WASHINGTON (UPI) — Soon after becoming the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump said he would be open to raising the federal minimum wage in a notable reversal of GOP policy.
During a debate in November, Trump said he would oppose raising the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour.
“I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is,” Trump said at the time.
Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, Trump was asked about Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ desire to raise the federal minimum wage to $15.
“You can’t live on $7.25 an hour, right?” interviewer Wolf Blitzer asked Trump.
“No, and I’m actually looking at that because I’m very different from most Republicans,” Trump said. “I mean, you have to have something that you can live on but what I’m really looking to do is get people great jobs so they make much more money than that, so they make … much more money than the $15.
“Now, if you start playing around too much with the lower level number, you’re not going to be competitive,” Trump added.
“But you’re open to raising the minimum wage?” Blitzer asked.
“I’m open to doing something with it because I don’t like that, but what I really do like is bring our jobs back so they’re making much more than $15,” Trump replied.
Trump joins former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., as the only GOP presidential candidate who has shown support for raising the federal minimum wage, The Hill reported. Ben Carson briefly supported the policy before backtracking.
Trump’s comments, although not concrete, point to a reversal — or openness to reversal — in a significant policy. In November, Trump said the current minimum wage was too high, also linking it to slowing job growth.
“We have to become competitive with the world. Our taxes are too high, our wages are too high, everything is too high,” Trump said. “What’s going to happen is now people are going to start firing people.”
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