Donald Trump on Foreign Policy

2016 Republican nominee for President; 2000 Reform Primary Challenger for President


America is once again ready to lead

Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice--in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present. That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world. I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart.

A new chapter of American Greatness is now beginning. A new national pride is sweeping across our Nation. And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp.

What we are witnessing today is the Renewal of the American Spirit. Our allies will find that America is once again ready to lead. All the nations of the world--friend or foe--will find that America is strong, America is proud, and America is free.

Source: 2017 State of the Union address to Congress , Feb 28, 2017

U.S. has become dumping ground for everybody else's problems

While the Trump and Sanders campaigns both represent insurgencies against party elites, they represent insurgencies aimed at taking America in radically different directions. One way of understanding those different directions is through American exceptionalism. Sanders voters want to make America more like the rest of the world. Trump voters want to keep America a nation apart.

American exceptionalism today generally denotes Americans' peculiar faith in God, flag, and free market--the Sanders campaign represents an assault on all three [while Trump supports all three].

Trump's entire campaign is built around the idea that foreign influences are infecting the United States. "The U.S.," he declared upon announcing his presidential campaign, "has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems."

Trump's supporters like the fact that he's rich, blunt, and hasn't spent his life in politics. But his pledges to keep the rest of the world at bay are core to his appeal.

Source: The Atlantic magazine, "War Over American Exceptionalism" , Feb 11, 2016

Ignore career diplomats who insist on nuance

The career diplomats who got us into many foreign policy messes say I have no experience in foreign policy. They think that successful diplomacy requires years of experience and an understanding of all the nuances that have been carefully considered before reaching a conclusion. Only then do these pin-striped bureaucrats CONSIDER taking action.

Look at the state of the world right now. It's a terrible mess, and that's putting it kindly. There has never been a more dangerous time. The so-called insiders within the Washington ruling class are the people who got us into trouble. So why should we continue to pay attention to them?

Here's what I know--what we are doing now isn't working. And years ago, when I was just starting out in business, I figured out a pretty simple approach that has always worked well for me: "When you're digging yourself deeper and deeper into a hole, stop digging."

Source: Crippled America, by Donald Trump, p. 31-2 , Nov 3, 2015

Offered himself as Cold War nuclear-arms-treaty negotiator

[In the 1980s], flying from place to place in his Trump helicopter and Trump jet, he offered opinions on everything from politics to sex, and continually declared himself to be superior in every way. He frequently referred to the many people who thought he should run for president and sometimes acted as if he were a real candidate.

During one especially tense Cold War moment, he even offered himself to the world as a nuclear-arms-treaty negotiator. His reasoning? A man who can make high-end real estate deals should be able to bring the United States and the Soviet Union into agreement.

Source: Never Enough, by Michael D`Antonio, p. 10 , Sep 22, 2015

When you love America, you protect it with no apologies

I love America. And when you love something, you protect it passionately--fiercely, even. We are the greatest country the world has ever known. I make no apologies for this country, my pride in it, or my desire to see us become strong and rich again. After all, wealth funds our freedom. But for too long we've been pushed around, used by other countries, and ill-served by politicians in Washington who measure their success by how rapidly they can expand the federal debt, and your tax burden, with their favorite government programs.

American can do better. I think we deserve the best. That's why I decided to write this book. The decisions we face are too monumental, too consequential, to just let slide. I have answers for the problems that confront us. I know how to make American rich again.

Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 7 , Dec 5, 2011

Things change; empires come and go

A lot of life is about survival of the fittest and adaption, as Darwin pointed out. It's not all there is, but it's an indication of how the world has evolved in historical terms. We've seen many empires come and go--the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire- there have always been surges of power. Sometimes they last for centuries. Even so, some of us have never learned of them as of today. In other words, things change. We have to keep up with the changes and move forward.
Source: Think Like a Champion, by Donald Trump, p. 23-4 , Apr 27, 2010

Use tough negotiators instead of naive academic people

I could give you the names of ten to twenty of the greatest deal- makers in the world who live in this country. These great negotiators could go up against China or Iran and work out a fabulous deal for the United States. Instead we have well- meaning but na‹ve academic people negotiating, who do not know what they are doing in tough real- life situations. They have never faced tough, winner- take- all, fight- to- the- death negotiations against ruthless and vicious adversaries. If the government used our best negotiators, it would solve a lot of our problems and the United States would come out on top. For one thing, we have all the cards: we have the strongest military and the strongest economy on Earth, or at least we had.

We would be negotiating from strength. We would win if we would just sit down and negotiate--but using our best people!

Source: Think Big, by Donald Trump, p.152-3 , Sep 8, 2008

Persuasion, not power, is diplomacy at its best

I believe that the key to striking a deal is persuasion, not power. Persuasion is diplomacy at its best-the ability to convince people to accept your ideas. You don't want to force people to accept your ideas. That's a recipe for disaster. Instead, you want them to think that the decision was theirs, which gives them a greater sense of power and control. Your objectives should be to make your adversaries feel like they're your partners, not your victims. Present your ideas in a way that will not intimidate your adversaries or make them feel that they are being forced to surrender. In successful negotiations, all parties should feel satisfied with the outcome.
Source: Trump 101, by Donald Trump, p. 60 , Oct 20, 2006

Countries and corporations must both evolve, or fade away

Much of life and business is about survival, and Darwin taught us that to survive, we must adapt. Evolution is constant in business and life. Even the most powerful empires have come and gone. Just look at history, the Roman, Ottoman, and British Empires once dominated the world, and then each faded away.

Since everything always changes, constantly reevaluate the big picture. Reexamine the landscape; see what's changed and what those differences could mean to you. Then figure out how you can keep up with and make the changes work for you.

