In Donald Trump’s first scripted speech about foreign relations in Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. promised a “disciplined, deliberate and consistent foreign policy.”
However, some foreign policy experts say that there was a lack of specifics in his speech. As a result, Trump’s speech was panned by most experts on foreign policy and foreign relations.
CNN’s foreign policy expert Fareed Zakaria started by saying that Trump “really stuck to his guns which was populist, nationalist, protectionist,” but when he expanded the speech was “rambling to the point of being incoherent”:
He said the allies can rely on us but we will be completely unpredictable. He said we will spend what it takes to rebuild the military, but we’re going to pay down the debt. We’re going to spread western civilization, but we’re not going to spread democracy.
Zakaria ended his statement saying, “I don’t know that it’s going to convince anyone. Certainly it didn’t strike me as a careful analytic laying out of a Trump’s foreign policy.”
That sentiment was echoed even among Trump’s allies.
Doug Bandow, a foreign policy scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute, who shares many of Trump’s beliefs about scaling back America’s role abroad, said that the speech struck him “as a very odd mishmash.”
“He called for a new foreign policy strategy, but you don’t really get the sense he gave one.”
Robert “Bud” McFarlane, a former national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan who attended the speech said that it was “lacking in policy prescriptions,” and its “strident rhetoric masked a lack of depth.”
The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart, an associate professor of journalism and political science, in his article “Donald Trump and the GOP Tradition of Foreign-Policy Incoherence,” pointed out that “making fun of the foreign-policy speech Donald Trump gave yesterday is easy.”‘
He said, “‘America First’ will be the major and overriding theme of my administration,” thus borrowing the slogan of those Americans who opposed America’s entry in World War II. Then, three sentences later, he praised America’s victory in World War II.
Not everyone was so critical of the speech. High profile conservative spokesperson Ann Coulter heaped praise with a tweet sent out in all caps:
GREATEST FOREIGN POLICY SPEECH SINCE WASHINGTON’S FAREWELL ADDRESS.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 27, 2016
Newt Gingrich, former Senator and former presidential hopeful in the 2012 election cycle said that the speech “is worth reading and thinking about,” and correctly predicted that it would be “ridiculed by Washington elites.”
This was a serious foreign policy speech by Trump. It is worth reading and thinking about. It will be ridiculed by Washington elites.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) April 27, 2016
Donald Trump retweeted the above two tweets from Coulter and Gingrich, along with others, and thanked everyone for their positive feedback, promising more details on other topics:
Thank you to all for the wonderful reviews of my foreign policy speech. I will soon be speaking in great detail on numerous other topics!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2016