Repeating his "I'm allowed to change" message used during the Republican presidential debates, Donald Trump opened his first full week as the presumptive nominee by treading close to the edge of flipping on some of the campaign points that got him there — specifically, that he’s now open to an increase in the minimum wage and that his steep tax-cut plan is open to negotiation.
Trump acknowledged that his tax plan, which includes a tax break for the country’s top wage-earners, would probably look different once it’s “negotiated.” He said in interviews Sunday that those rates would probably “go up.”
He clarified Monday on Fox Business Network that he’s still pursuing tax cuts. He said the rates might ultimately be higher than in his campaign tax plan -- but not higher than current levels.
“I am not talking ‘raised’ from where they are now, I’m talking about raised from my low proposal,” Trump told FBN’s Maria Bartiromo.
He said claims over the weekend that he was looking at a tax hike were “misreported.”
Still, the billionaire businessman is showing more flexibility on his campaign agenda now that he’s got the nomination practically wrapped up.
Trump also suggested he’s now open to increasing the minimum wage, after indicating early in the election cycle that such a move would slow the economy.
"I am looking at it,” he said. “I haven't decided in terms of numbers. But I think people have to get more."
Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton both are calling for the federal minimum wage to be increased to $15 an hour -- in their battle to win over the middle-class vote amid similar promises to narrow the country's economic divide.
“I'm allowed to change,” Trump told ABC’s “This Week, before returning to his long-standing campaign promise to bring U.S. companies back to the country, which he says will result in American workers making “a lot more than the $15” hourly.
The Trump campaign has also opened the door to fundraising going into November, though to date Trump has largely used his own money. Trump strategist Paul Manafort argued Sunday that Trump hasn’t misled supporters by making the move after saying during the primaries he was self-funded.
Manafort told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump made the announcement to fundraise last week because he now leads the party and needs to match the millions of dollars that Democrats will raise to elect their candidates in November.
“He is the head of the party and will be electing not just the president, but will be electing senators, congressmen, governors and local council people,” Manafort said.
“The Democrats have said they're going to be spending hundreds of millions of dollars to try and spread lies about Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Trump has said to compete against them he will support the party and the party's efforts.”
Meanwhile, as Trump looks to patch up the rifts with fellow Republicans following a bruising and protracted primary battle, he has maintained his barbed tone on the campaign trail – only now turning it toward Clinton.
Over the weekend, he lashed out at the Democratic front-runner and struck directly at Bill Clinton’s past infidelity.
Trump said Saturday at a rally in Spokane, Wash., that the former president “was the worst abuser of women in the history of politics."
And he called Hillary Clinton an “enabler” because “she treated these women horribly. … And some of these women were destroyed, not by him, but by the way that Hillary Clinton treated them after everything went down."
Trump's attacks Saturday appeared to be in response to reports that Priorities USA, the lead super PAC backing Clinton, has reserved $91 million in TV advertising, which will start next month and in part focus on Trump’s statements and actions regarding women.
Clinton told CNN last week that she felt certain that Americans won’t take a chance on electing a "loose cannon" like him. And she appeared to warn Trump that others have tried and failed to defeat her politically with similar personal attacks.
"If he wants to go back to the playbook of the 1990s, if he wants to follow in the footsteps of those who have tried to knock me down and take me out of the political arena, I'm more than happy to have him do that," she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.