Source: Trump 101, by Donald Trump, p. 99-100 , Oct 20, 2006

Criticized Buchanan’s view on Hitler as appeasement

In Buchanan’s book, he actually said the Western allies were wrong to stop Hitler. He argued that we should have let Hitler take all of the territories to his east. What of the systematic annihilation of Jews, Catholics, and Gypsies in those countries? You don’t have to be a genius to know that we were next, that once Hitler seized control of the countries to his east he would focus on world domination.

Pat Buchanan was actually preaching the same policy of appeasement that had failed for Neville Chamberlain at Munich. If we used Buchanan’s theory on Hitler as a foreign policy strategy, we would have appeased every world dictator with a screw loose and we’d have a brainwashed population ready to go postal on command.

After I [wrote an article on this for] Face the Nation, Buchanan accused me of “ignorance.” Buchanan, who believes himself an expert, has also called Hitler “a political organizer of the first rank.” Buchanan is a fan.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.267-68 , Jul 2, 2000

Post-Cold War: switch from chess player to dealmaker

In the modern world you can’t very easily draw up a simple, general foreign policy. I was busy making deals during the last decade of the cold war. Now the game has changed. The day of the chess player is over. Foreign policy has to be put in the hands of a dealmaker.

Two dealmakers have served as president-one was Franklin Roosevelt, who got us through WWII, and the other was Richard Nixon, who forced the Russians to the bargaining table to achieve the first meaningful reductions in nuclear arms.

A dealmaker can keep many balls in the air, weigh the competing interests of other nations, and above all, constantly put America’s best interests first. The dealmaker knows when to be tough and when to back off. He knows when to bluff and he knows when to threaten, understanding that you threaten only when prepared to carry out the threat. The dealmaker is cunning, secretive, focused, and never settles for less than he wants. It’s been a long time since America had a president like that.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.111-12 , Jul 2, 2000

Donald Trump on Alliances

Foreign aid only to friends of America

Dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America's sovereign right to make the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year.

That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America's friends.

Source: 2018 State of the Union address , Jan 30, 2018

I said it was obsolete, but NATO is no longer obsolete

As a candidate, President Trump disparaged NATO as a musty relic of old thinking, an alliance focused on long-gone adversaries rather than new-era threats, a burden that drained American resources on behalf of ungrateful partners. In a word: "obsolete."

That was then. After 82 days in office, Trump officially pronounced NATO rehabilitated, taking credit for transforming it into a modern, cost-sharing, terrorism-fighting pillar of American and European security. "I said it was obsolete," the president noted as he hosted NATO's secretary general. "It's no longer obsolete."

Never mind that the alliance has changed very little if at all in the last three months, and that whatever modest changes have been made were in train long before Trump entered the White House. After weeks of being lobbied, cajoled and educated by the leaders of Britain and Germany, not to mention "my generals," as he likes to call his national security team, Trump has found fresh virtue in a venerable organization.

Source: New York Times on Trump Administration promises , Apr 13, 2017

NATO: apply new solutions to face new circumstances

Trump's about-face in supporting NATO was only part of a day of flip flops: the president determined that China is not a currency manipulator after all, and embraced the Ex-Im Bank that he once called unnecessary. Most striking, he pivoted on Russia, lashing it for supporting rogue nations after years of praising Pres. Vladimir Putin.

The Russia reversal and the NATO turnabout were inherently linked, of course. As Russia appears more ominous, NATO seems more necessary. But the shift in attitude also offered one of the starkest examples yet of Trump's evolving views: "We must not be trapped by the tired thinking that so many have, but apply new solutions to face new circumstances throughout the world," Trump said at his news conference with the NATO secretary general.

Trump's campaign criticism of NATO stunned many at home and abroad, especially when he suggested conditioning America's commitment to defend its treaty allies on whether they had met their financial obligations.

Source: New York Times on Trump Administration promises , Apr 13, 2017

Other countries should follow UK in leaving EU

In comments that are likely to create fresh tensions with the United States' closest European allies, President-elect Donald J. Trump said other European nations would probably follow Britain's lead by leaving the European Union.

Trump said that Britain's decision to leave the European Union would "end up being a great thing" and predicted that other countries would follow. "People, countries want their own identity, and the U.K. wanted its own identity," he said.

Diplomats said they had heard him sound off during the campaign. But with the inauguration less than a week away, there is a growing realization in European capitals that Trump's acerbic criticism of NATO and the European Union was not just an attempt to win votes.

Source: New York Times on Trump Administration promises , Jan 15, 2017

NATO is obsolete; it doesn't fight terrorism

In an interview published this week, President-elect Donald J. Trump described NATO as "obsolete." Trump has made similar comments before. But the fact that he made them in a joint interview with two European publications--The Times of London and Bild, a German newspaper--and did so days before assuming the presidency alarmed European diplomats.

"I took such heat when I said NATO was obsolete," Mr. Trump said. "It's obsolete because it wasn't taking care of terror. I took a lot of heat for two days. And then they started saying, 'Trump is right.'"

During his hourlong interview with the European publications at Trump Tower in Manhattan, Trump sought to temper some of his criticism of NATO by noting that the alliance "is very important to me." Still, his characterization of it as divorced from the fight against terrorism was challenged by NATO experts, who noted that the alliance had joined the US in Afghanistan.

Source: New York Times on Trump Administration promises , Jan 15, 2017

US cannot afford to be world's police; let NATO allies pay

The 28 countries of NATO, many of them aren't paying their fair share. We're defending them, and they should at least be paying us what they're supposed to be paying by treaty and contract. NATO could be obsolete, because they do not focus on terror. We pay approximately 73 percent of the cost of NATO. It's a lot of money to protect other people. I'm all for NATO. They have to focus on terror also.

