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Stephanie Murphy decries ‘disconnect’ between Donald Trump’s foreign policy statement, actions

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy and other leaders of the U.S. House Democratic Caucus’ National Security Task Force declared Monday there is a “disconnect” between what President Donald Trump is doing in foreign policy and what his long-awaited foreign policy statement holds.

Murphy, the Winter Park Democrat who co-chairs that task force along with Democratic Reps. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Jimmy Panetta of California, decried that Trump’s foreign policy statement’s commitment to diplomacy in world affairs rings hollow, and that, “important partners in Europe and Asia have cause to question the U.S. commitment to our shared security. It is no surprise that confidence in U.S. leadership has fallen sharply among our closest allies.”

Those comments came in a news release that she, Moulton, and Panetta issued late Monday in response to the president’s National Security Strategy statement sent on Monday to Congress, a document required by law to have been presented last spring, and which the task force has been publicly demanding since June.

In a separate response, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat who helped found and co-chairs a bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, denounced the president’s National Security Strategy for not even mentioning climate change.

“Whether this President wants to accept the evidence or not, climate change is an urgent national security threat that’s already having damaging effects across our country. Denying the facts and removing climate change from our national security strategy will make the United States less prepared to respond to threats to our local communities and military installations. That’s why a bipartisan majority in Congress directed the Defense Department to better understand how climate change threatens our military installations and preparedness. If the President is truly serious about keeping our country safe, he should put addressing the rising sea levels, oppressive droughts, and worsening storms over protecting the big corporate polluters.”

Murphy, Moulton and Panetta also declared that the administration’s actions “represent a turn towards an undemocratic, inward-looking approach that stands as a poor excuse for American leadership.”

Trump’s National Security Strategy statement declares that in his first year in office, America has “witnessed my America First foreign policy in action. We are prioritizing the interests of our citizens and protecting our sovereign rights as a nation.”

It contends his efforts are addressing porous borders and unenforced immigration laws at home, unfair trade practices with other countries, unfair burden-sharing with allies, and inadequate investment in defense, while also rallying the world against terrorism and rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran.

“The whole world is lifted by America’s renewal and the reemergence of American leadership,” Trump’s strategy statement declares.

But,  the Democrats charged, any discussion in the document about the United States using diplomacy “rings hollow.” Among specific complaints raised by Murphy, Mouton and Panetta:

– “As we have witnessed over the past 11 months, the administration’s actions have not aligned with the language of this document. There is a fundamental disconnect between what the administration says, and what it is actually doing.

– “The document pays lip service to this notion, stating that ‘diplomacy is indispensable.’ These words ring hollow in light of the fact that the administration has clearly sought to hollow out the State Department and marginalize diplomacy as a national security tool.

– “The document says the U.S. will ‘offer encouragement to those struggling for human dignity in their societies.’ This restates a core American principle, promoted under both Republican and Democratic administrations. However, this statement rings hollow, given the President’s praise for Russian President Vladmir Putin, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and other authoritarian leaders.

– “The credibility and importance of the National Security Strategy rely entirely on the actions of the administration and alignment of these actions with the document’s stated goals. To date, these actions have not reflected the goals in the strategy and represent a turn towards an undemocratic, inward-looking approach that stands as a poor excuse for American leadership.”

Deutch’s statement read: “Whether this President wants to accept the evidence or not, climate change is an urgent national security threat that’s already having damaging effects across our country. Denying the facts and removing climate change from our national security strategy will make the United States less prepared to respond to threats to our local communities and military installations. That’s why a bipartisan majority in Congress directed the Defense Department to better understand how climate change threatens our military installations and preparedness. If the President is truly serious about keeping our country safe, he should put addressing the rising sea levels, oppressive droughts, and worsening storms over protecting the big corporate polluters.”

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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