How does Donald Trump define the word conservative?

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The Politicus
Dec 21, 2018 06:43 PM 0 Answers
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Ronald Reagan's rise to prominence was built on the conservative intellectual movement and the thinking of figures like Russel Kirk, Frederick Hayek, Frank Meyer, Irving Kristol,and William F. Buckley Jr. Reagan read these figures and built his sense of conservatism and political philosophy on their thinking. For example, Regan noted “As the prophet of American conservatism, Russell Kirk has taught, nurtured, and inspired a generation.” Reagan thought seriously about ideas like conservatism and libertarianism, saying:

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is
libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as
liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals -- if we were back in the
days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the
Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of
conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less
centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty
general description also of what libertarianism is.

Donald Trump's brand of populist nationalism has really changed the shape of the American right since he rose to power. In contrast to Reagan, I haven't been able to find many quotes from Trump talking about what being a conservative means beyond simple statements like:

"I really am a conservative, but I'm also a commonsense person. I'm a
commonsense conservative," Trump said Tuesday. "We have to be
commonsense conservatives, we have to be smart."

or:

“When you get down to it, I am a conservative person. I am by nature a
somewhat conservative person,” he added. “I never looked at putting a
label on myself, because frankly putting a label on myself, it didn’t
matter — I wasn’t in politics … It was something that absolutely had
no bearing on me.”

Now Trump is very much in Politics. I'm wondering how he describes himself in the ideological landscape and who his influences are. What does conservatism mean to Donald Trump, in his words?

Alternatively, Trump may have indicated that he doesn't think terms like conservative have real meaning and aren't particularly useful in his quest to make America great again. He might eschew previous political thinkers as old fashioned and unhelpful. If this is the case, speeches or quotes where he indicates these views would answer this question.

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  • December 21, 2018