Within 24 hours of becoming the de facto leader of the Republican Party, Donald J. Trump on Wednesday declared himself open to raising the minimum wage, a flip-flop from his statement during the primaries that the rate was already too high.
Trump made the comment in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, in which he said he was “open to doing something with” the minimum wage.
During the primary battle, Trump described the minimum wage as too high. Republicans in general have opposed raising the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is battling Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination and whose supporters Trump has said he plans to appeal to, has called for a rate of $15 an hour.
Trump’s shift came as he moves toward a general election in which he will need to drastically reduce his negative ratings and appeal to people beyond white working-class voters who propelled him in early primaries.
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“I’m actually very different from most Republicans” on the minimum wage, Trump said Wednesday.
Trump also said he didn’t believe a conspiracy theory cited in an unsubstantiated article in the National Enquirer about Sen. Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, being with President John F. Kennedy’s assassin not long before the fatal shooting.
“Of course I don’t believe that,” said Trump, who a day earlier had indignantly questioned why reporters were ignoring the article. But he appeared to acknowledge that his goal was to draw attention to the article, an attack he made about 12 hours before Cruz decided to suspend his campaign.
“I don’t believe it, but I did say let people read it,” Trump said.