Mr. Trump had long insisted that China was devaluing its currency and should be punished, but the executives pushed back and told him Beijing had actually stopped. And while Mr. Trump at first resisted — as late as this month calling the Chinese “world champions” of currency manipulation — after many talks like the one in February he reversed himself, declaring this week that “they’re not currency manipulators” after all.
The past week has made that abundantly clear. He discovered that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia may not be the “best friend” he imagined and that staying out of the civil war in Syria was harder than he assumed. He acknowledged that 10 minutes of listening to China’s president made him realize he did not fully understand the complexity of North Korea. He dropped his opposition to the Export-Import Bank after learning more about it. And he said he no longer thought NATO was “obsolete.”
Just weeks ago, in the midst of failed efforts to scrap President Barack Obama’s health care program, he acknowledged that the issue was more involved than the repeal-and-replace mantra of a campaign rally. “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” he said with amazement. Nobody except anyone who had spent any time in Washington policy making. But for Mr. Trump, never much of a policy wonk, it was an eye opener.
He delayed his vow to move the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem after King Abdullah II of Jordan rushed to Washington to warn him of a violent backlash among Arabs. He abandoned his intention to bring back torture in terrorism interrogations after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told him it was ineffective.
He has not appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, ripped up or renegotiated the nuclear agreement with Iran, reversed Mr. Obama’s Cuba policy or terminated his predecessor’s program permitting younger unauthorized immigrants to stay.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump sided with conservatives who wanted to eliminate it because the government should not finance large corporations and effectively pick winners and losers in a free-market economy. But on Wednesday, Mr. Trump embraced the bank.
What does it all mean? It is hard to tell. The man is anything but predictable.