Love him or hate him — he’s here.
On June 16 Donald Trump, billionaire and presidential candidate, entered the race for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination June 16. He was immediately met with controversy during his announcement speech when he claimed the Mexican government is sending unsavory individuals across the border on purpose.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump stated. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
In his acceptance speech for an award at a Univision award ceremony, artist Pitbull threatened Trump to “watch out for El Chapo,” a convicted cartel leader.
Despite being berated for his frequent gaffes and lack of political experience by Republicans and Democrats alike, Trump is leading the race for the Republican nomination.
He’s also pulling away from the rest of his Republican competitors.
The latest polling averages from Real Clear Politics have Trump leading neurosurgeon Ben Carson in Iowa 28-22, in New Hampshire 29-14 and nationally 28-18.
Trump’s quick rise in the polls stems from a growing disdain for established politicians. The recent skids of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have opened the door for outsiders like Trump, Carson and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
Trump has been frequently criticized for his immigration policy, as well as his plan on eliminating outsourcing.
The former reality-TV host has called for all 1,989 miles of the Mexican-American border to have a large-scale wall, according to his campaign website. He believes the massive wall would increase border security and cut down on illegal traffic. Additionally, Trump opposes granting citizenship to illegal immigrants and called for mass deportation of undocumented workers — an aggressive plan for sure, and definitely not without its critics.
According to a study by American Action Forum, Trump’s ambitious plan could cost American taxpayers up to $600 billion — before even considering the cost of maintaining such operations — and many critics are already calling the concept “incoherent” and “overzealous.” The plans include a mass-deportation of over 11 million individuals currently residing within the U.S.
Fellow Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham called Trump’s plan “constitutionally flawed” in an interview with the Washington Times.
Trump, however, in an interview on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” dismissed these numbers as “peanuts,” claiming it would ultimately save the nation money when compared to current annual costs spent on illegal immigrants.
His aggressive politics are just as prevalent in international affairs, placing the blame for the struggling relationship between the U.S. and Israel solely on the shoulders of President Barack Obama. “(He’s) one of the worst things to ever happen to Israel,” Trump told The New York Times.
He continues to blame the president for lacking a strong air of leadership, believing the U.S. is no longer a “respected country,” and saying that unlike Obama, who has maintained a guarded approach to the terrorist group ISIS, he has a “foolproof way” of stopping them, despite refusing to go into detail. When pressured, Trump has simply insisted he doesn’t want to give his plans away.
Trump also denies climate change, not only saying it doesn’t exist but also calling it a “hoax.”
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” Trump said on Twitter.
In 2013, Trump unsuccessfully tried to block the construction of wind turbines in Scotland, arguing the turbines would impair the view of a golf course he was planning to build, according to The Guardian.
His hard opinions do not extend to social issues, however. Trump said he’s “evolving” on abortion. He has previously donated funds to pro-abortion rights candidates such as former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, but said he has changed his view on abortion.
In an interview with CNN, Trump said “a friend of mine’s wife was pregnant, and he didn’t really want the baby. He ends up having the baby and the baby is the apple of his eye.” Trump said that same-sex marriage “isn’t (his) thing” and hasn’t shown it any outright support in the past.
He has, however, called for his fellow Republicans to drop the pursuit of an amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges over the summer, which ruled the same-sex marriage bans of Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee unconstitutional.
“Some people have hopes of passing amendments, but it’s not going to happen. Congress can’t pass simple things, let alone that. The Supreme Court ruled on it,” he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Fellow candidates such as Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas and former Sen. Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania have all expressed their support for such an amendment.
Despite these outliers, Trump’s overall reputation of being someone who is willing to firmly stand by what they say, regardless of criticism and controversy, may be the dividing line between him and other GOP candidates.
“I’ve been up there for a long time, and I hope I’m going to be up there for a long time,” Trump said. “I’m not going anywhere, folks.”