When former president Donald Trump left office on 20 January, 2021, few expected that he would be able to orchestrate one of the most dominant presidential primary performances in US political history just three years later. With a rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden in 2024 now all but certain, Trump’s interviews, speeches and social media posts since his presidency ended provide insight into what his foreign and domestic policy priorities may be were he to secure a historic non-consecutive second term in the White House in November this year.
Below are some of Trump’s quotes from the last two years on the key policy issues — foreign and domestic — that matter to voters and observers of the 2024 election and would likely shape his time in office. While current, former, and potentially future advisors to Trump have opined on policies ranging from AUKUS to hiring practices for government employees, this compilation gives an indication of where the former president himself stands on issues. It will be updated throughout the 2024 election year.
This article was first published on 30 January 2024.
Trump has stated that he would revoke China’s most-favoured-nation trade status and restrict US investment into China as well as Chinese imports of essential goods and ownership of any vital US infrastructure. The former president has also threatened to use the FBI and US Justice Department to target Chinese espionage efforts and restrict China’s access to US intelligence.
“We will revoke China’s most-favoured-nation trade status, and adopt a four-year plan to phase out all Chinese imports of essential goods."27 February 2023
“I would say maybe it’s going to be more than that [60 per cent tariffs on Chinese goods]… we have to do it.” — 4 February 2024, Fox News interview
“We will revoke China’s most-favoured-nation trade status, and adopt a four-year plan to phase out all Chinese imports of essential goods — everything from electronics to steel to pharmaceuticals. This will include strong protections to ensure China cannot circumvent restrictions by passing goods through conduit countries.” — 27 February 2023, campaign video
“We will also adopt new rules to stop US companies from pouring investments into China, and to stop China from buying up America, allowing all of those investments that clearly serve American interests... And we will eliminate federal contracts for any company that outsources to China.” — 27 February 2023, campaign video
“Instead of hunting down Republicans, a reformed FBI and Justice Department will be hunting down Chinese spies. We will create new partnerships with businesses and universities to give them the tools to protect themselves from insider threats. We will also impose whatever visa sanctions and travel restrictions are necessary to shut off Chinese access to American secrets in compliance with our demands and in compliance with our laws.” — 3 February 2023, campaign video
“Economic security is national security... To protect our country, we need to enact aggressive new restrictions on Chinese ownership of any vital infrastructure in the United States, including energy, technology, telecommunications, farmland, natural resources, medical supplies, and other strategic national assets. We should stop all future Chinese purchases in these essential industries. And we should begin the process of forcing the Chinese to sell any current holdings that put our national security at risk.” — 18 January 2023, campaign video
Trump has compared the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) from which he withdrew the United States in 2017 as president. He has promised to do the same with IPEF on “day one” of his presidency, and to introduce a 10 per cent tax on all imports into the United States in an effort to reduce the country’s debt burden as well as introduce reciprocal trade tariffs..
"Biden’s plan for TPP 2 will be dead on day one."18 November 2023
“Joe Biden is back trying to resurrect TPP [the Trans-Pacific Partnership] under a different name [the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework] but it’s really just TPP 2... TPP 2 will be dead on arrival, we will kill it immediately.” — 21 November 2023, campaign video
“We believe that other countries should pay for the privilege of selling their products to the American market and we believe that the United States should not have to export American jobs to buy the loyalty of foreign nations that we are paying billions of dollars to in order to defend them.” — 21 November 2023, campaign video
“Crooked Joe is back with TPP 2. It’s worse than the first one. Threatening to pulverise farmers and manufacturers with another massive globalist monstrosity designed to turbocharge outsourcing to Asia. It’s going to Asia. Asia’s doing very well. Under the next administration and our next administration, Biden’s plan for TPP 2 will be dead on day one.” — 18 November 2023, Iowa 'Commit to Caucus’ event
“I think we should have a ring around the collar [of the US economy] as they say. I think when companies come in and they dump their products in the United States, they should pay automatically — let’s say — a 10 per cent tax. That money would be used to pay off debt.” — 18 August 2023, Fox Business interview
“We will pass… the Trump Reciprocal Trade Act. If India, China, or any other country hits us with a 100 or 200 per cent tariff on American-made goods, we will hit them with the same exact tariff.” — 21 June 2023, campaign video
The former president has criticised President Biden for not deterring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and suggested that he could settle the war in 24 hours. In a reflection of his ‘America First’ approach, Trump has continued to argue that NATO and European states should contribute more to Ukraine’s defence, and said that the greatest threats to the United States are domestic rather than foreign. He has also suggested he would encourage Russian aggression against NATO allies which do not achieve two per cent spending on defence.
