration policy, but in his major speech in Phoenix, Arizona, he made clear none of his policy proposals had changed.

Here's where Trump stands on immigration:

Build a wall, make Mexico pay for it

A campaign memo from April 2016 said that a Trump administration would force Mexico to pay for a wall along the southern border by threatening to cut off billions of dollars in money transfers that Mexicans who are living in the U.S. send home.

But he wouldn't cut off the money transfers if Mexico agrees to make a one-time payment: "It's an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year," the memo said.

Deport undocumented immigrants

Trump told "60 Minutes" in September 2015 that he would institute a "humane" deportation plan to deport 11 to 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

In September 2015, he also said in a conference call with members of the Alabama Republican Party that it would take his administration up to two years to deport all of the undocumented immigrants.

"I think it's a process that can take 18 months to two years if properly handled," Trump said.

In June, however, Trump told Bloomberg that he wouldn't characterize his plan as "mass deportations," but added, "We are going to get rid of a lot of bad dudes who are here...That I can tell you."

In his major policy speech in August in Phoenix, Arizona, Trump did not commit to deporting all 11 to 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., but he did say none of them would have a path to citizenship and said he would deport "millions" of them, beginning with criminals.

Ban Muslims or people from certain countries from the U.S.

Last December, Trump announced his proposal for a total and complete shutdown of all Muslims entering the U.S. While he has modified his plan to include people from countries that have a history or exporting terrorism or those that have been compromised by terrorism, the press release about the Muslim ban announcement still exists on his campaign website.

Trump has also called for "extreme vetting" of people who come into the U.S., which would involve an ideological screening test for new immigrants.

His campaign website says he would also:

  • triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers at the border
  • Implement nationwide e-verify
  • detain undocumented immigrants who were apprehended crossing the border
  • defund sanctuary cities
  • enhance penalties for people who overstay a visa
  • end birthright citizenship
  • Increase standards for the admission of refugees
  • Pause green cards that are issued to foreign workers abroad so that employers would hire from a domestic pool

Before any new green cards are issued to foreign workers abroad, there will be a pause in which employers will have to hire from a domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers


From corporate tax cuts to child care, here's... 01:23

Donald Trump wants to drastically simplify the United States tax code, including cutting down the number of tax brackets and making it more corporation-friendly.

Addressing the Economic Club of New York in September, Trump predicted that his tax cuts and economic plan would increase GDP growth by at least 3.5 percent.

"Under our plan," Trump promised, "the economy will average 25 million new jobs."

And he dismissed Clinton tax plan as offering "only more taxes -- and her taxes are unbelievable -- more regulating, more spending, and more wealth redistribution."

Here is how Trump proposes to reform taxes:

Reduce income taxes

  • Cut the top income bracket down to 33 percent, boosting after-tax income. (The wealthiest Americans current are currently taxed 39.6 percent.)
  • Reduce the number of income tax brackets from seven to three
    • 12 percent for those making less than $75,000
    • 25 percent for those making between $75,000 and $225,000
    • 33 percent for those making over $225,000
    • the poorest Americans would also have a zero percent tax rate

Cut taxes for corporations

  • Trump would slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent
  • He would cut taxes on "pass-through" business entities to 15 percent
  • For the profits of American corporations held abroad, Trump would tax them a one-time rate of 10 percent for repatriation
  • Manufacturers in the U.S. would be able to fully expense -- i.e., immediately write off the cost of -- capital equipment

Close the carried interest loophole

  • The loophole currently allows managers of hedge funds and private equity firms to pay a lower tax rate
  • Under the plan released by Trump in September, carried interest would be taxed as ordinary income

Eliminate the estate tax

  • Currently, estates worth $5.45 million are subject to a federal "death tax" of 40 percent. Trump would repeal this tax.
  • Instead, though, for estates (small businesses and family farms exempted up to $10 million), there would be an inheritance tax at the capital gains rate of 20 percent

