Donald Trump Lays Out Broad-Brush Foreign Policy Platform in Washington Address
Donald Trump has received a lot of votes in exchange, his critics say, for offering few specifics about what he'd actually do as president.
The Republican frontrunner did little to assuage that skepticism in a sweeping speech Wednesday on his foreign policy platform that nonetheless drew applause from top conservative voices.
"My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people, and American security, above all else," Trump said in prepared remarks delivered at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. "That will be the foundation of every decision that I will make."
"'America First' will be the major and overriding theme of my administration."
Broad brush: Trump — reading from a teleprompter, a rarity for him — elaborated on many of the nationalistic and borderline isolationist views he has espoused throughout the campaign while laying blame for the country's problems at the feet of the Obama administration.
Trump said Obama's foreign policy, one of "no direction, no strategy," has "crippled us with wasteful spending, massive debt, low growth, a huge trade deficit and open borders."
Trump repeated his call to force U.S. allies to pay more toward "the financial, political and human costs of our tremendous security burden." He once again assailed the country's dealings with Iran, saying "when the other side knows you're not going to walk, it becomes absolutely impossible to win."
Without going into detail, Trump promised he'd address "the rise of radical Islam," in part by putting an end to "importing extremism through senseless immigration policies." He said he'd rid the world of the Islamic State militant group — quickly — without saying precisely how.
Let's be friends, sorta: Trump is known for his bluster, but he struck more conciliatory, guarded tones in the Mayflower speech.
"A strong and smart America is an America that will find a better friend in China. We can both benefit or we can both go our separate ways," Trump said, and, "I believe an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia – from a position of strength — is possible."
As for his global perspective, Trump said:
Finally, I will work with our allies to reinvigorate Western values and institutions. Instead of trying to spread "universal values" that not everyone shares, we should understand that strengthening and promoting Western civilization and its accomplishments will do more to inspire positive reforms around the world than military interventions.
Can't say they didn't warn you: An Associated Press story previewing the remarks quoted a Trump adviser as saying the speech wouldn't serve up new material.
Still, his international affairs blueprint drew rave reviews from the likes of Ann Coulter and Newt Gingrich.
Not everyone was as wowed, of course.
Take perennial Trump nemesis Lindsey Graham:
Even White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest took a crack at Trump after he mispronounced "Tanzania."
Bottom line, Trump gave a glimpse of the more measured, less bellicose persona he might present once the primaries are over and he pivots to the general election.
But those who are waiting for concrete details about how a President Trump would approach the world apparently have a little longer to wait.