The flip-flop has long been regarded as a signature act of political disloyalty. When a politician says one thing and then says the opposite and tries to persuade his constituents, the reversal is not a cynical feature, but a rational and admirable development on a complex issue. Very few politicians successfully accomplish this, which is why most have tried to avoid it, even if a change of heart would have been a better policy.
Then came Donald Trump.
The former president introduced a level of instability in American politics unseen in modern history. That volatility was never more in evidence than the way people have described Trump himself. The flip-flop became the defining act of the Trump era. His enemies became his allies and vice versa. Showering praise would give way to savage denunciations months or weeks or days later. Nikki Haley, his one-time cabinet member, turned primary rival, has demonstrated such a range of detail that she has created an entirely new category: flip-flop-flip-flop-flip-flop-flip. .
All this side-switching, not to mention Trump’s self-contradictory responses, has devalued words like loyalty and betrayal to the point of meaninglessness. But for those who still care who is on which team, we offer a long but not exhaustive list of key figures whose flexible views on Trump have tried to sway political observers to follow the action.