Hillary will tell you to go to her website and read all about how to defeat ISIS, which she could have defeated by never having it get going in the first place. It's getting tougher to defeat them, because they're in more and more places, more and more states, more and more nations.

I want to help all of our allies, but we are losing billions and billions of dollars. We cannot be the policemen of the world. We cannot protect countries all over the world where they're not paying us what we need.

Source: First 2016 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University , Sep 26, 2016

Reimbursement for US military bases in rich countries abroad

As for nations that host US. military bases, Trump said he would charge those governments for the American presence. "I'm going to renegotiate some of our military costs because we protect South Korea. We protect Germany. We protect some of the wealthies countries in the world, Saudi Arabia. We protect everybody and we don't get reimbursement. We lose on everything, so we're going to negotiate and renegotiate trade deals, military deals, many other deals that's going to get the cost down for running our country very significantly."

Trump then got into a specific example: Saudi Arabia, one of the more important US allies in the Middle East. Saudis "make a billion dollars a day. We protect them. So we need help. We are losing a tremendous amount of money on a yearly basis and we owe $19 trillion," he said.

Walking back trade deals and agreements that allow the US military to operate overseas is easier said than done. But Trump has tapped into a powerful anti-Washington populist sentiment.

Source: Foreign Policy Magazine on 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 28, 2015

Support NATO, but it's not us against Russia

Q: You wrote, "Pulling back from Europe would save this country millions of dollars annually. The cost of stationing NATO troops in Europe is enormous. And these are clearly funds that can be put to better use." Would you want to end the NATO alliance completely?

TRUMP: I'm a little concerned about NATO from this standpoint. Take Ukraine. We're leading Ukraine. Where's Germany? Where are the countries of Europe leading? I don't mind helping them. Why isn't Germany leading this charge? Why is the United States? I mean, we're like the policemen of the world. And why are we leading the charge in Ukraine?

Q: So you wouldn't allow Ukraine into NATO?

TRUMP: I would not care that much. Whether it goes in or doesn't go in, I wouldn't care. Look, I would support NATO.

Q: It sounds like you're not a fan of NATO

TRUMP: I'm a fan of fairness. I'm a fan of common sense. I'm certainly not a fan of us being against Russia. Why are we always at the forefront of everything?

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview, Chuck Todd and Donald Trump , Aug 17, 2015

Donald Trump on Mideast

FactCheck: Yes, Senate approved US Embassy in Jerusalem

TRUMP: Last month, I took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

OnTheIssues Fact Check: Is that true? The United States Senate unanimously supported declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel? Despite the controversy--and possible war with the Palestinians--that such a declaration could cause? Yes, we checked; the Senate voted 90-0-10 (unanimous with ten abstentions or absences). The resolution said, "June 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and the reunification of the city of Jerusalem. The Senate reaffirms the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 as United States law, and calls upon the President and all United States officials to abide by its provisions." The 1995 law calls for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, including a progress report every 6 months. President Trump is now implementing the 1995 law, 23 years later and 46 progress report due dates later.

Source: OnTheIssues Fact-Check on 2018 State of the Union address , Jan 30, 2018

Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Trump announced his decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, fulfilling a promise he made during his presidential campaign. Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had made the same promises during their campaigns, but once in office, they did not carry through with the move, citing its potential negative impact on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump drew warnings from Middle Eastern and European leaders that overturning the United States' long-standing policy would further complicate peace negotiations.

The internationally unsettled status of Jerusalem and its central importance to Jews, Muslims and Christians explains why, while recognizing the state of Israel, no nation has its embassy in the holy city.

Source: Catholic News Service, "Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel" , Dec 6, 2017

Unbreakable alliance with the state of Israel

I have also imposed new sanctions on entities and individuals who support Iran's ballistic missile program, and reaffirmed our unbreakable alliance with the State of Israel.

Finally, I have kept my promise to appoint a Justice to the United States Supreme Court--from my list of 20 judges--who will defend our Constitution. I am honored to have Maureen Scalia with us in the gallery tonight. Her late, great husband, Antonin Scalia, will forever be a symbol of American justice. To fill his seat, we have chosen Judge Neil Gorsuch, a man of incredible skill, and deep devotion to the law. He was confirmed unanimously to the Court of Appeals, and I am asking the Senate to swiftly approve his nomination.

Source: 2017 State of the Union address to Congress , Feb 28, 2017

Unite civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow. We will reinforce 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.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, "how good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity." We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action--constantly complaining but never doing anything about it. The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.

Source: 2017 Trump Inaugural address at presidential Inauguration , Jan 20, 2017

Supports construction of Israeli settlements in West Bank

President-elect Donald Trump publicly pressured President Obama to veto a United Nations resolution critical of Israel. Trump called on the president to use the US veto in the UN Security Council to block the Arab-sponsored resolution, which condemned the "construction and expansion" of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Obama administration, which vetoed a similar resolution in 2011, had withheld judgment over the latest measure.

Trump amplified his position by posting the statement on Facebook and Twitter as well: "The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed." His words closely echoed the positions expressed by Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has treated the impending UN vote as a crisis, posting on his own Twitter account a message urging Obama to veto what he called the "anti-Israel" resolution. Egypt, who drafted the resolution, withdrew it afterwards.

Source: NY Times on Twitter posting: 2016 Trump transition promises , Dec 22, 2016

Treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end

Q: The United States should help defend Israel from attack by its enemies.

