Trump, after Republican pledge, breaks from pack on Iran, gay marriage

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 04, 2015 9:10 AM

By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday broke away from stances held by many of his rivals on issues ranging from the Iran nuclear deal to the gay marriage fight in Kentucky.

Trump's statements in a lengthy interview on MSNBC came one day after signing the party's loyalty pledge.

He called the Iran nuclear agreement "a disastrous deal" and "a horrible contract," but said he would work with it.

Many of the 16 other Republicans seeking the party's nomination for the 2016 presidential election have vowed to immediately undo the Obama administration's agreement if they win office. But Trump, a wealthy businessman, reiterated his view that too much money was at stake and his rivals were wrong to say they would rip it up.

"This is the perfect example of taking over a bad contract," he said, adding that he would be tough in enforcing it.

Closer to home, Trump also eschewed rivals on the Kentucky battle over gay marriage. Some Republicans loudly backed Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who opted for jail time rather than issue any marriage licenses following the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling in support of gay marriage.

"We are a nation of laws," Trump said. "The decision's been made, and that's the law of the land."

Davis could authorize her deputies to sign the paperwork instead, he said. Early on Friday, her office began issuing licenses.

On Thursday, Trump signed a loyalty pledge from the head of the Republican National Committee and, after weeks of flirting with the idea, vowed to not to launch a third-party candidacy .

"I'm not taking anything for granted," he told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, acknowledging the wide Republican field. "I understand ... it is a marathon."

On the European refugee crisis, Trump said that while the United States has its own border and immigration issues to grapple with, the situation was horrible. Few Republican presidential candidates have spoken out on the crisis, and even the White House has acknowledged it without announcing any action.

Asked whether the United States should accept more refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East, Trump said: "Possibly yes" but added that there were limited U.S. options to help.

On that point, he and other Republicans agree.

"We have our own problems; we have so many problems to solve," he said. "Our country is broken."

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)