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My job is not to represent the world but to put America’s interests first, says US President Donald Trump

On international commerce, Trump said he believed in free trade but brought up his criticism that it was not currently fair and led to loss of millions of American jobs

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America's new President Donald address a rally
Trump addressing a debate, wikimedia
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Washington, March 1, 2017: Stepping away from decades of US insistence on engineering the world according to its perceptions, President Donald trump said his job is not to represent the world but to put America’s interests first while respecting the right of nations to chart their own course.

In his annual State of the Union Address to the joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, Trump said: “My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the US.”

Presenting a gentler version of his America First policy, he said Washington will “respect the sovereign rights of nations”.

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“Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the people — and America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path,” he said.

“But we know that America is better off, when there is less conflict — not more.”

Instead of isolationism, the President said: “Our foreign policy calls for a direct, robust and meaningful engagement with the world.”

For this, he said: “America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships, where shared interests align. We want harmony and stability, not war and conflict.”

As for American leadership, he said it will be “based on vital security interests that we share with our allies across the globe”.

These elements of his emerging foreign policy mark a break from previous Democratic and Republican administrations’ policy of nation-building and exporting democracy.

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In practice, though, these policy claims mired the US in wars even as they exposed the hypocrisy of supporting dictatorial regimes where it suited the economic or foreign policy interests.

Tuesday’s speech also toned down the strident ‘America First’ agenda that he presented at his inaugural address on January 20.

But he reiterated his promise “to demolish and destroy” the Islamic State, which he described as “a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs”.

“We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet,” he said.

While offering continued support to the NATO and other allies in an attempt to allay fears, Trump reiterated his condition they should meet their share of the financial obligations.

“And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that,” he asserted.

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 “We expect our partners, whether in NATO, in the Middle East, or the Pacific — to take a direct and meaningful role in both strategic and military operations, and pay their fair share of the cost.”

On international commerce, Trump said he believed in free trade but brought up his criticism that it was not currently fair and led to loss of millions of American jobs.

“I am not going to let America and its great companies and workers, be taken advantage of anymore,” he said.

“I am going to bring back millions of jobs. We must create a level playing field for American companies and workers.” (IANS)

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Trump meets Florida school shooting survivors, suggests arming teachers

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers

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The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.
The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers. Wikimedia Commons

US President Donald Trump met survivors and families of the victims that were killed in the Florida school shooting and suggested that teachers and staff members should be provided with arms to avert such massacres, the media reported.

Trump’s comment came during a White House “listening session” on Wednesday which was attended by families and students including six survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year-old man Nikolas Cruz armed with an assault rifle killed 17 people on February 14, reports CNN.

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.

“If you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly,” he said, stating that schools could arm up to 20 per cent of their teachers to stop “maniacs” who may try and attack them.

Also Read: Is Donald Trump’s presidency turning out to be a reward for Trump Jr.?

“This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun, and it would be, it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone,” Trump said. “Gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us’.”

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.
The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence. Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledging that the idea was controversial, Trump said that his administration would give it serious study.

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.

Trump’s idea of arming teachers and school staff was met with support from many of the attendees, CNN reported.

Fred Abt, the father of Parkland shooting survivor Carson Abt, said he had discussed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that rather than waiting for first responders to arrive, it would be more efficient to have firearms locked on school campuses.

Also Read: Daughter of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump to celebrate Diwali in a Hindu Temple in the US

“One possible solution, which may not be very popular, would be to have people in the school, teachers, administrators who have volunteered to have a firearm safely locked in the classroom who are given training throughout the year,” he said.

“There are plenty of teachers who are already licensed to carry firearms, have them raise their hands to volunteer for the training, and when something like this starts, the first responders are already on campus.

Andrew Pollack, a father of one of the 17 victims who died in the Florida shooting, said he was speaking because his daughter couldn’t.

“We as a country failed our children…

This shouldn’t happen.”

The President, flanked by the students, went around the room and shook hands before commencing the session.

Also Read: DACA is a Bold Welcome Step by President Trump

Trump also later tweeted he would “always remember” the event, adding “we must keep our children safe”.

“I will always remember the time I spent today with courageous students, teachers and families,” he tweeted, along with a link to the full event.

“So much love in the midst of so much pain. We must not let them down. We must keep our children safe!!” (IANS)