US aid is only for friends, must serve American interests: Trump
WASHINGTON (Web Desk) – US President Donald Trump said that the United States is generous to many nations around the world but urged Congress to pass legislation that would “help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to friends of America.”
Trump used his State of the Union address to repeat a theme he has sounded since the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn Trump’s Dec. 6 Jerusalem decision, suggesting he might cut US aid to countries who don’t support American actions and policies overseas.
Countries voted “against America’s sovereign right” to recognize Jerusalem, Trump said. “American taxpayers generously sent those same countries more the $20 billion” in foreign aid.
That was based in part on a December 21 vote, 128-9, by the United Nations to declare Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void.” Thirty-five nations abstained.
While such a law would strike a chord with Americans tired of the United States giving aid to countries that don’t support US government policies, it would also remove US assistance to nations critical to the administration’s foreign policy needs.
Among the countries that voted for the measure were Iraq, which received $5.3 billion in 2016, USAID and where the US this year helped defeat the Islamist State terrorist group; Afghanistan, which received $5.1 billion in 2016 and where the US has been fighting since 2001 against terrorists and to build a stable government; and Egypt, which received $1.2 billion in 2016 and is a crucial US ally against terrorism. Most of that aid Egypt receives is part of a 1979 agreement with the USA to modernize Egypt’s military with US equipment after Egypt made peace with Israel.
Mentioning the US forces efforts in fight against militants, he said that he was proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated very close to 100% of the territory just recently held by these killers in Iraq and Syria and in other locations as well. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.
In calling for an end to chain migration as one of four pillars of his immigration plan, President Trump said in his State of the Union address the current system allows a single immigrant to “bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.”
Some Democrats in the chamber booed and grumbled at the term “chain migration.” Trump said his plan would “focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children.”
President Donald Trump urged bitterly divided Republicans and Democrats to work toward compromises on immigration and infrastructure after a bruising year of partisan battles that centred on Trump’s leadership.
“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve,” Trump said in his first State of the Union address, delivered in the chamber of the House of Representatives.
Trump used the speech, given annually by presidents to Congress, to try to overcome doubts about his presidency at a time when he is battling a probe into his campaign’s alleged ties with Russia and suffering low job approval ratings. The speech was short on details of his policy proposals.
Trump took credit for US economic gains including a soaring stock market and a low jobless rate. He boasted about the economic growth he believes will result from tax cuts Republicans pushed through Congress late last year.
“This is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream,” he said.
Trump said he would like a compromise over a plan to rebuild aging roads, bridges and other infrastructure. He said he wanted legislation to generate at least $1.5 trillion through a combination of federal, state and local spending as well as private-sector contributions.
“I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve,” he said.
Trump was calling for the type of cooperation between Republicans and Democrats that has eluded him during a rocky first year in office.