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Trump, after Republican pledge, breaks from pack on Iran, gay marriage
September 4, 2015 / 1:10 PM / 2 years ago

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

U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during a press availability after signing a pledge with the Republican National Committee (RNC) at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015.Lucas Jackson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump showed again on Friday he will not easily be bound to party orthodoxy, breaking from many of his rival's policy stances on issues from the Iran nuclear deal to the gay marriage fight in Kentucky.

In an interview with MSNBC, one day after signing the party's loyalty pledge to not run as an independent, Trump said he would work with the Obama administration's nuclear agreement with Iran, nevertheless calling it "a disastrous deal" and "a horrible contract."

Many of the 16 other Republicans seeking the party's nomination for the 2016 presidential election have vowed to undo the agreement. 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.

"I love to buy bad contracts where key people go bust, and I make those contracts good," he said, adding that he would strictly enforce the Iran deal.

Trump took a different tack 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 after the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling in support of gay marriage, which goes against her religious beliefs.

"We are a nation of laws," Trump said. "You have to go with it. 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. Her office began issuing licenses on Friday.

Public opinion polls show Trump leading rivals by double-digits.

"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 while the United States had its own border and immigration problems, 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. The leading Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, also on Friday called for United States and other nations to act.

Asked whether the United States should accept more refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East, Trump said: "Possibly yes" but noted 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 and Diane Craft

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