Jake Tapper: Trump’s NATO Stance Shows, “Essentially” He Doesn’t Believe The US Is “A Shining City On The Hill”
Tapper: "Could You Imagine" How Republicans Would Have Reacted To Obama If He Said "I Don't Think We Have A Right To Lecture"
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From the July 21 edition of CNN's America's Choice 2016: Republican National Convention:
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JAKE TAPPER: He is saying that unless he has reached the conclusion that those other countries are paying their share, that he will not guarantee [mutual defense]. I'll tell you something I found remarkable because I mean, from the days -- John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and other politicians dating back have talked about the United States as a shining city on a hill. The idea of American exceptionalism, the idea that we have a moral right and obligation in fact to tell other countries how to behave because we do exemplify human rights even as we try to improve constantly.
And Mr. Trump said something seemed that contradict this in a lot of ways: "I don't think we have a right to lecture, he said ... Look at what is happening in our country. How are we going to lecture when people are shooting policemen in cold blood." So the idea that two psychopaths, two evil people, have killed cops -- one in Baton Rouge and one in Dallas -- suddenly, to Mr. Trump. I don't know about suddenly. To Mr. Trump that suggests that we do not have a right to tell Turkey to President Erdogan, don't oppress your people. This, whether you like it or not, and obviously there are thousands, millions of people who like it, this is a huge break from the Republican brand of politics. In the 2004 election, there was the argument against Kerry, and this has been used against Democrats for years, that Democrats believe in multilateralism they don't believe in American exceptionalism. Whereas, the Bush-Reagan brand, both Bushes and Reagan brand, and John McCain, and Mitt Romney is that we are a superior country. Mr. Trump seems to be saying that we don't -- he says, he doesn't seem to, "I don't think we have a right to lecture," he says.
DANA BASH: Absolutely, but this is actually a place where Donald Trump has been consistent through his presidential campaign --
TAPPER: Oh, sure.
BASH: And it does make him incredibly different from so many of his Republican colleagues. And why so many of his Republican colleagues on foreign policy so strongly disagree with him because he has said, "You know what? Back to the Iraq War, Saddam Hussein wasn't a great guy but there was stability." And, you know, he would tick of dictators throughout the region. And, you know what, he is not alone in the thinking and that is the next step in the argument that he made here which is, it is not our place.
TAPPER: What he is saying here -- he's essentially saying the United States is not a shining city on a hill. That is a break from Republican politics that I have not seen ever.
BASH: It's what John McCain ran against Barack Obama on.
TAPPER: It is. Could you imagine if, in 2008, Barack Obama had said I don't think we have a right to lecture other countries. In 2012, what Mitt Romney would do if Barack Obama had said that, it would be a stunning attack. But I suspect we're going to hear a lot of Republicans support this.