Make child care tax-deductible

  • Currently, child care is only tax deductible up to $6,000.
  • Trump would give spending rebates for childcare expenses to low-income taxpayers through the Earned Income Tax Credit

Defense spending

Trump on Military 01:27

By Julia Boccagno

Defense -- a broad category encompassing everything from domestic Pentagon programs to wars abroad to international military assistance and the upkeep of the nuclear arsenal -- typically takes up the majority of federal discretionary spending in the United States. In the 2015 fiscal year, the U.S. allocated $598.5 billion for defense -- a budget that exceeds the next seven largest military budgets around the world, combined

Throughout his presidential run, Donald Trump has championed policy that would increase military spending by nearly $500 billion in the next ten years. But Trump hasn't always believed we should spend so much on defense: In 2013, he called for cuts to the defense budget by as much as $31 billion.

Here are the key components of Trump's plan to "rebuild the military:"

Expand every branch of the military and eliminate the cuts of projected increases in defense spending resulting from sequestration:

  • Add 100 fighter planes to the Air Force, bring the total number to 1,200
  • Increase the Army to 540,000 troops
  • Bring the Navy's total of surface ships and subs to 350. Trump has blamed the Obama-Clinton administration for refusing to "modernize these very old, aging, aging ships."
  • Create 13 more Marine Corps battalions

Defense contractors:

Reduce the purchasing of "unnecessary weapons" from defense contractors. "A lot of the equipment that we get in the military is not the equipment that the generals want," Trump said at a May rally in Indiana. "It's forced down their throat by a company that is politically good but doesn't make the equipment that is good."

Offset costs:

Trump has vowed to offset the costs of his plan by collecting additional payments from countries where the United States has bases or that depend on the U.S. for defense from foreign threats, such as Germany, Japan and Saudi Arabia.


The GOP nominee's policies combating terroris... 01:32

Over the course of the presidential campaign, in the wake of ISIS and ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks abroad and at home, Donald Trump has talked about how he'd fight terrorism, rolling out some ideas that would be anathema to Democrats and some Republicans and others that are already in place.

At the top of his list is the effort to stop terrorism from infecting the U.S. with what he calls "extreme vetting."

Trump on terror 01:22

"I would not allow people to come in from terrorist nations. I would do extreme vetting," Trump said in July after the terrorist attack in Nice. I would call it 'extreme vetting,' too."

Part of that vetting would include an ideological test.

"We should only admit in this country those who share our values and respect our people," Trump said at a national security speech in August. And, he declared that "the time is overdue to develop a new screening test."

The GOP nominee would also "temporarily suspend immigration" from some of the most dangerous countries in the world, including those "that have a history of exporting terrorism."

Several of his proposals for preventing the spread of radical Islamic terrorism have already been implemented by the Obama administration and are shared by his opponent, Hillary Clinton, too. Here are some of them:

  • Disrupting terrorist social media recruitment efforts with cyber warfare;
  • Coordinating with other countries in military operations to destroy ISIS;
  • Expanding intelligence sharing; and
  • Cutting off ISIS funding

Trump has also said he would call for an international conference focused on collaborating with U.S. allies who share the goal of ISIS's demise.

"I also believe we can find common ground with Russia in the fight against ISIS. Wouldn't that be a good thing? Wouldn't that be a good thing?"

Otherwise, Trump's plans to destroy ISIS have not been specifically outlined -- he maintains that he doesn't want to tip off U.S. enemies by disclosing his military plans.

"If I win I don't want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is," he said at a national security forum in September. At that forum, he said that he would likely make changes in military leadership -- the generals "have been reduced to rubble" in the Obama administration and he would probably have "different generals."

During the primary season, he estimated at a debate that defeating ISIS could require a force of 20,000-30,000 to "knock them out fast."

He has also said in the past said he would "quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS."


