Sunday

25th Jun 2017

Trump pledges US-first foreign policy

  • “We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American”, Trump said

Economic protectionism and the fight against Islamist terrorism will form the heart of US foreign policy, Donald Trump said in his inauguration speech in Washington on Friday (20 January).

In a brief address in front of the Capitol building, he issued “a new decree to every foreign capital” that “from this day forward, we will bring back our jobs, we will bring back our borders, we will bring back our wealth”.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He said that “American hands and American labour” would “build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across this wonderful nation”.

“We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American”, he said.

He attacked globalisation and free trade, saying that it had impoverished the US and its working classes.

He said open markets had “made other countries rich” and that “one by one, the factories shuddered and left our shores without leaving anything for the millions of American workers left behind”.

He also indicated that he would give less in foreign aid, saying that the US had spent “trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair”.

Trump’s words are likely to spell the end of talks on an EU-US free trade treaty.

The pact had been described by the former US administration and by EU leaders as a strategic move to deepen the transatlantic alliance.

The inaugural speech was also keenly watched for Trump’s intentions on Nato and on Russia.

He had called the Western alliance “obsolete” and praised Russia prior to his inauguration despite its aggression in Ukraine and Syria.

He indicated on Friday that he would not abandon Nato, but that he was willing to build a new alliance with Russia to combat jihadism.

He added that, terrorism aside, the US would take less of an interest in foreign affairs in general and that European countries would have to spend more on their own defence.

“We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth”, he said.

"For many decades we've … subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military”, he said.

Trump, a 70-year old real estate billionaire and reality TV star, described his victory as the victory of the common man over the elite.

“We are taking power from Washington and giving it back to you, the people”, he said.

He promised to stamp out gun crime and drug abuse and to invest in schools.

He also said the US was capable of “unlocking the mysteries of space” and of “freeing the earth from the misery of disease”.

After a divisive campaign, in which he whipped up racist hatred at town hall rallies, he made an appeal for social unity.

“Whether we are black, brown, or white we all bleed the same red blood of patriots”, he said.

Trump’s campaign had accused outgoing president Barack Obama of creating the Islamic State jihadist group among other unsubstantiated slurs.

He said on Friday, in a conciliatory gesture toward Obama and Obama’s Democratic Party, that Obama had been “magnificent” in helping him to prepare the White House transition.

The day was marked by violent protests by scattered groups of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as by gay rights and women’s rights protesters, which led to about 90 arrests.

An early reaction from Europe also indicated that Trump's speech would not go dow well.

"Hostile inauguration speech. We can't sit around & hope for US support & cooperation. Europe must take its destiny & security in its own hands", Guy Verhofstadt, the liberal leader in the European Parliament and former Belgian prime minister said on Twitter.

EU criticises Trump's Israel embassy idea

EU foreign relations chief Mogherini has warned that if Trump moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem it could have “serious consequences”.

Trump team asked which EU state is next to exit

The outgoing US ambassador to the EU, Anthony L Gardner, says Trump's transitional team had placed a call to officials at the EU institutions asking which member state would be next to leave the European Union.

UK turns from EU to US in 'new age'

British PM to tell US that the two countries should upgrade their “special relationship” amid plans for early talks on a post-EU trade pact.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit