In parts one and two of our series looking at issues that candidates have turned around on, we looked at inconsistencies in Donald Trump’s statements over the years. For part three, it is time to look at the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. The previous installments can be read here and here.
1. Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants
During her 2008 campaign, Clinton released a statement lauding New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s decision to abandon his plan to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
“I support Governor Spitzer’s decision today to withdraw his proposal,” the statement read. “As president, I will not support driver’s licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration, including border security and fixing our broken system.”
Her plan to strengthen borders by “fixing our broken system” prompted many on both sides to note that the language she selected resembled Republican rhetoric more so than that traditionally associated with the Democratic Party.
In 2015, Clinton changed her position to one that favored granting licenses to undocumented immigrants, a full reversal from her previous campaign. In a statement with the Huffington Post, a campaign spokesperson said,
“Hillary supports state policies to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.”
An aide spoke to Business Insider to further clarify, explaining that her change in position can be attributed to changing political climates.
“The immigration landscape of 2015 is far different from the immigration landscape of 2007, so of course the policy responses are different. In 2007, we didn’t have an executive action that would focus our resources on deporting felons, not families, allowing millions of undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States,” the aide said. “In the last eight years, states have increasingly been moving in this direction with positive results. Hillary supports those state efforts. As she said in 2007, she believes the long-term solution is comprehensive immigration reform, but given Republican obstruction, we can no longer wait for that.”
2. Same Sex Marriage
As recently as 2014, Hillary Clinton said that she believed this issue to be one better disputed at the state level, not handled in a sweeping national measure.
“Marriage had always been a matter left to the states. And in many of the conversations that I and my colleagues and supporters had, I fully endorse the efforts by activists who work state-by-state,” Clinton told NPR’s Terry Gross.
In 2015, after dead air on her part on whether the Supreme Court should nationalize same sex marriage, a spokesperson said,
“Hillary Clinton supports marriage equality and hopes the Supreme Court will come down on the side of same-sex couples being guaranteed that constitutional right.”
It should be noted that Clinton has maintained a belief in same sex marriage for some time, as an aide was quick to point out to Business Insider.
“Hillary made it very clear that she supports marriage equality as both a matter of policy and law,” the aide said. “This is what she meant. A same-sex couple has the same right to get married as an opposite-sex couple. Supporting past state-based efforts does not negate that support.”
3. Deportation of Undocumented Children
In 2014, when speaking with Christiane Amanpour on whether children who entered the country illegally as refugees from Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala should be permitted to stay, she said,
“We have to send a clear message: Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay,” she said.
“We don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws, or we’ll encourage more children to make that dangerous journey,” she added.
On a separate occasion with CNN, she said that refugee children from those countries, “should be sent back as soon as it could be determined who responsible adults in their families are,” she said. “
There are concerns about whether all of them can be sent back but I think all of them who can be should be reunited with their families.”
However, on the campaign trail, she appeared to soften her position. During a debate with Senator Bernie Sanders, she was asked repeatedly on her stance regarding deportation of children, to which she replied,
“I would give every person, but particularly children, due process and have their story told. And a lot of children will of course have very legitimate stories under our law to be able to stay.”
4. Clean Energy
In 2006, Hillary Clinton voted “yes” on a bill that expanded offshore drilling on the Gulf Coast. In 2012, she pushed for fracking abroad in Bulgaria, after the country signed a five-year, 68-million-dollar deal with Chevron that enabled them to push the practice into their borders. When the people showed severe discontent with the move, Hillary Clinton flew in to help make a case for the company.
“When we demonstrate that technologies are safe, we pursue both goals at once, and we will stand with the Bulgarian people and government as they work to be able to provide affordable energy that meets your needs,” she said in a statement released with the Prime Minister.
She also promised to bring in experts to convince the Bulgarian people that fracking was an effective means of obtaining energy.
Yet on her campaign website, she pushes for clean energy alternatives and the diminishing of the oil industry. One of her stated goals is as follows:
“Reduce the amount of oil consumed in the United States and around the world, guard against energy supply disruptions, and make our communities, our infrastructure, and our financial markets more resilient to climate-related risks.”
5. Free Trade
When stumping for her husband during his 1996 reelection campaign, she assured union workers that NAFTA represented a “free and fair” trade agreement. Her 2003 book, Living History, further supported this stance, as she said
“Creating a free trade zone in North America — the largest free trade zone in the world — would expand U.S. exports, create jobs, and ensure that our economy was reaping the benefits, not the burdens of globalization.”
Yet, while campaigning in 2007, she spoke out against NAFTA.
“Well, I had said that for many years, that NAFTA and the way it’s been implemented has hurt a lot of American workers.” She told the AFL-CIO presidential candidate forum.
It’s not just NAFTA, however. In 2005, she voted against a BUSH era free trade agreement, the Central American Free Tarde Agreement, calling its passage, “a sad day for supporters of free and fair rules-based trade.” Then, when visiting Costa Rica in 2010 she praised both CAFTA and NAFTA.
“We’ve worked to promote growth and create jobs through sound fiscal policy, bilateral trade agreements, multilateral pacts like NAFTA and CAFTA-DR, and institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank.” She said.
Then there is KORUS another, trade deal, this time with Korea. In 2012, she heralded the deal as “historic.”
“Today, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement enters into force, marking a historic milestone that will lead to even more trade and investment between our two countries,” Clinton said in a statement. “KORUS will provide new market access opportunities in Korea’s dynamic trillion-dollar economy for U.S. exporters, creating jobs here at home while increasing opportunities for Korean companies in the United States.”
Now she has taken back her high praises, saying that the deal didn’t quite work out.
“When President Obama came into office, he inherited a trade agreement with South Korea. I, along with other members of the Cabinet, pushed hard to get a better agreement,” she said. “We think we made improvements. Now looking back on it, it doesn’t have the results we thought it would have in terms of access to the market, more exports, et cetera.”