Donald Trump Delivers Foreign Policy Speech In Washington, D.C. Donald Trump delivered a foreign policy address on Wednesday, complete with a teleprompter. It's supposed to be the first in a series of speeches aimed at demonstrating the Republican front-runner's policy chops.
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Donald Trump Delivers Foreign Policy Speech In Washington, D.C.

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Donald Trump Delivers Foreign Policy Speech In Washington, D.C.

Donald Trump Delivers Foreign Policy Speech In Washington, D.C.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

On the heels of his sweep of yesterday's primaries, Donald Trump declared himself the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Today, he tried to look the part, delivering a carefully crafted speech on foreign policy. NPR's Scott Horsley begins our coverage.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Donald Trump showed little of his signature bombast today as he delivered his foreign policy address. He largely stuck to his prepared text, reading from a teleprompter as he outlined the approach to global affairs he calls America first.

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DONALD TRUMP: On trade, on immigration, on foreign policy, the jobs, incomes and security of the American worker will always be my first priority.

HORSLEY: Trump was harshly critical of the way President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conducted foreign policy, but there was none of his usual name-calling. Instead, he delivered a critique much like those we've heard in the past from mainstream Republicans, like Mitt Romney and John McCain. Trump promised to beef up America's military forces and chart a more consistent course in foreign affairs.

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TRUMP: To our friends and allies, I say, America is going to be strong again. America is going to be reliable again.

HORSLEY: Mary Beth Long is a former assistant defense secretary who, like many Republican policy advisers, has been critical in the past of Trump's shoot-from-the-hip approach to foreign policy. She thinks the candidate helped himself with today's cooler approach.

MARY BETH LONG: I think, on balance, he looked more presidential. He looked more thoughtful to the extent people were looking for him to tone it down and preemptively undermine arguments that he's not prepared in the foreign-policy realm. I think he did a pretty good job.

HORSLEY: There are still some contradictions in Trump's foreign policy. He says the U.S. must be a reliable ally, but suggests we stop defending friends in Europe and Asia unless they fork over more money.

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TRUMP: The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense. And if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves.

HORSLEY: Trump also said he would work closely with, quote, "our friends in the Muslim world" to combat terrorism. But he did not back down from his proposal for a temporary ban on Muslim visitors to the U.S.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: We must stop importing extremism through senseless immigration policies. We have no idea where these people are coming from. There's no documentation. There's no paperwork. There's nothing.

HORSLEY: Mary Beth Long also notes that while Trump took a hard-line today against aggression by China and North Korea, he had little to say about Russia's moves in eastern Ukraine.

LONG: He either has blinders or he's reluctant to call out President Putin and Russia for its bad activities. And I think that will bite him.

HORSLEY: Trump has spoken approvingly in the past about Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, at least he's a leader. Trump is trying to show a different side of his own approach to leadership as he closes in on the GOP nomination and the general election. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Washington.

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