"I will ask Europe to reimburse us for the cost of rebuilding the stockpiles sent to Ukraine."18 July 2023
“I would not protect you [states that do not meet defence spending targets]. In fact, I would encourage [Russia] to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills.” — 11 February 2024, South Carolina speech
“That war [in Ukraine] has gotta end. We are going to make a deal and get that war ended… we gotta get that war settled, we’ll get it settled.” — 11 February 2024, South Carolina speech
“I will ask Europe to reimburse us for the cost of rebuilding the stockpiles sent to Ukraine, which they should be doing now but Joe Biden is too weak and too disrespected to even ask. The fact is that we've spent almost $200 billion in helping Ukraine and Europe has spent just a tiny fraction of that amount.” — 18 July 2023, campaign video
“If I'm president I will have that war settled in one day, 24 hours. I’ll meet with Zelenskyy, [Ukraine and Russia] both have weaknesses and they both have strengths, and within 24 hours that war will be settled... I don’t think in terms of winning and losing, I think in terms of getting it settled so we stop killing all these people.” — 10 May 2023, CNN town hall
“We have to finish the process we began under my administration of fundamentally reevaluating NATO's purpose and NATO's mission. Our foreign policy establishment keeps trying to pull the world into conflict with a nuclear-armed Russia based on the lie that Russia represents our greatest threat. But the greatest threat to Western civilisation today is not Russia. It's probably, more than anything else, ourselves and some of the horrible, USA-hating people that represent us.” — 16 March 2023, campaign video
“Joe Biden totally failed to deter Russia’s disgraceful invasion of Ukraine... Putin’s heinous attack on a proud and sovereign nation shocks the conscience of every person of goodwill.” — 28 March 2022, rally in Georgia
Trump has suggested that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is increasingly likely as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine, and that Taiwan’s semiconductor manufacturing dominance could worsen the impacts of a Chinese invasion. However, the former president has avoided specifying whether he would authorise US military support to Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.
"I don’t take anything off the table."17 September 2023
“I won’t say... because then you give away all your options. I don’t take anything off the table.”— 17 September 2023, NBC News interview, asked if he would send the US military into Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion
“Taiwan did take all of our chip business. We used to make all of our own chips, now they're made in Taiwan, 90 per cent of [them]... If China takes Taiwan they will turn the world off, potentially. But remember this: Taiwan took, smart, brilliant, they took our business away. We should’ve stopped them.” — 18 July 2023, Sunday Morning Futures interview
"I do [think China will invade Taiwan sooner rather than later] because [China is] seeing how stupid the United States is run. They're seeing that our leaders are incompetent. And of course, they're going to do it. This is their time... [the United States] did nothing on Ukraine. They do nothing." — 3 March 2022, Fox Business interview
Trump has provided little detail on how he would approach the war in Gaza but has indicated that he would refuse to accept Palestinian refugees and would revoke student visas of those who he deems to be “anti-American.”
