Donald Trump Then and What He Says Now

Here's what we learned from Trump's responses at the GOP debate in Cleveland.

ByABC News
August 7, 2015, 10:24 AM

— -- Donald Trump's performance at the first Republican presidential debate was filled with plenty of the color and drama people have come to expect from the candidate, featuring jabs at politicians in Washington, Hillary Clinton and even Rosie O'Donnell.

Here’s a look at some of the hot-button issues he has addressed in the past compared to what he said at Thursday night’s debate:


What he said then: In February, Trump told Hugh Hewitt he would make "so much money" for the country that cuts to Social Security and Medicaid would be unnecessary. But he also doesn't think he needs to be paying a fortune in taxes. "You know, why should I be, why should I say I’m looking to pay a fortune in tax? It’s part of the complexity of the tax system," he told Hewitt in February.

But Trump has changed his tune on taxes in the last several years. In 1999, he told Good Morning America his tax plan would include a one-time 14.25 percent tax on individuals with a net worth of more than $10 million. In his book, "The America We Deserve," he wrote, "“Some will say that my plan is unfair to the extremely wealthy. I say it is only reasonable to shift the burden to those most able to pay.”

And he's not afraid to lay on the tariffs. According to Trump, he'd put massive tariffs on foreign goods from Mexico and China as a way to bring revenue back to the U.S.

What he said at the debate: The debate didn't steer Trump in the direction of taxes and tariffs. Instead, the conversation centered around Trump's business dealings -- and bankruptcies -- as moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he could be trusted running the nation's business.

According to Trump, while some of his businesses have gone bankrupt, he never has personally. "I have used the laws of this country just like the greatest people that you read about every day in business have used the laws of this country, the chapter laws, to do a great job for my company, for myself, for my employees, for my family. ... I built a net worth of more than 10 billion dollars. I have a great great company."


What he said then: Trump's biggest splash into the race for 2016 had to be his remarks about Mexican immigrants during his announcement speech in June.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best," Trump said. "They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Trump's solution to illegal immigration is to build a wall spanning the U.S.-Mexico border. And according to the mogul, Mexico would pay for its construction.

While Trump is in favor of mass deportation of immigrants living illegally in the United States, he says he'd have a way to let "good" people back into the country.

What he said at the debate: Trump defended his comments on Mexico during the debate, saying Mexico was sending its worst to the United States. "Our politicians are stupid," Trump said. "And the Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning and they send the bad ones over because they don't want to pay for them. They don't want to take care of them."

He also defended his comments on building a wall spanning the U.S.-Mexican border while addressing Jeb Bush.

"I don't mind having a big beautiful door in that wall so that people can come into this country legally," Trump said. "But we need, Jeb, to build a wall, we need to keep illegals out."


What he said then: Trump spoke volumes without saying a word, telling Greta Van Susteren in May that he couldn't reveal his plans to attack ISIS, but that he did, in fact, have a plan.

He's also gone on record saying he would "bomb the hell" out of oil fields in Iraq in order to cripple ISIS.

What he said at the debate: Trump didn't directly address ISIS during the debate, but did allude to the acts of terror the group has committed, speaking of the deaths of Coptic Christians at the hands of ISIS in Egypt.

"But when you have people that are cutting Christians' heads off, when you have a world that the border and at so many places, that it is medieval times, we've never -- it almost has to bad as it was. We don't have time for tone. We have to go out and get job done," Trump said.


What he said then: Trump told NBC last month he thought the Iran deal was “terrible,” arguing that the U.S. should have arranged for the release of four American hostages as part of the negotiations. He also said the deal was made out of desperation and that the Iranians got rich off the deal because they’re “great negotiators,” but will ultimately “cheat” the terms of the deal.

What he said at the debate: Iran pressed forward with his harsh criticisms of Iran, calling the nuclear deal "a disgrace." "We don't get anything," Trump said. "If Iran was the stock, you folks should go out and buy it right now. You'll quadruple."


What he said then: Trump told CNN last month the ACA has “gotta go” and suggested a market-based plan for people to find the coverage that works best for them. He also wants hospitals to provide great care for low-income Americans.

What he said at the debate: Trump directly called out the Affordable Care Act during his closing statements during the debate. "We have to end Obamacare and we have to make our country great again," he said.


What he said then: Following the release of several videos allegedly featuring Planned Parenthood executives discussing the possible price and costs of harvesting fetal tissue, Trump said he’d rather shut down the government than continue to fund Planned Parenthood.

What he said at the debate: Trump did not mention the videos that have surfaced over the past few weeks, but he did say that he is "very proud" to say he is pro-life and that he hates "the concept of abortion."


What he said then: Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper in June that he’s “for traditional marriage,” even though his two previous divorces and third marriage could be viewed as non-traditional. But in 1999, Trump told Tim Russert that he had no problem with gay soldiers serving in the military. He said same sex marriage was “something that is too premature for me to comment on,” in the same interview.

What he said at the debate: Trump did not address gay marriage.