Donald Trump says NATO will be expanded, because his foreign policy makes no sense

There is no Trump doctrine, nor any real coherent foreign policy, but the White House is going to "rebrand" anyway

By Matthew Rozsa
April 11, 2017 8:41PM (UTC)
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President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks to the Navy (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

President Donald Trump may have labeled his foreign policy with the mantra "America First" — a slogan that can be traced to the isolationism of aviator-turned-political-activist Charles Lindbergh — but in light of his missile attack against Syria on Thursday, the Trump administration is now claiming that the president has no foreign policy doctrine at all.

During a meeting with Trump staffers at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building last Tuesday, Trump's communications director Mike Dubke and his deputy, Jessica Ditto, told attendees that "there is no Trump doctrine," according to a report by Politico. He also called for a "rebranding" of the Trump White House.


One White House official in the room told Politico that the declaration "rubbed people the wrong way because on the campaign we were pretty clear about what he wanted to do. He was elected on a vision of America First. America First is the Trump doctrine."

Dubke later told Politico that "it was a brainstorming session, and I really wish they had spoken up in the room so that we could have had an open and honest conversation. It is unproductive adjudicating internal discussions through the media."

In a similar vein, Elliott Abrams — who worked in foreign policy positions for presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush but was passed over by Donald Trump once the president caught wind of Abrams' past criticisms of him — told Politico that Trump needs to get rid of Steve Bannon and develop a more ideologically coherent foreign policy.


"It matters," he declared when asked about the fact that Trump's foreign policy is now considered to be wildly unpredictable. He also expressed skepticism at the notion that Trump was moved to change his foreign policy beliefs because of the plight of the victims of the Syrian chemical attack, arguing that "he did not become a neocon overnight. I think we can rest assured of this."

On Tuesday, President Trump furthered his drift toward internationalism by signing an instrument for ratification of the Protocol for Montenegro's accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), something that Russia staunchly opposes.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Elliott Abrams Nato Trump Doctrine