The Corner

Trump’s Foreign Policy Speech: Not Horrible

No, I’m not wavering in my opposition to the man, but I think his speech today was okay. I did have several objections. It was full of platitudes and generalizations. He gave no clear idea about how he would do much of what he claims he would do, other than walking away from the table rather than sign bad deals (no one’s ever thought of that before!). He needs to work a lot harder on reading from a TelePrompTer. He’s, dare I say it, fairly low-energy at it. He’s also clearly uncomfortable giving serious speeches with whole sentences put together to form whole paragraphs. He pretty obviously didn’t enjoy receiving only a smattering of applause, compared to the adulation he normally enjoys. Indeed, politically, the only problem for him today is that I’m sure many of his biggest fans were bored. 

All that said, grading on the curve of his past “speeches” it was a very good performance. Grading on the somewhat less generous curve of what is expected from a presidential candidate, it still gets a passing grade. Obviously, I have my disagreements on what I think the actual substance lurking beneath the text might be.  And I have doubts he understood a lot of what he was talking about with any specificity. But as for what he actually said, there wasn’t too much I could strongly disagree with and a lot I objectively agree with. More to the point, he articulated a serious and legitimate worldview and gave voters and policymakers a sense of where he’s coming from on foreign policy. That’s a lot to ask of what amounts to his first serious speech, and he delivered.

It was not, however, as good as this:

But then again, Ann is grading on a very different curve.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, will be released on April 24.

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