In his inaugural address, President Donald Trump vowed to fight “radical Islamic terrorism” and “eradicate it from the face of the earth,” promising that America will “shine for everyone to follow.”
Trump opened his address with a promise that “we will get the job done,” acknowledging that politicians had “reaped the rewards of the nation’s capital,” while “the people did not share in its wealth.”
While Trump focused the crux of his speech on restoring the nation’s economy and infrastructure, he did not shy away from what he repeatedly asserted was America’s greatest international challenge during the 2016 presidential campaign: radical Islamic terrorism.
“We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone,” Trump affirmed, noting also that “it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first,” not just America’s. He made clear, however, that he intends to see the United States resume leadership on the global stage. “We will shine for everyone to follow,” he promised. “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.”
“At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other,” he continued, in a subtle nod to the many protests from a loud minority on the left who has attempted to deem the President illegitimate. “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”
Given the magnitude of the occasion, Trump used polished language; however, he did deliver a message that was a hallmark of his campaign: groups such as the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban will no longer be allowed to prosper in Muslim-majority countries or spread their ideology to would-be sympathizers within our borders. “If we want to protect the quality of life for all Americans – women and children, gay and straight, Jews and Christians and all people – then we need to tell the truth about radical Islam,” Trump said in a June 2016 speech. “The media talks about ‘homegrown’ terrorism, but Islamic radicalism, and the networks that nurture it, are imports from overseas.”
“Yes, there are many radicalized people already inside our country as a result of the poor policies of the past. But the whole point is that it will be much, much easier to deal with our current problem if we don’t keep on bringing in people who add to the problem,” he said then, calling for stricter immigration controls for those entering the country from nations struggling with radical Islamic terrorism.
Trump was also extremely critical of his predecessor, now-former President Barack Obama, for refusing to refer to Islamic terrorism as Islamic terrorism. “You’ll never solve the problem if you’re afraid to use the real name. This is radical Islamic terrorism,” he said in September. Obama dismissed the use of the term as insensitive to “the billion of Muslims that exist around the world … who are peaceful.”