Trump: "When I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one," he said, to applause. "I will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately. I have known him for many years and we'll be able to work closely together to help bring stability and peace to Israel and to the entire region." American tycoon Donald Trump criticized the White House's treatment of Israel, saying, "There has never been a greater enemy to Israel than Barack Obama."

Clinton: In September 2010, while meeting with Netanyahu, Clinton said the US has an obligation to do all it can to "protect and defend the State of Israel and provide security to the Israeli people." She condemned Palestinian terrorism and advocated for Israel's right to defend itself.

Stein: Has proposed slashing the $4 billion annual military aid package to Israel, and would press for a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Source: 2016 AFA Action iVoterGuide on 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 8, 2016

Obama paid $1.7 billion cash ransom to Iran for hostages

Hillary Clinton's policies have put Iran onto a path of nuclear weapons. They were dying 3 years ago. The sanctions were choking them. They would have fallen.

But remember the ransom payments. Remember, it was $400 million two weeks ago. But then they made a mistake. This is cash. They said they paid cash because they couldn't open a bank account. There was no way of sending it into a checking account.

The $400 million turned out to be $1.7 billion in cash--cash! They said, "oh, that money's going to be used for terror." I said they don't need it. This is going into their Swiss accounts. They have plenty of money for terror.

Think of it--$1.7 billion in cash--massive, big vats of cash. You saw them--cartons. I never saw anything like it. I've seen a lot of cash. Hey, never saw anything like this. They wouldn't give back the hostages, and Obama kept saying, "no, no, this has nothing to do [with ransom]"--even the hostages said they kept us waiting for a certain plane to come in.

Source: 11th Annual Value Voters Summit - 2016 , Sep 9, 2016

At AIPAC: railed against Palestinians' demonization of Jews

Thousands of Jewish activists gathered for Trump's long-awaited speech to AIPAC on his approach to the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate. Dozens of rabbis and others had announced plans to boycott the event, both because Trump had pledged to be "neutral" in talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump said he was best-positioned to get a Middle East peace deal because he's a negotiator, "like you folks."

This time, he was squarely on Israel's side. He railed against the Palestinians' demonization of Jews. He reminded the crowd that he'd lent his personal jet to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani when he visited Israel weeks after the 9/11 attacks and that he'd been grand marshal of the Israel Parade in New York in 2004, at the height of violence in the Gaza Strip. He made sure everyone noted that Ivanka would soon give birth to a "beautiful Jewish baby."

Source: Trump Revealed, by Michael Kranish & Mark Fisher, p. 13 , Aug 23, 2016

FactCheck: Yes, nuke deal sent planeloads of cash to Iran

Trump asserted that "Iran--we gave them $1.7 billion in cash. I mean, cash. Bundles of cash as big as this stage." Is that true? We dug up the facts from a CNN article:

"The Obama administration secretly arranged a plane˙delivery of˙$400 million˙in˙ cash on the same day Iran released four American prisoners˙and˙formally implemented˙the nuclear deal. The money was flown into Iran on wooden pallets stacked with Swiss francs, euros and other currencies˙as the first installment of a $1.7˙billion settlement˙resolving˙claims at an international tribunal at The Hague over a failed arms deal under the time of the Shah.

The $400 million was Iran's to start with, placed into a US-based trust fund to support American military equipment purchases in the 1970s. When the Shah was ousted by a 1979 popular uprising, the US froze the trust fund. Iran has been fighting for a return of the funds--plus $1.3 billion in interest--through international courts since 1981."

Source: CNN Fact-Check coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 3, 2016

Don't take sides with Israel, so we can lead negotiations

Q: You said about the ongoing conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians -- "Let me be sort of a neutral guy. I don't want to say whose fault it is; I don't think it helps." How do you remain neutral when the U.S. considers Israel to be America's closest ally in the Middle East?

TRUMP: President Obama has treated Israel horribly. I have very close ties to Israel. I've received the Tree of Life Award and many of the greatest awards given by Israel. As president, however, there's nothing that I would rather do to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors generally. And I think it serves no purpose to say that you have a good guy and a bad guy. Now, I may not be successful in doing it. It's probably the toughest negotiation anywhere in the world of any kind. But it doesn't help if I start saying, "I am very pro-Israel." It doesn't do any good to start demeaning the neighbors, because I would love to do something with regard to negotiating peace, finally, for Israel and for their neighbors.

Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

I could negotiate a deal with Israel and Palestinians

RUBIO: He thinks a Palestine [and Israeli settlement] is a real estate deal. The Palestinians are not a real estate deal, Donald.

TRUMP: A deal is a deal. Let me tell you that. I learned a long time ago.

RUBIO: A deal is not a deal when you're dealing with terrorists. Have you ever negotiated with terrorists?

TRUMP: I'm a negotiator. I've done very well over the years through negotiation. It's very important that we do that. In all fairness, Marco is not a negotiator. I watched him melt down and I'll tell you, it was one of the saddest things I've ever seen. You will never bring peace.

Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

Figure out who our allies are

Q: What three questions do you ask your national security experts?

TRUMP: What we want to do, when we want to do it, and how hard do we want to hit? We are going to have to hit hard to knock out ISIS. We're going to have to learn who our allies are. We have allies, we have no idea who they are in Syria. Do we want to stay that route, or do we want to go and make something with Russia?

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

Iran deal is one of the worst I've ever seen

Sen. Ted CRUZ: If you look at the threats facing this country, the single gravest threat, national security threat, is the threat of a nuclear Iran. That's why I've pledged on day one to rip to shreds this Iranian nuclear deal.

TRUMP: The Iran deal is one of the worst deals I have ever seen negotiated in my entire life. It's a disgrace that this country negotiated that deal.