“We aren’t bringing in anyone from Gaza, Syria, Somalia, Yemen or Libya."16 October 2023
“The Israeli situation is so horrible what’s happened... We’re going to get the Israeli situation solved.” — 15 January 2024, Iowa victory speech
“So you have a war [in Gaza] that’s going on, and you’re probably going to have to let this play out. You’re probably going to have to let it play out because a lot of people are dying.” — 9 November 2023, Univision interview
“We aren’t bringing in anyone from Gaza, Syria, Somalia, Yemen or Libya, or anywhere else that threatens our security.” — 16 October 2023, Iowa speech
“In the wake of the attacks on Israel, Americans have been disgusted to see the open support for terrorists among the legions of foreign nationals on college campuses. They’re teaching your children hate... Under the Trump administration, we will revoke the student visas of radical anti-American and antisemitic foreigners at our colleges and universities and we will send them straight back home.” — 16 October 2023, campaign rally in Iowa
Trump has said he would once again withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accords and end electric vehicle mandates. He would also seek to reduce energy regulations and to “unleash” US energy by issuing approvals for new domestic energy projects in an effort to lower power prices.
"We’re going to drill, baby, drill."15 January 2024
“We’re going to drill, baby, drill... we’re going to drill, we’re going to use that money to lower your taxes even further. We gave you the biggest tax cut in history and we’re going to lower them further and we’re also going to pay off national debt.” — 15 January 2024, Iowa victory speech
“We have to fire up our factories. Wind is not going to fire up our factories and it’s the most expensive energy... I like solar from a concept standpoint, but it’s massively expensive. We can’t allow China to build a factory a week and we do nothing... The only global warming we should be thinking about and worrying about because it could happen tomorrow is nuclear global warming.” — 6 December 2023, Fox News town hall
“On day one, I will terminate Joe Biden’s electric vehicle mandate and I will cancel every job-killing regulation that is crushing American autoworkers. I will unleash a thing called American energy.” — 27 September 2023, Michigan rally
“When I'm back in the White House, I will bring back a pro-American energy policy at long last... I will deploy a team of warrior lawyers to hunt down every unnecessary regulation in the federal registry that hampers domestic production. And we will wipe them off the books. We will again get out of [the] Paris [climate accords]. And we will rapidly issue approvals for all worthy energy infrastructure projects with a focus on maximum speed to bring prices down rapidly. So, get those proposals ready now, because we are going to put thousands of Americans to work building the power plants, pipelines, grids, ports, refineries, and shipping terminals of tomorrow.” — 9 February 2023, campaign video
Trump is aiming to overhaul the federal bureaucracy by bringing independent regulators under presidential authority, requiring all federal employees to pass a new “Civil Service” test and passing historic reforms to empower the president to fire “rogue bureaucrats.” The former president has also signalled that he would pardon many of those arrested for participating in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
"We need to make it much easier to fire rogue bureaucrats."26 July 2022
“I am inclined to pardon many of [the arrested January 6 rioters]. I can’t say for every single one, because a couple of them, probably they got out of control... [but] I would say it will be a very large portion of them. And it’ll be early on... Many of them are just great people.” — 11 May 2023, CNN townhall in New Hampshire
“The State Department, the defense bureaucracy, the intelligence services, and all the rest need to be completely overhauled and reconstituted to fire the Deep Staters and put America First." — 16 March 2023, campaign video
“I will bring the independent regulatory agencies, such as the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] and the FTC [Federal Trade Commission], back under presidential authority, as the Constitution demands. These agencies do not get to become a fourth branch of government, issuing rules and edicts all by themselves. And that’s what they’ve been doing. We will require that they submit any regulations they are considering for White House review.” — 16 April 2023, campaign video
“I will require every federal employee to pass a new Civil Service test demonstrating an understanding of our Constitutional limited government. This will include command of due process rights, equal protection, Free Speech, religious liberty, federalism, the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.” — 16 April 2023, campaign video
“We need to make it much easier to fire rogue bureaucrats who are deliberately undermining democracy or at a minimum just want to keep their jobs... Congress should pass historic reforms empowering the president to ensure that any bureaucrat who is corrupt, incompetent, or unnecessary for the job can be told — have you ever heard this — ‘You’re fired!’ Get out.” — 26 July 2022, speech at America First Agenda Summit
Trump has said that he is “proud” of appointing three conservative Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v Wade but has declined to commit to specific timeframes for national abortion restrictions or say whether the issue should be decided at the state or federal level. He has cited the issue’s electoral volatility, and attempted to cast himself as a mediator between “both sides.”
