Trump’s Inconsistent Views on the Federal Minimum Wage Debate

Presentation done with: Voyant-Tools & ___________

The United States of America has had an economic catastrophe of which is seemingly impossible to find a true broad solution. More specifically, the combined economic issue has made it hard for much of the population to maintain a decent living for themselves. A key aspect that is within the issue is the Federal minimum wage amount in the United States. Whether to raise the minimum wage a certain amount or keep it constant is the million-dollar question. This controversy has been heavily debated recently, especially, in the process of the most recent election.

Throughout Donald Trump’s recent significance in the political spectrum, his opinion on the controversial Federal minimum wage situation has been observed to change. As shown in his tweet posted just before the start of 2016, Trump displays bias towards the idea that federal minimum wage needs some sort of increase. However, he contradicts himself a few months later in a town hall meeting by stating, “If you start raising the minimum wage, you’re going to make a lot of companies even noncompetitive. And it would be a big, big problem.” Trump seemed to changed his mind in a matter of a few months.

According to The Washington Post, Trump has states contrasting opinions about his intended plans and beliefs regarding the minimum wage solution. Within the fact checker article cited, author Michelle Ye Hee Lee, calls Trump’s contradicting statements an “Upside-Down Pinocchio.” Within Trump’s tweet he shows his reasoning behind his statement is that his “smart and strong leadership” in which he is implying will be the only way that the wages increase and the amount of higher paying jobs will increase. He uses pathos by emphasizing that people must regain faith in their leaders in the United States and that his own leadership will change this. This idea of his could be engrained in members of his audience through his intention to gain voters through emotional appeal. The idea and influence intended to be gained by Trump is displayed, however his statement on a Fox News town meeting indicated his sudden change in opinion on whether the federal minimum wage should be increased.

Another problem shown in Trump’s statement listed by The Washington Post article is his continuous redirection towards himself. He starts by assuming that the United States itself is a noncompetitive country and immediately dodges the question asked about his thoughts on the protest towards a fifteen-dollar minimum wage. He then redirects towards himself by saying, “I am going to make our country so competitive that people at minimum wage are going to escape the minimum wage.” This promise is very abstract and not backed well. Additionally, Trump implies that the minimum wage does not need an increase as he promises to increase the amount of higher paying jobs as president. Trump was campaigning as much as possible and making promises to spread influence as quickly as possible, without much regard to whether he contradicted himself in the process.

Unfortunately, Trump’s proceeding lines fall into the slippery slope fallacy. He connects his large promise of increasing the amount of high-paying jobs as president with a very hypothetical conclusion. His allegation is, “They’re going to go up and they’re going to make a lot of money and they’re going to have companies and be involved with companies that are really successful, where they can be paid more and more money.” This statement is very abstract and probably would not likely be the direct result of his increase in higher-paying jobs even if he could as president. Slippery slope fallacies involve extreme hypotheticals with little proof of them being able to occur, while in this case, unfairly dodging the counterargument, which is allowing the minimum wage to be increased. The problem with Trump’s statement is that his strategy is only to have emotional appeal to gain voters within the primary and not associate much with logically-backed information or show true credibility. Following an analysis with, Trump used the phrase “going to” seven times in his statement for Fox news. This gives even more evidence of how much of Trump’s statement is hypothetical and aimed towards his large promises as a potential president at the time.

Correspondingly, Trump may have been using the contrasting opinions between the tweet made in December 2015 and the statement he made for Fox News in April 2016 to his advantage. As Trump’s strategy was to use a “straight-shot,” emotional appeal approach to his statements while a presidential candidate, his aim was to gain as many potential voters as possible. Moreover, Trump’s tweet shows an amount of liberal bias. The Guardian highlights this idea with an analysis of the tweet and his everchanging opinion on the solution to minimum wage problem. Jana Kasperkevic and Edward Helmore state, “The shift has Trump on a collision course with Democrat Bernie Sanders – while oddly agreeing with many of his points.” This conclusion made by The Guardian underlines the fact that Trump did not care whether he sided with liberals or conservatives, but only how much influence he could gain. By sharing Bernie Sander’s vision slightly within his tweet regarding the minimum wage and emphasizing his leadership would be the best suite to achieve this goal, Trump may have effectively stole Bernie Sander’s votes. On the other hand, Trump’s later statement showed conservative bias in which he appeals to the increase of higher-paying jobs, increasing the competitivity of the United States, and keeping the federal minimum wage the same when asked about the Fight for 15 movement. A strong connection that can be made between his shifted conservative bias towards the minimum wage solution in the town meeting in April 2016 was that his presentation was being broadcasted by Fox News. As Fox News holds a very evident conservative bias, Trump may have been using his contrasting statement on Fox News as an instrument to gain conservative followers as well. Finally, Trump makes reference to class by emphasizing his intended ability to increase the amount of higher-paying jobs in the country.

Ironically, he made a typo within this tweet as well by using the word “are” instead of the grammatically correct use of the word “our” while then implying he will be able uphold smart leadership for the country. Although small, Trump’s use of rhetoric is worsened within this mistake.

Conclusively, Trump seemed to shift his opinion on the minimum wage during the months of the 2016 primary election depending on the partisan of his potential audience. Contextually, He could prepare a different spoken opinion in each media outlet or speaking environment to appeal to as many possible voters emotionally with little regard to the actuality of his statements. This constant shift in his spoken belief of whether the United States minimum wage should be increased or not detriments his ethos and credibility as his consistent hypothetical promises, use of slippery slope, and his redirection of questions towards himself are shown.


Analysis Source 1: August 3 2016

Analysis Source 2: Decemeber 28th 2015

Tweet 1: December 28th 2015

“Wages in are country are too low, good jobs are too few, and people have lost faith in our leaders.We need smart and strong leadership now!

Trump Statement: April 3rd 2016

Question: “What are your thoughts on minimum wage and the Fight for 15 movement [to raise federal minimum wages]?”

Trump: “Okay, you know, the minimum wage is a very, very complex situation, because we are a noncompetitive country. We — if you look at what’s going on throughout the world, we’re considered — and one of the big problems we have are wages. I am going to make our country so competitive that people at minimum wage are going to escape the minimum wage. They’re going to go up and they’re going to make a lot of money and they’re going to have companies and be involved with companies that are really successful, where they can be paid more and more money. But if you start raising that minimum wage, you’re going to make a lot of our companies even more noncompetitive. And it would be a big, big problem.”


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