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

Opening gates to Syrian refugees invites in ISIS

We're going to open the gates to refugees from places like Syria, which is like extending a personal invitation to ISIS members to come live here and try to destroy our country from within. This is America today, the shining city on a hill, which other countries used to admire and try to be like.

So what can be done about it? How do we start winning again? To start with, we need a government that is committed to winning and has experience in winning.

Source: Crippled America, by Donald Trump, p. 2-3 , Nov 3, 2015

Provide economic assistance to create a safe zone in Syria

Q: Where you are on the question of a safe zone or a no-fly zone in Syria?

TRUMP: I love a safe zone for people. I do not like the migration. I do not like the people coming. What they should do is, the countries should all get together, including the Gulf states, who have nothing but money, they should all get together and they should take a big swath of land in Syria and they do a safe zone for people, where they could to live, and then ultimately go back to their country, go back to where they came from.

Q: Does the U.S. get involved in making that safe zone?

TRUMP: I would help them economically, even though we owe $19 trillion.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 interview on Syrian Refugee crisis , Oct 11, 2015

US should not train rebels it does not know or control

Q: The Russians are hitting Assad as well as people we've trained.

TRUMP: Where they're hitting people, we're talking about people that we don't even know. I was talking to a general two days ago. He said, "We have no idea who these people are. We're training people. We don't know who they are. We're giving them billions of dollars to fight Assad." And you know what? I'm not saying Assad's a good guy, because he's probably a bad guy. But I've watched him interviewed many times. And you can make the case, if you look at Libya, look at what we did there-- it's a mess-- if you look at Saddam Hussein with Iraq, look what we did there-- it's a mess-- it's going be same thing.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 4, 2015

Better to have Mideast strongmen than Mideast chaos

Q: You think the Middle East would be better today if Gaddafi, Saddam and Assad were stronger? That the Middle East would be safer?

TRUMP: It's not even a contest. Iraq is a disaster. And ISIS came out of Iraq.

Q: Well, let me button this up. If Saddam and Gaddafi were still in power, you think things would be more stable?

TRUMP: Of course it would be. You wouldn't have had your Benghazi situation, which is one thing, which was just a terrible situation.

Q: Would you pull out of what we're doing in Syria now?

TRUMP: no, I'd sit back.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 4, 2015

Stop sending aid to countries that hate us

Devex compiled a list of quotes from Trump that provide a window into his view on foreign aid:
Source: Devex global development blog, "Trump on foreign aid" , Sep 1, 2015

More sanctions on Iran; more support of Israel

What does Donald Trump believe? Iran and Israel: Walk away from nuclear talks. Increase sanctions.

Trump has said that the U.S. is mishandling current Iran negotiations and should have walked away from the table once Tehran reportedly rejected the idea of sending enriched uranium to Russia. He would increase sanctions on Iran. Trump has been sharply critical of the Obama administration's handling of relations with Israel and has called for a closer alliance with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Jun 16, 2015

Donald Trump on Political Hotspots

Sanctions on Communist dictators in North Korea & Cuba

My Administration has imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela. But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.

North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening.

Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position. We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies.

Source: 2018 State of the Union address , Jan 30, 2018

2012: Get tough on Pakistan; 2016: lavish praise on Pakistan

President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in one of the many routine, get-acquainted chats he'll have before entering the White House. These talks rarely if ever make news, but this conversation raised eyebrows because Trump lavished praise on Sharif and Pakistan despite years of tension between the two countries, saying "You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way. Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems."

Previous remarks by Trump were not so effusive. Back in 2012, Trump tweeted, "Get it straight: Pakistan is not our friend. We've given them billions and billions of dollars, and what did we get? Betrayal and disrespect--and much worse. #TimeToGetTough". And in July 2012: "When will Pakistan apologize to us for providing safe sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden for 6 years?! Some 'ally.'"

Source: NPR.org analysis of Trump's Twitter posts on Pakistan , Dec 1, 2016

Reverse Obama's opening of Cuba until freedoms are restored

Mike Pence declared to a roomful of Miami Republicans night that the Trump administration would maintain the U.S. embargo against Cuba upon entering office. "Let me make a promise to you: When Donald Trump and I take to the White House, we will reverse Barack Obama's executive order on Cuba," Pence said. "We will support a continuation of the embargo until we see real political freedom in that nation once and for all."

The GOP vice presidential candidate's statement echoes his running mate, who tweeted two days ago : "@realDonaldTrump: The people of Cuba have struggled too long. Will reverse Obama's Executive Orders and concessions towards Cuba until freedoms are restored."

President Obama's executive actions, in part, have lifted a series of restrictions on Cuba, opened a U.S. embassy in the country and established travel and business between the two nations. He issued additional directives to further loosen restrictions aimed at increasing trade with the island nation.

Source: NBC News on Donald Trump's Twitter posts , Oct 14, 2016

FactCheck: Japan should defend itself, including with nukes

V.P. nominee Tim Kaine said, "Donald Trump believes that the world will be safer if more nations have nuclear weapons. He's said Saudi Arabia should get them, Japan should get them, Korea should get them. And when he was confronted with this, and told that proliferation could lead to nuclear war, here's what Donald Trump said:: 'Go ahead, folks, enjoy yourselves.' "

Is that true? Yes, the quotation is accurate, but it's out of context. From "The Guardian" of 4/2/16:

Trump told a crowd he was sanguine about potential hostilities between North Korea and its neighbors. He said that if conflict between Japan and nuclear-armed North Korea were to break out, "it would be a terrible thing but if they do, they do". "Good luck," he added. "Enjoy yourself, folks." According to Trump: "The case could be made to let [Japan] protect themselves against North Korea, they'd probably wipe them out pretty quick." Trump previously suggested that South Korea and Japan should have their own nuclear weapons.

