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Manggala: What ever happened to ‘America First?’



Of all the tacky slogans and phrases that Donald Trump developed on his campaign trail, “America First” was one that truly resonated with his voters.

Trump supporters mostly reside in rural areas that have been forgotten in terms of economic policy the past few decades. So, when Trump ran on a campaign to help bring jobs and prosperity to these working class areas, people sprinted to the voting booth with their “Make America Great Again” hats on.

But within the first 100 days of his presidency, he did the opposite of what said he was going to do and has shifted his focus to Syria.

Last Friday, the U.S. fired 59 missiles at a Syrian airbase after more than 80 people were killed, including children, in a chemical weapons attack in Northwest Syria.

The missile strikes came after Trump had seen videos of children affected by the gas attack. 

“It shouldn’t have happened. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen,” Trump said.

Many of Trump’s supporters responded in opposition to U.S. involvement in the Syrian Civil War, arguing that Trump was originally against involvement in Syria prior to his presidency.

What Trump supporters are starting to figure out — something that non-Trump supporters already knew — is that the acting president has a blatant history of contradicting himself.

Trump supporters are frustrated with his unsuccessful attempts at domestic policy, such as the American Health Care Act and the Muslim immigration bans, and frankly, Trump is too. This could be a reason why he isn’t focused on American politics right now.

In Oregon, where Trump won 39.1 percent of the state, voters trusted him to improve the state economically, even speaking at a rally in Eugene about issues that conservative Oregonians worry about, such as employment in rural areas. Unfortunately, under Trump’s proposed $1.1 trillion budget plan, Oregon would lose big time.

Trump’s budget plan would make deep cuts in federal agencies. 29,000 Oregonians work in federal agencies and rely on programs fueled by federal funds. With Trump’s plan, Oregonians won’t see economic prosperity, they’ll see unemployment. Possibly to the people who voted for him as well.

But that’s the reality of it. As long as the U.S. has the world’s largest military, with Trump doubling the next nation’s defense budget, we are going to constantly have a hand in military action across the globe, which is the reason why governors of America can’t always put America first.

Now, Republican politicians and voters are publicly speaking against Trump’s decision to strike Syria, wishing they hadn’t supported him in the first place. And they have every right to be angry.

Trump betrayed his supporters, persuading them into voting for him in exchange for an unorthodox president that was going to concentrate on rebuilding America to its “former” greatness. Yet he is doing exactly what former President Barack Obama did three years ago: striking Syria.

Of course, there are the Republicans who still support Trump’s decisions. These are the same Republicans who condemned Obama for making a similar choice toward Syria. According to an ABC poll, 86 percent of Republicans support Trump’s strike in Syria while 22 percent of the GOP supported Obama’s strike.

But there are many Republicans who really believed that Donald Trump could be the champion of the people. They believed that he would restore jobs, control immigration and provide a better solution to healthcare than Obamacare. But so far, Trump has either made small strides with his original agenda or failed them completely.

So the question begs: is Donald Trump putting America first? With the media focusing on Trump’s possible collusion with Russia and his militaristic response to Syria, it doesn’t seem like he’s planning on making America great again anytime soon.

As long as we have the strongest military, we will be focused on our militarization over our domestic policies. Donald Trump lied again, and this time to the people who trusted him most.

Follow Billy on Twitter @billymanggalol

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Billy Manggala

Billy Manggala

Opinion Columnist, Cat Father, Grilled Cheese Enthusiast