America First (policy)

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America First refers to a foreign policy in the United States that emphasizes American nationalism and anti-interventionism, in rejection of internationalist policies. It is the current official policy of the administration of President Donald Trump.[1][2][3][4]


America First has sometimes been used as a slogan by some Republicans in later periods, notably by Pat Buchanan, who praised the anti-WWII America First Committee and said "the achievements of that organization are monumental."[5] Buchanan's "call for an America First foreign policy has been compared with the America First Committee."[6]

President Trump[edit]

President Trump's Six Months of America First, a video released from the White House.

Without referencing Pat Buchanan's prior usage or the AFC, Trump said that "'America First' will be the major and overriding theme" of his administration during his campaign for President, and advocated nationalist, anti-interventionist positions;[7] following his election to the Presidency, America First has become the official foreign policy doctrine of the Trump Administration.[1] It was a theme of Trump's inaugural address, and a Politico/Morning Consult poll released on January 25, 2017 stated that 65% of Americans responded positively to President Trump's "America First" inaugural message, with 39% viewing the speech as poor.[8] In 2017, the Administration proposed a federal budget for 2018 with both Make America Great Again and America First in its title, with the latter referencing its increases to military, homeland security, and veteran spending, cuts to spending that goes towards foreign countries, and 10-year objective of achieving a balanced budget.[9]

The slogan has been criticized by some for carrying comparisons to the America First Committee;[10] however, Trump denied being an isolationist, and said, "I like the expression."[11] A number of scholars (such as Deborah Dash Moore), commentators (such as Bill Kristol) and Jewish organizations (including the ADL and JCPA) criticized Trump's use of the slogan because of its historical association with nativism and antisemitism.[12]

Others have said that Trump is not a non-interventionist and never has been.[13][14] Columnist Daniel Larison from The American Conservative writes that "Trump was quick to denounce previous wars as disasters, but his complaint about these wars was that the U.S. wasn't 'getting' anything tangible from them. He didn't see anything wrong in attacking other countries, but lamented that the U.S. didn't 'take' their resources" and that "he never called for an end to the wars that were still ongoing, but talked only about 'winning' them."[15] Indeed aspects of his foreign policy, such as that concerning the European Union, suggest that he is willing to use interventionist tactics where he feels this supports his interests. Examples include building alliances with far-right conservatives in Germany to undermine the government and by extension the EU,[16] and both economic and politically-based critiques and policies aimed at undermining the European Union.[17]

In popular culture[edit]

The policy and its phrasing became a subject of international satire through the Every Second Counts video contest inspired by Dutch comedian Arjen Lubach and launched by German comedian Jan Böhmermann following Trump's inauguration.[18] News satire television programs initially throughout Europe, and later from around the world, comically appealed to Trump to acknowledge their own countries in light of Trump's nationalist slogan, with a narrator employing a similar voice, speech patterns, and exaggerations to those of Trump himself.[19][20] Lubach's initial version, for example, ended by noting that "We totally understand it's going to be America first, but can we just say: The Netherlands second?".[21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "America First Foreign Policy". The White House. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  2. ^ Shapiro, Ari (January 23, 2017). "As Trump Adopts 'America First' Policy, China's Global Role Could Change". National Public Radio. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  3. ^ "The New Nationalism". The Economist. November 19, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Trump details 'America First' foreign plan". BBC World Service. April 28, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  5. ^ Pat Buchanan (October 13, 2004). "The Resurrection of 'America First!'". The American Cause. Retrieved 2008-02-03 
  6. ^ Michael Cox and Martin Durham, "The Politics of Anger: The Extreme Right in the United States" (p. 287), in Paul Hainsworth, ed., The Politics of the Extreme Right: From the Margins to the Mainstream, London/New York: Pinter, 2000, ISBN 1855674599
  7. ^ DelReal, Jose A. (April 27, 2016). "Trump, pivoting to the general election, hones 'America First' foreign policy vision". Washington Post. Retrieved January 26, 2016. 
    Haberman, Maggie; Sanger, David E.; Trump, Donald (March 26, 2016). "Transcript: Donald Trump Expounds on His Foreign Policy Views". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  8. ^ Sherman, Jake (January 25, 2017). "Poll: Voters liked Trump's 'America first' address". POLITICO. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
    Savransky, Rebecca (January 25, 2017). "Majority of Americans approves of Trump's 'America First' message". The Hill. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Trump's budget proposal truly puts America first". The Hill. May 24, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2018. 
  10. ^ Elving, Ron (January 21, 2017). "Trump Vows Policy Vision Of 'America First,' Recalling Phrase's Controversial Past". NPR. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  11. ^ Thomas, Louisa (July 24, 2016). "America First, for Charles Lindbergh and Donald Trump". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 2, 2017. 
  12. ^ Thomas, Louisa (July 24, 2016). "America First, for Charles Lindbergh and Donald Trump". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 2, 2017. 
    Calamur, Krishnadev (January 21, 2017). "A Short History of 'America First'". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
    Nathan-Kazis, Josh (January 20, 2017). "Trump's 'America First' Leaves Jewish Groups Hesitant". The Forward. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
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  18. ^ Camila Domonoske (6 February 2017). "If America's No. 1, Who's No. 2? European Nations Compete For The, Uh, Honor". NPR. Retrieved 7 February 2017. 
  19. ^ Hillary Busis (7 February 2017). "Meet the Men Trolling Trump in Those Viral European Videos". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 7 February 2017. 
  20. ^ Boyer, Lauren (January 25, 2017). "Dutch TV Show Trolls Donald Trump For 'America First' Message". U.S. News & World Report. 
  21. ^ "Click this page. It's Huge. Like Donalds hands. It's the funniest website in the world! Believe us!". Every Second Counts. Neo Magazin Royale. Retrieved 8 February 2017. 
  22. ^ Purdom, Clayton (6 February 2017). "Trump's "America first" slogan parodied as other countries vie to be second". AV Club.