Source: 2016 Vice-Presidential Debate at Longwood University , Oct 4, 2016

FactCheck: No, Iran is not a trading partner of North Korea

On North Korea, Donald Trump said in the first debate, "Iran is one of their biggest trading partners; Iran has power over North Korea." Is that true?

The MIT Atlas indicates that Trump is incorrect: "The top export destinations of North Korea are China ($2.67B), India ($71M), Pakistan ($40M), Nigeria ($20M) and Brazil ($19M). The top import origins are China ($3.49B), Thailand ($107M), Russia ($82M), India ($75M) and Singapore ($48M)." Iran is not in the top five trading partners of North Korea, whether counting exports or imports.

Maybe Trump meant that North Korea is on the top list of Iran's trading partners? The MIT Atlas indicates that Trump is also incorrect if that's what he meant "The top export destinations of Iran are China ($25B), India ($10B), Japan ($6B), South Korea ($4B) and Turkey ($1B). The top import origins are China ($24B), India ($4B), South Korea ($4B), Turkey ($4B) & Germany ($3B)."

We note that South Korea is on Iran's list of top trading partners--not North Korea!

Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on First 2016 Presidential Debate , Sep 28, 2016

Iran has power over North Korea, as their trading partner

[With regards to nuclear proliferation], I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it's over. At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can't take anything off the table. Because you look at some of these countries, you look at North Korea, we're doing nothing there. China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea. China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea.

And by the way, another one powerful is the worst deal I think I've ever seen negotiated that you started is the Iran deal. Iran is one of their biggest trading partners. Iran has power over North Korea.

And when they made that horrible deal with Iran, they should have included the fact that they do something with respect to North Korea. And they should have done something with respect to Yemen and all these other places.

Source: First 2016 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University , Sep 26, 2016

Brexit vote means people want to see borders

Q: Your views on "Brexit," the British exit vote from the European Union?

DONALD TRUMP: People want to see borders. They don't necessarily want people pouring into their country that they don't know who they are and where they come from. People want to take their country back. They want to have independence, in a sense. And you see it all over Europe. You're going to have, I think, many other cases where they want to take their borders back, they want to take their monetary [system] back, they want to take a lot of things back. They want to be able to have a country again. So I think you're going to have this happen more and more. And I think it's happening in the United States.

Q: Do you think he's right that there's a parallel?

SEN. TIM KAINE: There's a couple things you've got to understand. Young voters, those under 50, especially millennials, overwhelmingly voted to stay. And it was older voters who voted to leave [because pf] immigration issues and European regulation.

Source: Meet the Press 2016 interviews of presidential hopefuls , Jun 26, 2016

Develop nukes in South Korea & Japan to counter North Korea

At the Nuclear Security Summit, the president was asked for his reaction to Trump's suggestion that US allies Japan and South Korea manufacture their own nuclear weapons as a defense against North Korean aggression. Obama said the comments "tell us the person who made the statements doesn't know much about nuclear policy, or the Korean Peninsula or the world generally." White House aides pointed out that Trump's policy would reverse decades of bipartisan US foreign policy and would increase nuclear proliferation.

Trump has argued that allowing Japan and South Korea to get the weapons would relieve the US of defending their East Asia allies. Foreign leaders from both countries have dismissed the idea. "You have so many countries already--China, Pakistan, you have so many countries, Russia--you have so many countries right now that have them," Trump said during a CNN town hall. "Now, wouldn't you rather, in a certain sense, have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons?"

Source: NBC News, "Nuclear Weapons," by Andrew Rafferty , Apr 1, 2016

China should make Kim Jong Un disappear

Trump was asked how he would respond to North Korea's nuclear threat. "I would get China to make that guy disappear in one form or another very quickly," Trump said. He didn't clarify whether disappearing was equivalent to being assassinated but said, "Well, I've heard of worse things, frankly."

"I mean, this guy's a bad dude, and don't underestimate him," Trump said, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "Any young guy who can take over from his father with all those generals and everybody else that probably want the position, this is not somebody to be underestimated."

Trump maintained that China has control over North Korea and the US has control over China--thus "China should do that," he said. "China has control--absolute control--over North Korea. They don't say it, but they do," Trump explained. "And they should make that problem disappear. China is sucking us dry. They're taking our money. They're taking our jobs. We have rebuilt China with what they've taken out."

Source: Nolan McCaskill on Politico.com , Feb 10, 2016

China totally controls North Korea; they're just taunting us

Without China, North Korea doesn't even eat. China is ripping us on trade. They're devaluing their currency and they're killing our companies. We've lost between four and seven million jobs because of China. What I said then was, "we have very unfair trade with China. We're going to have a trade deficit of 505 billion dollars this year with China. I would start taxing goods that come in from China.
Source: Fox Business Republican 2-tier debate , Jan 14, 2016

Diplomacy & respect crucial to our relationship with Russia

Q: This week we're going to see a lot of world leaders come to Manhattan. Might you have a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: Well, I had heard that he wanted to meet with me. And certainly I am open to it. I don't know that it's going to take place, but I know that people have been talking. We'll see what happens. But certainly, if he wanted to meet, I would love to do that. You know, I've been saying relationship is so important in business, that it's so important in deals, and so important in the country. And if President Obama got along with Putin, that would be a fabulous thing. But they do not get along. Putin does not respect our president. And I'm sure that our president does not like him very much.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 20, 2015

We must deal with the maniac in North Korea with nukes

[With regards to the Iranian nuclear deal]: Nobody ever mentions North Korea where you have this maniac sitting there and he actually has nuclear weapons and somebody better start thinking about North Korea and perhaps a couple of other places. You have somebody right now in North Korea who has got nuclear weapons and who is saying almost every other week, "I'm ready to use them." And we don't even mention it.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Cuban embargo: 50 years is enough

Breaking ranks with nearly all of his fellow 2016 Republican contenders, Donald Trump says he supports President Barack Obama's decision to reengage diplomatically with Cuba. "50 years is enough," Trump said, referring to Obama's decision to re-establish U.S. ties with Cuba. "I think it's fine, but we should have made a better deal," Trump added. "The concept of opening with Cuba is fine."

