Stephanie Murphy calls foreign affairs aid part of America’s soul
Stephanie Murphy is touting an HHS grant to help Central Florida combat the opioid crisis.

Stephanie Murphy
Murphy criticizes isolation and attempts to cut foreign aid funding

Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy on Wednesday declared that America’s “soft power” foreign affairs programs including foreign aid are part of the American soul and must be continued for America’s interests and security.

“I believe that every nation has an ethos, a national soul so to speak. And giving a damn about our fellow human beings in other countries and trying our best to empower them is a fundamental part of our soul,” Murphy said.

Speaking at a Winter Park conference of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, the Winter Park Congresswoman made her own life story a humanitarian case-in-point for U.S. aid worldwide and called such aid a critical tool in protecting American security.

Murphy walked a careful line, trying to not sound partisan, offering criticism of both Republicans for being soft on soft power diplomacy and foreign affairs and Democrats for being soft on “hard power” foreign affairs, military might.

However, she also hammered at President Donald Trump‘s policies of isolation and his attempts to end much of foreign aid. She charged that amounts to the United States stepping “back from its leadership role in the world.”

“I believe any retreat towards isolationism, however tentative it might appear on first blush, will ultimately make America and its allies less prosperous, and make the world a less stable and and less of a safe place,” Murphy said.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition is a nonpartisan foundation that has former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell as its honorary chair. It promotes diplomacy and U.S. foreign aid programs through the federal international affairs budget. Murphy was joined by retired Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, Walt Disney World Vice President Adam Babington and other speakers at the Winter Park forum attended by more than 200 Orlando-area business and political leaders.

It might be hard to find a member of Congress who has more personal connections with what she calls the “soft power” of American foreign relations than Murphy. She told the gathering her story of being rescued by the U.S. Navy as an infant with her family after they had fled their native Vietnam on a boat that stalled at sea.

Murphy also recalled her efforts, as a U.S. Department of Defense specialist, to lead U.S. military humanitarian aid efforts to Indonesia after that country’s devastating 2004 tsunami. She said she felt personal satisfaction in paying back the aid that saved her and American pride and a feeling of foreign affairs success in seeing the appreciation extended to the United States as Navy ships provided help.

“It helped us build this deep reservoir of goodwill toward the United States in what happens to be the most populous Muslim country in the world,” she said.

Yet Murphy, a relative hawk as a Democrat on military issues, also defended a strong defense, which she called “hard power.”

“But it is an absolute mistake for U.S. officials to provide the military with all the funding it needs, or even more than it is requesting, while starving our diplomats and our aid professionals at USAID,” she said. “President Trump has sought to do precisely that. But to date, the Congress has rejected those requests on a bipartisan basis and I expect we will continue to do so.

“The truth is that diplomats and aid workers are our nation’s first line of defense. They can prevent challenges in other countries from becoming crises and prevent crises from exploding into kinetic kinds of conflicts,” Murphy added.

Scott Powers

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 [email protected].


  • LEA

    August 22, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    Radical Democrat Congressional Leaders, like US Rep Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), US Rep Darren Soto (D-FL) and others, refuse to extend the financial help for American voters are getting in Florida as result of the time limited Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In addition, Democrat Leaders, seeking to be president, wants to add more taxes to all American workers and all businesses. They place foreigners first as demonstrated in California where Democrat Leaders give out millions of tax dollars in free healthcare to illegal/criminal immigrants.

    The Democrat Leaders downplay and make false statement about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump. The recorded reality is that approx 90 percent of American wage earners have higher take-home pay. And employers of all sizes are hiring, raising pay, increasing benefits, upgrading equipment and expanding operations. Here are several recorded examples of tax reform good news:

  • LEA

    August 22, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    The demonstrated wrongdoings in foreign affairs aid of the past Democrat Obama/Biden administration, which US Rep Stephanie Murphy, do not want to talk about: “How Obama Secretly Gave Iran Access To Billions Of Dollars — And Enabled Terrorism”

  • Andrew Nappi

    August 22, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    What tripe and nonsense. Stephanie Murphy may not know, in fact I am sure that is the case, that there is ZERO authority in the Constitution for the government to give taxpayer dollars to a foreign country. The rest of the conversation is all fluff and usurpation. It isn’t allowed.

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