"I'm proud to have done it."10 January 2024
“For 54 years, they were trying to get Roe v Wade terminated, and I did it. And I’m proud to have done it.” — 10 January 2024, Fox News townhall
“We have to win elections... A lot of [Republican candidates] have just been decimated in the [2022 midterm elections]. We’re gonna come up with something that people want and people like.” — 10 January 2024, Fox News townhall
“I think [DeSantis signing a six-week abortion ban] is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.” — 17 September 2023, NBC News interview
"We’re going to agree to a number of weeks or months or however you want to define it... And both sides are going to come together... And for the first time in 52 years, you’ll have an issue that we can put behind us... it could be state, or it could be federal. I don’t, frankly, care." — 17 September 2023, NBC News interview
The former president has said he would provide “record funding” to the US military, bolster the country’s defence procurement and build a US missile defence shield modeled on Israel’s Iron Dome. He has also signalled he would boost military recruitment and the US defence industrial base.
"I will provide record funding for our military."18 July 2023
“I will provide record funding for our military just as I did [for] four great years... But I will also insist that we get more for every dollar spent, because we're spending too much money foolishly and our prices are too high.” — 18 July 2023, campaign video
“We need to take a long, hard look at defense procurement and our defense industrial base, because it's been withered down to nothing. Given all the money we spend on the Pentagon, it's unacceptable that we would ever run out of ammunition or be unable to quickly produce the weapons needed.” — 18 July 2023, campaign video
“We also clearly need to address the embarrassing recruitment situation in the USA... I will restore the proud culture and honor traditions of America's armed forces. And there will be no Marxism allowed, no communism allowed, and we'll get rid of the fascists.” — 18 July 2023, campaign video
“I will work with Congress and our great military leaders... to build a state-of-the-art next-generation missile defense shield. Just as Israel is now protected by the Iron Dome, a dream once thought impossible, America must have an impenetrable dome to protect our people... Just as I rebuilt our military, especially our nuclear capabilities, I will build the shield to defend America from missile attack.” — 2 February 2023, campaign video
If elected, Trump has promised to reinstate a travel ban blocking immigration from certain countries, invoke the Alien Enemies Act to target suspected gang members and bolster the US military presence at the southern border.
"We will carry out the largest domestic deportation operation in American history."21 September 2023
“On day one, I will terminate every open border policy of the Biden administration, and we will begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.” — 10 February 2024, campaign speech
"I will bring back the travel ban and expand it even further to keep ‘radical Islamic terrorists’ out of our country... I will also use existing federal law to deny entry to all communists and Marxists to the United States." — 21 September 2023, campaign speech in Iowa
"Following the Eisenhower Model, we will carry out the largest domestic deportation operation in American history and I’ll also invoke the Alien Enemies Act to remove all known or suspected gang members... drug dealers... [and] cartel members from the United States, ending the scourge of illegal alien gang violence once and for all." — 21 September 2023, campaign speech in Iowa
"I will shift massive portions of federal law enforcement to immigration enforcement including parts of the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration], ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives], FBI, DHS [Department of Homeland Security]. I will make clear that we must use any and all resources needed to stop the invasion, including moving thousands of troops currently stationed overseas guarding other people’s borders.” — 21 September 2023, campaign speech in Iowa
“I will order the Department of Defense to make appropriate use of special forces, cyber warfare, and other overt and covert actions to inflict maximum damage on cartel leadership, infrastructure and operations.” — 29 December 2022, campaign video
Trump has promoted a ‘tough on crime’ approach, by introducing immunity for police officers, death penalties for drug dealers and the relocation of homeless people to new “tent cities.” He is also opposed to gun control, though has suggested he would “work with Democrats” to secure cities and combat crime.