Trump joins libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul as the only Republican running for president to express his support for normalizing relations with Cuba. The rest of the GOP field has slammed Obama's decision to reopen the U.S. embassy in Havana and engage diplomatically with the government of Cuba.

Source: Jeremy Diamond on CNN , Sep 8, 2015

China is our enemy; they're bilking us for billions

China is bilking us for hundreds of billions of dollars by manipulating and devaluing its currency. Despite all the happy talk in Washington, the Chinese leaders are not our friends. I've been criticized for calling them our enemy. But what else do you call the people who are destroying your children's and grandchildren's future? What name would you prefer me to use for the people who are hell bent on bankrupting our nation, stealing our jobs, who spy on us to steal our technology, who are undermining our currency, and who are ruining our way of life? To my mind, that's an enemy. If we're going to make America number one again, we've got to have a president who knows how to get tough with China, how to out-negotiate the Chinese, and how to keep them from screwing us at every turn.
Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 2 , Dec 5, 2011

By 2027, tsunami as China overtakes US as largest economy

There is a lot that Obama and his globalist pals don't want you to know about China's strength. But no one who knows the truth can sit back and ignore how dangerous this economic powerhouse will be if our so-called leaders in Washington don't get their acts together and start standing up for American jobs and stop outsourcing them to China. It's been predicted that by 2027, China will overtake the United States as the world's biggest economy--much sooner if the Obama economy's disastrous trends continue. That means in a handful of years, America will be engulfed by the economic tsunami that is the People's Republic of China--my guess is by 2016 if we don't act fast.

For the past thirty years, China's economy has grown an average 9 to 10 percent each year. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, China's economy grew a robust 9.7 percent. America's first quarter growth rate? An embarrassing and humiliating 1.9 percent. It's a national disgrace.

Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 30 , Dec 5, 2011

China: lack of human rights prevents consumer development

Why am I concerned with political rights? I’m a good businessman and I can be amazingly unsentimental when I need to be. I also recognize that when it comes down to it, we can’t do much to change a nation’s internal policies. But I’m unwilling to shrug off the mistreatment of China’s citizens by their own government. My reason is simple: These oppressive policies make it clear that China’s current government has contempt for our way of life.

We want to trade with China because of the size of its consumer market. But if the regime continues to repress individual freedoms, how many consumers will there really be? Isn’t it inconsistent to compromise our principles by negotiating trade with a country that may not want and cannot afford our goods?

We have to make it absolutely clear that we’re willing to trade with China, but not to trade away our principles, and that under no circumstances will we keep our markets open to countries that steal from us.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.119 & 123 , Jul 2, 2000

Be tougher on China-we’re too eager to please

Our biggest long-term challenge will be China. The Chinese people still have few political rights to speak of. Chinese government leaders, though they concede little, desperately want us to invest in their country. Though we have the upper hand, we’re way to eager to please. We see them as a potential market and we curry favor with them at the expense of our national interests. Our China policy under Presidents Clinton and Bush has been aimed at changing the Chinese regime by incentives both economic and political. The intention has been good, but it’s clear that the Chinese have been getting far too easy a ride.

Despite the opportunity, I think we need to take a much harder look at China. There are major problems that too many at the highest reaches of business want to overlook, [primarily] the human-rights situation.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.117-18 , Jul 2, 2000

Donald Trump on Russia

OpEd: Next drama always changed conversation: except Russia

In six months as president, failing to master almost any aspect of the bureaucratic process, [Trump] had, beyond placing his nominee on the Supreme Court, accomplished practically speaking, nothing. And yet, OMG!!! There almost was no other story in America -- and in much of the world. That was the radical and transformational nature of the Trump presidency: it held everybody's attention.

Whatever problems [Trump] might have caused in the past had reliably been supplanted by new events, giving Nothing seemed to move on from those two events [referring to James Comey, the director of the FBI fired for allowing the Russia investigation; and Robert Mueller, Special Counsel investigating Russian collusion in the 2016 election].

Source: Fire & Fury, by Michael Wolff, pp.232&251 , Jan 5, 2018

Condemn Russian & any country's involvement in our elections

Q: What about allegations of Russian involvement in this election?

TRUMP: I don't know Putin. He said nice things about me. If we got along well, that would be good. He has no respect for our president. He has no respect for [Hillary Clinton].

CLINTON: Well, that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

TRUMP: No puppet. You're the puppet!

CLINTON: It's pretty clear you won't admit that the Russians have engaged in cyberattacks against the United States of America, [but] we have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these cyberattacks come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election.

TRUMP: She has no idea whether it's Russia, China, or anybody else.

Q: Do you condemn any interference by Russia in the American election?

TRUMP: By Russia or anybody else. Let me tell you, Putin has outsmarted her and Obama at every single step of the way.

Source: Third 2016 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace , Oct 19, 2016

Russia wants to defeat ISIS as badly as we do; work together

Q: What prepares you to make the decisions that a commander-in-chief has to make?

A: I've built a great company. I've been all over the world. I've dealt with foreign countries. I've done tremendously well dealing with China and with many of the countries that are just ripping this country. I think the main thing is I have great judgment.