"The only way to save our Second Amendment is... 00:59

As the gun violence epidemic continues to plague the country, the 2016 general election has focused sharply on legal restrictions on the buying and selling of firearms.

Donald Trump, who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association in May, frequently promises to protect Second Amendment rights at his campaign rallies and often touts his own concealed-carry permit from New York.

"The Second Amendment is on the ballot in November," Trump said shortly after the NRA gave its backing to the GOP nominee. "The only way to save our Second Amendment is to vote for a person that you all know named Donald Trump. Okay? I will tell you. I will never let you down."

Trump pledges to enforce existing gun laws, but he has also indicated an openness to new "no fly, no buy" legislation to limit terrorist access to firearms.

Here are Trump's policy proposals on gun control policy:

Trump pledges to defend the Second Amendment

  • His campaign website says he would "enforce the laws on the books"
  • Trump wants to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court that would also uphold the Second Amendment

Trump is open to "no fly, no buy" policies

  • In a "Face the Nation" interview in June, Trump said he was open to "no fly, no buy" policies to prevent people on terror watch lists from buying firearms, in a seeming break from his party. Of discussions with the NRA, Trump said "I'm talking to them about the whole concept of terror watch lists. Should we take somebody directly off it -- if there is a terror watch list and if somebody is on, should they be allowed to buy a gun? Now, we understand there are problems with that, because some people are on the terror watch list that shouldn't be on. You understand that. And that's happened. Maybe you can reverse it."

Trump wants to expand mental health treatment programs

He wants to create a "national right to carry"

  • Trump believes concealed carry permits should be valid in all 50 states.
  • His campaign website says that "a driver's license works in every state, so it's common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state."

Trump would get rid of gun-free zones

  • Under a Trump administration, military bases and recruiting centers that are now "gun-free zones" would allow the use of firearms.
    • Trump would do the same for schools. After Oregon's Umpqua Community College shooting where nine people were killed last October, Trump suggested that the outcome would have been better if teachers had been equipped with firearms. "It was a gun-free zone," Trump said at a rally shortly after the shooting. "I will tell you -- if you had a couple of the teachers or somebody with guns in that room, you would have been a hell of a lot better off."

He would enforce existing laws

With the upcoming election, CBS News is publishing a new feature series on the two major party nominees and their positions on important policy issues. Check out our list of stories and videos below:


Donald Trump on education 00:55

Broadly speaking, Donald Trump favors school vouchers and has denounced the involvement of the federal government in the nation's schools.

The GOP nominee and founder of the now-defunct Trump University-- tackled education reform in a recent September speech.

"As your president, I will be the biggest cheerleader for school choice you've ever seen," he said, promising that in his White House "parents can home school their children." Trump's website does not appear to specifically address education, though in September, he unveiled a proposal on education vouchers. Here are the components of Trump's educational platform so far:

Trump's child care plan 05:02

School choice:

  • Like most Republicans, Trump supports education vouchers that allow students to attend private rather than public schools--arguing that they create healthy competition in the education market. "I will establish the national goal of providing school choice to every American child living in poverty," Trump said in September. He recently unveiled plans to create a $20 billion block grant that would expand charter and private school options for low-income children. Trump would divert federal funding from schools to pay for the block grants.
  • He also has expressed an interest in eliminating the Department of Education because it has "been taken over by the bureaucrats in Washington."
  • Trump has called Common Core a "disaster." "Education has to be local," he declared during his June 2015 presidential announcement.

College affordability:

  • "There's no such thing as free education," Trump said during a town hall with Chris Matthews. "You know, ultimately, somebody is going to be paying for that education, and it's the taxpayers." He acknowledged that students are "up to their neck in debt" and has suggested he would remove the federal government from the student loan system and privatize it, though doing this isn't likely to reduce the cost of a degree, says John Wasik, author of "The Debt-Free Degree."
  • Trump's education policy surrogate, Sam Clovis, has suggested the colleges should screen their students more closely to accept those who are likely to graduate on time, which he seemed to suggest would effectively reduce the student debt burden.