"We’re going to give our police officers immunity, so every time they do something they don’t get sued and stopped."15 January 2024
“We’re going to rebuild our cities and we’ll work with the Democrats to do it... and we’re going to make them safe and we’re going to give our police officers immunity, so every time they do something they don’t get sued and stopped. We’re going to end crime in our cities.” — 15 January 2024, Iowa caucuses victory speech
“We will ban urban camping wherever possible. Violators of these bans will be arrested... We will then open up large parcels of inexpensive land, bring in doctors, psychiatrists, social workers and drug rehab specialists and create tent cities where the homeless can be relocated and their problems identified.” — 18 April 2023, campaign video
“It is a scandal and tragedy that year after year, Democrats in Washington continue to hold commonsense school safety measures hostage to their radical gun control agenda, which, in virtually all cases, would do nothing to prevent attacks... This is a mental health problem, this is a social problem, this is a cultural problem, this is a spiritual problem.” — 14 April 2023, speech to the National Rifle Association
“I will ask Congress for legislation ensuring that drug dealers and human traffickers... everyone who sells drugs, gets caught selling drugs, to receive the death penalty for their heinous acts, because it’s the only way.” — 15 November 2022, 2024 re-election announcement speech
The former president has said he will order federal agencies to make deep cuts to spending, but has ruled out cuts to defence, Medicare and social security. Trump has also promised to remove energy regulations and reduce taxes in order to curb inflation.
"I will immediately unleash energy production, slash regulations, like I did just three years ago."17 March 2023
“I’d like to lower [corporate tax rates] a little bit if we could, but what I want to do is we have to get some income coming in... it depends on where we are at the time.” — 18 September 2023, Meet the Press interview
“On day one, I will order every federal agency to begin identifying large chunks of their budgets that can be saved through efficiencies and waste reduction using Impoundment. Of course, this will not include national defence and... I will not lay a finger on Medicare or Social Security.” — 20 June 2023, campaign video
“I will sign a law to ban bureaucrats from taking any enforcement action based on informal guidance alone. For example, never again will bureaucrats be allowed to bully and pressure banks to choke off or financially de-platform politically disfavored industries. We’re not going to let that happen.” — 16 April 2023, campaign video
“When I'm back in the White House, I will immediately unleash energy production, slash regulations, like I did just three years ago, and repeal Biden's tax hikes to get inflation down as fast as possible, and it will go quickly, so that interest rates can get back under control.” — 17 March 2023, campaign video
“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security.” — 20 January 2023, campaign video
Trump welcomed the Supreme Court ruling ending affirmative action in college admissions, and has focused on combatting what he describes as “indoctrination” in schools through funding cuts and creating a new body to certify “patriotic” teachers.
"We will create a new credentialing body that will be the gold standard... to certify teachers who embrace patriotic values."27 January 2023
“On day one, I will sign a new executive order to cut funding for any school pushing critical race theory, ‘transgender insanity,’ and other inappropriate racial, sexual or political content on our children.” — 30 June 2023, Moms for Liberty convention in Philadelphia
“This is the ruling everyone was waiting and hoping for and the result was amazing. It will also keep us competitive with the rest of the world. Our greatest minds must be cherished and that’s what this wonderful day has brought. We’re going back to all merit-based — and that’s the way it should be!” — 30 June 2023, Truth Social post in response to US Supreme Court ruling that effectively ended use of affirmative action in college admissions
“We will create a new credentialing body that will be the gold standard... to certify teachers who embrace patriotic values, support our way of life and understand their job is not to indoctrinate children.” — 27 January 2023, campaign video