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Political notebook

Trump, laying out foreign policy, promises coherence

Republican front-runner Donald Trump expanded on his foreign policy vision in a speech Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump expanded on his foreign policy vision in a speech Wednesday in Washington, D.C.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump, fresh from a string of resounding primary victories in Eastern states, promised a foreign policy on Wednesday that he said would put “America first,” castigating President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for what he described as Middle East missteps that had disillusioned the nation’s allies and emboldened its rivals.

Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, pledged a major buildup of the military, the swift destruction of the Islamic State, and the rejection of trade deals and other agreements that he said tied the nation’s hands. He also pointedly rejected the nation-building of the George W. Bush administration, and reminded his audience that he had opposed the Iraq War.


“America is going to be strong again; America is going to be great again; it’s going to be a friend again,” Trump declared. “We’re going to finally have a coherent foreign policy, based on American interests and the shared interests of our allies.”

“The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends and when old friends become allies,” he said. “That’s what we want: We want to bring peace to the world.”

Speaking soberly, and reading from a teleprompter in the first foreign-policy address of his campaign, Trump broke little new ground in terms of policies or programs. He declined, for example, to give details on his plans to destroy the Islamic State to avoid tipping the military’s hand, saying only that “they will be gone quickly.”

But he elaborated on his recent demand that the United States’ allies bear a greater financial burden for their own security. As president, he said, he would hold summit meetings in Europe and Asia to overhaul NATO and rebalance nuclear security arrangements with Japan and South Korea. (He did not repeat a statement he made to The New York Times that those countries should consider acquiring their own nuclear weapons.)


Trump was scathing about the Obama administration’s intervention in Libya, lashing Clinton to the policy, which he said had left a security vacuum to be filled by the Islamic State. He also faulted Obama for his policy in Syria, saying that the president failed to enforce the red line he had laid down there. Yet Trump also made clear he would only use military force as a last resort.

“Our friends and enemies must know that if I draw a line in the sand, I will enforce that line in the sand — believe me,” Trump said. “However, unlike other candidates for the presidency, foreign aggression will not be my first instinct.” He did not mention anyone by name, though his leading Republican opponent, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, has threatened to carpet-bomb the Islamic State until the desert sand glows.

There were paradoxes throughout Trump’s speech. For example, he called for a return to the coherence of US foreign policy during the Cold War era. Yet he was openly suspicious of the institutions and security alliances that undergirded that time period. And though he promised to eradicate the Islamic State, he said the campaign against extremism — or as he called it, “radical Islam” — was as much a philosophical struggle as a military one.

New York Times

Sanders says he will press on to have say in platform

WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders’ movement for a political revolution is reaching a crossroads even as he promises to campaign against Hillary Clinton through the June primaries and into the Philadelphia convention.


The Vermont senator said in an interview with the Associated Press after losses to Clinton in Tuesday’s primaries in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Connecticut that he would now seek as many delegates as possible to ‘‘fight for a progressive party platform,’’ acknowledging that he had only a ‘‘very narrow path’’ to the nomination.

‘‘Every person in this country should have the right to vote for whom they want to see as president of the United States and what they want to see the agenda, Democratic agenda, look like,’’ Sanders said Tuesday.

Sanders said at a rally at Purdue University in Indiana on Wednesday that he was ‘‘in this campaign to win and become the Democratic nominee,’’ adding, ‘‘If we do not win, we intend to win every delegate that we can so that when we go to Philadelphia in July we’re going to have the votes to put together the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.’’

Yet the implication of Tuesday’s losses was evident Wednesday, when the campaign said it was laying off ‘‘hundreds’’ of field staffers and other aides to focus on winning the California primary on June 7.

The campaign will have gone from a staff of more than 1,000 in January to about 325 to 350, spokesman Michael Briggs said.

Associated Press

Foul called on Cruz for misstating basketball term

INDIANAPOLIS — While courting Indiana voters with their state’s love of basketball, what should have been a slam dunk for Ted Cruz quickly turned into a foul Tuesday night when he appeared to refer to the hoop as a ‘‘basketball ring’’ while re-creating a scene from the famous film ‘‘Hoosiers.’’


Cruz’s comment was ridiculed on social media, drawing comparisons to Democrat John Kerry’s famous faux pas while running for president in 2004, when he referred to the Green Bay Packers home field in football crazed-Wisconsin as ‘‘Lambert Field,’’ instead of Lambeau.

Cruz acknowledged his gaffe while speaking to reporters Wednesday in Indianapolis, saying ‘‘I stumbled while speaking.’’

‘‘The point of that observation is the power brokers in Washington want this race to be over and the media over and over again is repeating Donald Trump’s spin that the race is over,’’ he said.

Cruz joked that his campaign team wanted him to run laps for making the mistake.

Associated Press