Donald Trump supports increasing the minimum wage, for now

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. © Carlo Allegri
Contradicting previous remarks in which he claimed that wages are “too high,” Donald Trump now says he believes in raising the federal minimum wage to $10 an hour – sort of. “I would leave it and raise it somewhat,” the GOP presidential nominee says.

In a Tuesday appearance on the O’Reilly Factor, Trump seemed to be in support of raising the federal minimum wage above its current $7.25 an hour.

Trump initially tried to deny Bill O’Reilly’s assertion that “there has to be a federal minimum wage,” saying, “There doesn’t have to be.

The billionaire businessman then went on to say, “I would leave it and raise it somewhat. You need to help people. I know it’s not very Republican to say.”

The idea of leaving something the same while, at the same time, increasing it led O’Reilly to start throwing numbers at Trump to see what would stick.

Ten bucks?” O’Reilly asked.

I would say 10. I would say 10,” Trump replied. “But with the understanding that somebody like me is going to bring back jobs. I don’t want people to be in that $10 category for very long. But the thing is, Bill, let the states make the deal.

When asked to clarify what he was talking about in a press conference on Wednesday, Trump doubled down on the $10 minimum wage, but again stressed that the states would be making the decision.

Trump’s comments mark a departure from his original stance on the minimum wage. In a November debate, he explained that he would not support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, saying, “wages [are] too high,” while adding, “I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratosphere. We cannot do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it.

Trump slowly began to support an increase in the minimum wage in May, when he expressed openness to the idea in an interview with CNN, saying, “I’m actually looking at that because I am very different from most Republicans. I mean you have to have something that you can live on.