John Wasik, author of "The Debt-Free Degree," contributed to this article

Foreign policy

Trump on foreign policy 01:42

By Emily Schultheis

With everything from Brexit to the Iran nuclear deal to Russian hackers in the headlines this fall, foreign policy is playing a major role in the 2016 presidential campaign.

And America's relationship with the rest of the world plays a big part in Republican nominee Donald Trump's overall platform: his now-famous slogan, "Make America Great Again," is a reference to his view that the United States no longer holds the esteem and power in the world that it once did.

Trump has pitched an "America First" foreign policy, a phrase that was first used to discourage U.S. involvement in World War II.

"Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo," he said during his acceptance speech at the Republican convention this summer. "As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America first, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect. This will all change in 2017."

Here are some key components of Trump's stated views on foreign policy:

Build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border

This is one of Trump's first and most recognizable foreign policy goals: to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which he says Mexico will pay for.

Trump traveled to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in late August; the pair spoke of a productive and informative meeting, but got into an international dust-up over whether and how they discussed the border wall. Trump said during a joint press conference that he and Pena Nieto discussed the wall, but did not discuss "payment of the wall." Pena Nieto later said that he told Trump quite clearly that Mexico would not be paying.

Be willing to work with Russia

Trump has also indicated he would like to pursue a better relationship with Russia, frequently exchanging mutual praise with Russian President Vladimir Putin and saying that a closer relationship with Russia could facilitate the fight against ISIS.

During NBC's Commander-in-Chief forum in September, Trump said he would have a "very, very good relationship" with Putin; he went on to praise Putin for his "strong control" over his country, adding: "in terms of leadership, he's getting an 'A.'"

This warmth toward Putin is nothing new: in December 2015, Trump told a rally in Iowa that the fact Putin said nice things about him was "a good thing." "I mean you look, we're all tough guys, but wouldn't it be nice if Russia and us could knock out an enemy together?" he asked.

Make changes to the United States' involvement in NATO

The Republican nominee has said the U.S. should reevaluate its participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the major strategic and military alliance. NATO, Trump said at a town hall in March, is "costing us too much money." "We're taking care of, as an example, the Ukraine. I mean, the countries over there don't seem to be so interested," he said. "We're the ones taking the brunt of it. So I think we have to reconsider -- keep NATO, but maybe we have to pay a lot less toward the NATO itself."

Trump also suggested in a New York Times interview in July that he might not immediately defend other NATO countries if they were attacked and could set conditions for U.S. military aid, a move that would go against existing international agreements and even the suggestion of which angered Republicans and diplomats alike.

However, Trump appears to have changed course more recently. In an address on foreign policy, in August, Trump said the U.S. would "work closely with NATO" to defeat ISIS. "I had previously said that NATO was obsolete because it failed to deal adequately with terrorism; since my comments, they have changed their policy and now have a new division focused on terror threats."

Renegotiate or end U.S. involvement in trade deals

On the campaign trail, Trump has frequently railed against multinational trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), saying those trade deals are responsible for sending U.S. jobs overseas.

"I am going to turn our bad trade agreements into great ones," he said during his convention speech in July. "America has lost nearly-one third of its manufacturing jobs since 1997, following the enactment of disastrous trade deals supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton."

End nation-building and regime change

One of the areas in which Trump has been most critical of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, is over support for military intervention in Iraq. Clinton voted to authorize the Iraq War in the Senate, a move she has since repeatedly said was a mistake.

Trump frequently tells crowds and interviewers that he was against the Iraq War "from the beginning," a statement which has not held up under scrutiny. He told Esquire magazine in 2004 that he "would never have handled it that way," but that wast after the war had started in 2003.

Still, in a suggestion that would be a major reversal of U.S. policy, Trump argued in September that the U.S. should "take the oil" out of Iraq. He has not elaborated on that idea since then, however.

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