He’s volatile, savvy and, some say, scary. But who is the real Donald Trump? In a series of interviews with dozens of friends, foes, and the Republican presidential candidate himself, a PEOPLE special report examines the truth about the man behind the bluster.
Where exactly does Donald Trump stand on the issues? It depends on the day.
By his own admission, the Republican front-runner changes his mind frequently and his opinions on several issues have evolved dramatically over the years.
PEOPLE assembled a sampling of his shifting views on hot-button topics:
• In 1999, to NBC’s Tim Russert: “I’m very pro-choice. I am pro-choice in every respect.”
• In March 2016, to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “I’m pro-life” and “we have to ban” abortion. (Trump also said that women who obtain abortions should be punished but later backtracked and said that the doctors who perform the procedures should be punished.)
For much more of our special report on Donald Trump, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
• In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve: “[I support] the ban on assault weapons and … a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.”
• In 2015, to gun enthusiast website Ammoland: “I do not support expanding background checks.”
• In 2015, in the speech kicking off his presidential campaign: “I fully support and back up the Second Amendment.”
• In a video blog in 2011, speaking about Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi: “We should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick … We should do it on a humanitarian basis, immediately go into Libya, knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save the lives.”
• In 2016, during the 10th Republican debate: We would be so much better off if Gaddafi were in charge right now.
• In 2011, to The Des Moines Register: “I’m not in favor of gay marriage. They should not be able to marry.”
• In January 2016, to Fox News’ Chris Wallace: “I would be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that maybe could change things [in relation to gay marriage].”
In March 2016, to PEOPLE: “I would have liked to have seen [gay marriage laws be] a state thing, but the courts have ruled.”