Trump vows to fight ISIL with ‘allies from Muslim world’
WASHINGTONU.S. President Donald Trump in his first address to the Congress since taking office on Jan. 20 has vowed to fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the levant (ISIL) together with U.S.’ allies from the Muslim world.
“We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet,” Trump said on Feb. 28.
Trump referred to ISIL as “a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs.”
Trump also reaffirmed support for its longstanding security alliances around the world but insisted that friends and partners from Europe to the Middle East to the Pacific must “pay their fair share of the cost.”
He sought to reassure allies still uneasy over doubts he raised during the 2016 presidential campaign about his commitment to their defense and to maintaining a U.S. global leadership role.
But he also made clear that he expects those countries to shoulder more of the burden of their own security needs, echoing a campaign message that some allies had taken advantage of Washington’s generosity in providing them a security umbrella.
“Our foreign policy calls for a direct, robust and meaningful engagement with the world,” Trump told a joint session of Congress. “It is American leadership based on vital security interests that we share with our allies across the globe,” he said, also warning that it is not his job to “represent the world.”
“My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.”
He specifically assured NATO allies of his new administration’s continued commitment to the decades-old alliance. However, he made no mention of one of the main sources of European concern: his friendly overtures during the campaign toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two World Wars that dethroned fascism and a Cold War that defeated communism,” Trump said.
“But our partners must meet their financial obligations,” he said. “And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that.”
Then, deviating from his prepared remarks, Trump added: “In fact, I can tell you the money is pouring in. Very nice.” But he offered no specifics.
Trump’s 60-minute speech touched on his plans to overhaul the nation’s health-care system and tax code, but it was short on specifics and heavy on lofty prose. Struggling to steer a bitterly divided nation with his job-approval ratings at historic lows, Trump effectively pleaded with the American people to give him a chance and to imagine what could be achieved during his presidency.
“We are one people, with one destiny,” Trump said quietly near the end. “The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us. We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts.”
Trump eases stance on immigration
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Feb. 28 that he was open to a broad overhaul of the U.S. immigration system, a shift from his hardline campaign rhetoric, as he made his first speech to Congress following a turbulent first month in office.
After an initial month in office dominated by a fight over his temporary travel ban on seven Muslim-majority nations, Trump looked for a reset to move past a chaotic period that sowed doubts about his ability to govern effectively.
Trump said a broad immigration reform plan was possible if both Republicans and Democrats in Congress were willing to compromise. He said U.S. immigration should be based on a merit-based system, rather than relying on lower-skilled immigrants.
“I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws,” said the Republican president, who took a hard line against illegal immigrants in his 2016 campaign.
Trump has used his early weeks in office to repeat vows to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and intensify deportations of illegal immigrants who have committed crimes.
At the same time, he has expressed sympathy for children who entered the country when their parents crossed the border without proper authority, the “dreamers” who so far are protected by an ordered signed by Obama.