President Trump on Wednesday declared America’s standing in the world has never been stronger, after returning from a 12-day trip to five Asian nations.
Mr. Trump declined to answer shouted questions from the handful of reporters allowed into the Diplomatic Room of the White House, as controversy swirls in Washington, D.C. Mr. Trump returned from his marathon Asia trip to new developments in the Russia investigation of Russian election meddling and ties to the Trump campaign, chaos as the GOP decides what to do about Alabama’s U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore accused of sexually touching teenagers, and disagreement in the Republican Party on how to proceed on tax reform. He mentioned none of these issues in his remarks.
Instead, the president focused on what he sees as his successes abroad, and the warm welcome he received in Japan, the Philippines, China, South Korea and Vietnam.
“My fellow citizens, America is back,” he president said as he wrapped up his speech, summarizing his remarks.
He also said that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed that they would not accept a “freeze for freeze” agreement from North Korea “like those that have consistently failed in the past.”
The president touted the importance of fair trade, but — in remarks that were billed originally as a big announcement — did not announce any new trade deals.
“Fair and reciprocal trade — so important,” Mr. Trump said. “These two words — fairness and reciprocity — are an open invitation to every country that seeks to do business with the United States, and they are a firm warning to every country that cheats, breaks the rules, and engages in economic aggression — like they’ve been doing in the past, especially in the recent past.”
The president criticized “previous mistakes” of past administrations — without mentioning any of his predecessors by name — saying they had multiple failures in foreign relations.
“But the one common thread behind all of these problems was a failure to protect and promote the interests of American people and American workers,” Mr. Trump said.
The president said his administration has made “historic strides” in re-asserting American leadership in the world, adding that the “momentum from our trip will launch us” to achieve U.S. objectives abroad. Those objectives include making reciprocal, fair trade deals, and defeating foreign enemies, he said.
He touted $250 billion in trade and investment deals with China, however Bloomberg pointed out that those deals are mostly non-binding and could take years to come to fruition, if they do at all.
But the president’s assertion that America’s standing has never been better isn’t necessarily reflected in polling. A late June international survey from the Pew Research Center found only 49 percent of respondents from 37 countries viewed the U.S. favorably at the start of the Trump administration, compared with 64 percent who viewed the U.S. favorably at the end of the Obama administration.
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