Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gave a major foreign policy address on Wednesday morning in Philadelphia, ahead of a “commander-in-chief” forum Wednesday evening in New York, where he will appear after rival Hillary Clinton.
The speech was hard-hitting, calm, and effective.
Trump attacked Clinton as “trigger-happy” and lacking the “temperament” to serve as commander-in-chief. He called for enforcement of laws regarding classified information, in a dig at Clinton’s email scandal. And he laid out a comprehensive series of policy steps to achieve his goals of a stronger military, such as ending the defense “sequester” cuts while offsetting the restored expenditures with cuts to discretionary spending in other places.
In one of the most stirring moments of the speech, Trump defended national symbols like the flag, an implicit rebuke to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), who has defended 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick over his decision to boycott the national anthem.
The New York Times ran a short piece, “Trump Vows to Bolster Nation’s Military Capacities,” placed far down on the home page of the “paper of record.” The article noted that Trump delivered his speech “with the aid of teleprompters,” and speculated his proposal to lift the sequester “is unlikely to gain traction in the nation’s capital” (because Democrats oppose it).
Politico, like the Times, ran the story underneath other Trump foreign policy stories, under the headline, “Trump blasts Clinton as ‘trigger-happy’ and ‘very unstable’.” CNN, which carried the speech live and convened a panel discussion about it afterwards, seemed flummoxed. Unable to find a clear avenue of attack, its commentators brought up other controversies instead. Later on Wednesday, CNN ran a segment reviving Trump’s past calls for President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
Yet the media could not quite stifle the speech’s success. In an interview on CNN, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) had to admit that when Trump is reading from a prepared text, he “doesn’t sound so crazy.” (The implication: the real Trump is actually crazy.) Israel also claimed that Trump’s comments about Hillary Clinton’s mis-handling of classified information were nullified by his call for Russia to hack her emails. When Wolf Blitzer noted Trump claimed to have been joking, Israel conceded the point.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.