Trump is making America great again

Monday 24 April 2017, 6.45pm | Emmanuel Centre

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As Donald Trump approached the first 100 days of his presidency, things couldn’t be worse. His administration has been more gaffe-prone, incompetent and unstable than any other in American history. Trump has been engulfed in a scandal over his campaign’s links to Russia, his first choice for National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign within weeks, and other senior officials remain under investigation for dodgy dealings with the Kremlin. And what of Trump’s key policies? Despite a Republican majority, his efforts to repeal Obamacare foundered in Congress, while his controversial ‘travel ban’ was deemed unconstitutional and blocked twice in the courts. Meanwhile, Trump has kept busy bragging about the size of his inauguration crowd and tweeting crackpot wiretapping allegations. And when it comes to foreign policy, he has been just as reckless and haphazard as his critics predicted. He has flip-flopped on NATO and has taken a bizarrely belligerent stance against longstanding allies such as Germany and Mexico. Make America great again? Quite the reverse – Trump is leading the USA towards disaster and decline.

That’s the hand-wringing liberals’ view of Trump, but have they got him right? In the eyes of his supporters, he’s the first president in history to actually follow through on his campaign promises. Trump pledged to shake up the system and put America first. He vowed to withdraw from disastrous trade deals which harm blue-collar workers like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to protect America’s borders with hardline immigration policies and to get tough on China and North Korea. And that’s what he’s done. And while the Washington establishment has tried to block him at every step, he has prevailed. But moderates need not despair. Trump was initially deplored for his isolationist foreign policy, but he is proving himself to be remarkably flexible. He has finally reasserted American global leadership by enforcing the ‘red line’ against chemical weapons and retaliating against Assad’s barbaric attacks. After standing up to Assad and Russia where Obama never dared, Trump has proved himself to be no Kremlin lackey.

So will Trump restore America to greatness? Or will he send it to the dogs?

Speakers for the motion

Former major donor to UKIP and co-founder of Leave.EU. Along with Nigel Farage, he was one of the first British politicians to visit President-elect Donald Trump. He is planning to bring Trump’s ‘drain the swamp’ political agenda to the UK by by targeting and ousting ‘corrupt’ MPs.

Financier, historian and commentator. He was the chairman and principal shareholder of the Telegraph Newspapers (1989-2004), of most of the principal newspapers in Canada and Australia, and of the Chicago Sun-Times, Jerusalem Post, and other publications. He has written extensive biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, a strategic history of the United States, and a comprehensive history of Canada. He is a weekly columnist at the National Post (Toronto) and the National Review, and is the honorary publisher of the National Interest. He is a cross-bench life peer.

Speakers against the motion

Anne Applebaum

Columnist for the Washington Post and Pulitzer prize-winning historian. She is a Visiting Professor of Practice at the London School of Economics, where she runs a programme on disinformation and 21st century propaganda. She is the author of several books, including Gulag: A History. Her forthcoming book is Red Famine, a history of the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33.

Khizr Khan

Muslim-American constitutional rights advocate and father of the late US Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in action in Iraq. His speech at the 2016 Democratic Convention, in which he denounced Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim immigration and questioned his understanding of the U.S. Constitution, was one of the most memorable moments of the election campaign.


Zeinab Badawi

BBC World News presenter.


Speakers are subject to change.