WASHINGTON — The Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz campaigns found common ground today in their disdain for Donald Trump’s foreign policy address.
In a statement, the Texas senator said that “few speeches in campaign history have raised graver problems of public disclosure and accountability by a presidential candidate.”
“Mr. Trump owes a full and immediate accounting to members of the media and the American public. Mr. Trump must confirm or deny reports in the media that others in the Washington Cartel’s industry of foreign policy for personal gain were involved in the drafting of this address — indeed, were the principal authors. In addition to the authors of the speech, he must fully identify the role and involvement of Mr. Manafort who is widely recognized for his entanglements with corrupt foreign regimes and anti-Democratic rulers,” Cruz said.
The clients of Trump’s convention manager, Paul Manafort, have included Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia after being deposed by pro-democracy demonstrations in 2014.
“This speech is the most dramatic evidence thus far that Donald Trump fails the presidential test,” Cruz continued. “With this address he is now the foreign policy candidate of the Washington lobbyists — even as he proclaims ‘America first,’ he puts K Street lobbyists first. He is never going to fight the system, he is the system.”
“He and Hillary Clinton are two sides of the same coin. She has made her millions from inside and Donald Trump has made his billions buying people like Hillary Clinton. Both are part of the culture of foreign policy for personal gain.”
Trump vowed to “shake the rust off America’s foreign policy” in a wide-ranging foreign policy speech that centered around his credo that “no country has ever prospered that failed to put its own interests first.” He said his foreign policy “will always put the interests of the American people and American security above all else.”
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in a conference call arranged by the Clinton campaign after Trump’s speech, mused that “maybe it was just meant to be entertainment.”
Albright said she was “hoping to hear something that made sense” in the address, but heard “simplistic slogans, contradictions and misstatements.”
“He just underscored the fact that he is running the most reckless and dangerous campaign in modern history,” she said. “…It was incoherent and riddled with contradictions.”
Albright also noted Trump’s use of “America First” and compared it to the U.S. movement that dispelled the Nazi threat and wanted to keep America out of World War II. “Maybe he never read history or doesn’t understand it,” she added.
“If you don’t know enough history to know that, that’s enough of a disqualifier there,” added Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), also on the Clinton call.
Of Trump’s prepared remarks delivered via TelePrompTer, Kaine admitted, “I would have felt better about this speech if he would have tweeted it or did it off the cuff … it really to me looks worse because it was prepared and delivered in a somber setting. Did nobody edit it?”
Albright added that “somebody who wrote the speech thought it was intelligent.”
She said the content of the speech “makes me doubt that he has fully thought about the slogans he uses.”
Trump’s defenders after the address included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), especially after the GOP frontrunner was mocked on Twitter for mispronouncing Tanzania and San Bernardino in the speech.
“Washington elites mock Trump for mispronouncing Tanzania. They don’t get it. He said the most important word correctly: America. He gets it,” Gingrich tweeted. “…Elites have to attack Trump’s foreign policy speech because he is challenging their core values and failures. To them it is dangerous ideas.”