Donald Trump reversed himself on a major policy plank Wednesday as he told reporters he now backs a $10-an-hour federal minimum wage, breaking with years of Republican orthodoxy and his party’s own platform.

“The minimum wage has to go up,” he said at a tumultuous news conference, saying it should go up to $10 from $7.25. He did say that “states should really call the shot,” but “at the same time, people have to be taken care of.”

Asked if he meant the federal minimum wage has to go up to $10 in a follow-up question, Trump indicated yes. “Federal,” he clarified.

In May, Trump told Fox News that states should choose the wage. “In some states, where it’s more expensive, maybe they do have to lift the minimum wage, and in others, they don’t have to do it. And those people live very well,” Trump said then. During a Republican primary debate in November, he also said that wages were “too high” and that the U.S. was becoming a “non-competitive country.”

For years, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have sought to raise the wage only to be rebuffed, again and again, by Republican leaders who contend higher wages will reduce the number of jobs and harm the economy. The Democratic platform adopted this week in Philadelphia calls for a $15-an-hour minimum.

By contrast, the Republican platform, approved at last week’s convention in Cleveland, doesn’t back the idea of a federal minimum wage at all. “Minimum wage is an issue that should be handled at the state and local level,” it reads – a sentence that had been in sync with Trump’s position.


“I would leave it and raise it somewhat,” Trump told Bill O’Reilly on the Fox News Channel Tuesday. Asked again, he said, “I would say 10. I would say 10.” He added, “But the thing is, Bill, let the states make the deal.”

Speaker Paul Ryan, like most Republicans, has opposed raising the minimum wage for years, contending a higher minimum wage would hurt the economy.

“It’s bad economics,” the Wisconsin Republican told CNBC in 2014, opposing a $10 minimum wage. “We don’t want to make it more expensive for employers to be able to hire people.”

Ryan reiterated his opposition to a higher minimum wage last month as he rolled out his anti-poverty agenda.

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