Fact-Check: Donald Trump’s Position on the Federal Minimum Wage

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

During Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine claimed that Donald Trump wants to repeal the federal minimum wage. 

In May, Trump said he thought minimum wage levels should be left to the states, and offered the opinion that the current minimum wage sounds too low for workers to make a decent living. Later, in August, he expressed support for raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour, but still preferred to let state governments handle the issue.

“I have seen what’s going on. And I don’t know how people make it on $7.25 an hour. Now, with that being said, I would like to see an increase of some magnitude. But I’d rather leave it to the states. Let the states decide. Because don’t forget, the states have to compete with each other,” Trump said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on May 8, 2016.

Asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd if he thought the federal government should set a minimum wage floor, Trump replied:

No, I’d rather have the states go out and do what they have to do. And the states compete with each other, not only other countries, but they compete with each other, Chuck. So I like the idea of let the states decide. But I think people should get more. I think they’re out there. They’re working. It is a very low number. You know, with what’s happened to the economy, with what’s happened to the cost. I mean, it’s just– I don’t know how you live on $7.25 an hour. But I would say let the states decide.

In August, Trump told Bill O’Reilly of Fox News that he still does not believe there “has to be” a federal minimum wage, but added, “I would leave it and raise it somewhat. You need to help people. I know it’s not very Republican to say.”

When O’Reilly proposed a $10 minimum wage, Trump replied, “I would say 10. I would say 10. 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.”

Trump has maintained this position in several subsequent comments: he believes the minimum wage should be raised to $10, but the states should do it, not the federal government.


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