Q: What steps would you take to bring Putin back to negotiating table?

A: I would have a good relationship with Putin. Take a look at what happened with their fighter jets circling one of our aircraft in a very dangerous manner. Somebody said less than 10 feet away. This is hostility. Russia wants to defeat ISIS as badly as we do. If we had a relationship with Russia, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could knock the hell out of ISIS?

Q: Putin called you a brilliant leader.

A: When he calls me brilliant, I'll take the compliment. The fact is, look, it's not going to get him anywhere. I'm a negotiator. We're going to take back our country.

Source: 2016 NBC Commander-in-Chief forum with Matt Lauer , Sep 7, 2016

It's good that Putin says nice things about me

Trump noted that Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin, had been quoted saying that Trump was brilliant. Trump smirked at American media accounts suggesting it maybe wasn't a great thing for a presidential candidate to be praised by the autocratic leader of one of the country's most difficult rivals. "Oh, isn't it terrible that Putin said nice things?" Trump mocked. "That's not terrible, that's good...Wouldn't it be nice if we could get along with people?" Reporters were forever twisting his words, making it sound as if Trump supported Putin, he said. "By the way, I hate some of these 'reporters'. But I'd never kill them. I hate them". The cheers reached a new pinnacle, and Trump, his voice rising with the crowd's lusty shouts, added, "Some of them are such lying, disgusting people, it's true, it's true. But I would never kill them."
Source: Trump Revealed, by Michael Kranish & Mark Fisher, p. 6-7 , Aug 23, 2016

1987 thru 2013: Tried to build Trump Tower in Moscow

As early as 1987, Trump had expressed interest in building a Trump Tower in the Soviet Union. That year, on a visit to Moscow and Leningrad--now St. Petersburg--he said Soviet officials had asked him to consider building luxury hotels there. "There are not too many ideas that I become attracted to, but that is one I think would interest a lot of people," Trump said at the time. "Not purely from an economic standpoint, either."

At the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow in 2013, Trump said he was in serious talks about building a skyscraper in Moscow. Trump made a series of complimentary comments about Putin.

Trump would express admiration for Putin's leadership, despite his record of prosecuting and persecuting journalists and political opponents. Still, no Trump Tower rose over Moscow.

Source: Trump Revealed, by Michael Kranish & Mark Fisher, p.245 , Aug 23, 2016

Let Russia bash ISIS; let Germany defend Ukraine

Q: Russia has invaded Ukraine, and has put troops in Syria. You have said you will have a good relationship with Mr. Putin. So, what does President Trump do in response to Russia's aggression?

TRUMP: As far as Syria, if Putin wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%, and I can't understand how anybody would be against it.

Q: They're not doing that.

TRUMP: They blew up a Russian airplane. He cannot be in love with these people. He's going in, and we can go in, and everybody should go in. As far as the Ukraine is concerned, we have a group of people, and a group of countries, including Germany--why are we always doing the work? I'm all for protecting Ukraine--but, we have countries that are surrounding the Ukraine that aren't doing anything. They say, "Keep going, keep going, you dummies, keep going. Protect us." And we have to get smart. We can't continue to be the policeman of the world.

Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Good that Russia is involved in Syria

Q: You came across to me as if you welcomed Putin's involvement in Syria. You said you saw very little downside. Why?

TRUMP: I want our military to be beyond anything, no contest, and technologically, most importantly. But we are going to get bogged down in Syria. If you look at what happened with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, that's when they went bankrupt.

Q: So, you think Putin's going to get suckered into--

TRUMP: They're going to get bogged down. Everybody that's touched the Middle East, they've gotten bogged down. Now, Putin wants to go in and I like that Putin is bombing the hell out of ISIS. Putin has to get rid of ISIS because Putin doesn't want ISIS coming into Russia.

Q: Why do you trust him and nobody else does?

TRUMP: I don't trust him. But the truth is, it's not a question of trust. I don't want to see the United States get bogged down. We've spent now $2 trillion in Iraq, probably a trillion in Afghanistan. We're destroying our country.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 4, 2015

Putin has no respect for America; I will get along with him

Q: What would you do right now if you were president, to get the Russians out of Syria?

TRUMP: Number one, they have to respect you. He has absolutely no respect for President Obama. Zero. I would talk to him. I would get along with him. I believe I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with. I think I will get along with Putin, and I will get along with others, and we will have a much more stable world.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Support Russia, but with strings attached

I don’t understand why American policymakers are always so timid in dealing with Russia on issues that directly involve our survival. Kosovo was a perfect case in point: Russia was holding out its hand for billions of dollars in IMF loans (to go along with billions in aid the U.S. has given) the same week it was issuing threats and warnings regarding our conduct in the Balkans. We need to tell Russia and other recipients that if they want our dime they had better do our dance, at least in matters regarding our national security. These people need us much more than we need them. We have leverage, and we are crazy not to use it to better advantage.

Few respect weakness. Ultimately we have to deal with hostile nations in the only language they know: unshrinking conviction and the military power to back it up if need be. There and in that order are America’s two greatest assets in foreign affairs.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.134 , Jul 2, 2000

Supports standing with the nation of israel.

Trump supports the CC survey question on support of Israel

The Christian Coalition Voter Guide inferred whether candidates agree or disagree with the statement, 'The U.S. Should Continue to Support and Stand with the Nation of Israel Against her Enemies' The Christian Coalition notes, "You can help make sure that voters have the facts BEFORE they cast their votes. We have surveyed candidates in the most competitive congressional races on the issues that are important to conservatives."

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 16_CC14 on Nov 8, 2016

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