Trump’s Turn to ‘Realism’

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman praises Trump's worldview

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee praised GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s vision for international relations Friday, arguing that he would return America a posture of “realism” regarding the rest of the world.


Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has not endorsed anyone in the GOP race. But the warm comments for Trump on “The Laura Ingraham Show” by an Establishment figure represent fresh evidence that party leaders are coming to grips with the likelihood that the New York billionaire will be their standard-bearer in the fall.

Corker said there was much to like in Trump’s major foreign policy speech this week at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.

CORKER: I thought Donald Trump gave a very good talk, and candidly, as you know, there is a foreign policy Establishment here in Washington — if not the elected officials but these groups, if you will, that all around the city try to influence what happens in that regard. They haven’t been particularly stellar, in my opinion, in advocating what should happen.

I like the fact that he’s challenging the status quo. I really do. And I think that we’ve made some mistakes. There needs to be some maturity to what we’re doing, some realism to what we’re doing. There’s been too much of this thinking that if we send in our military, that we’re going to turn a country into a democracy. And I like the fact that he’s challenging much of what has happened …

I thought that Trump’s speech was a good speech. I was glad to listen to it. I thought it was a great transition, actually, and at a very important moment during this presidential campaign … I look forward to hearing more.

INGRAHAM: They’re calling him over at, I think maybe The Atlantic, or one of these magazines, New Republic, the “pro-Putin presidency.” What about that?

CORKER: One of the reasons Putin went into Crimea and eastern Ukraine was he saw that President Obama wouldn’t take action, meaning that when the red line was crossed in August of 2013 [regarding Syrian use of chemical weapons], you know, he didn’t take action. We jumped in Putin’s lap. Putin saw that as a weakness in our country, and he, therefore, realized that if he did what did in Crimea, he would not pay a price.

I’ve talked to world leaders on my many travels who have had that conversation with him, where he says, “Look, there’s just no pushback to what I’m doing in foreign policy. It helps me at home, creates this great nationalistic fervor. There’s no price to pay. I’m going to continue.” And then we see now in Syria again, where he basically, whatever happens in Syria’s future is going to be determined by Putin, not the United States …

What Trump is saying is we have to negotiate with them from a position of strength. That’s absolutely true. I mean, that’s how we were successful with them for decades … As it relates to us having common interests relative to terrorism, that’s true.

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INGRAHAM: Trump’s approach, would it be more Reaganesque or more Bush-like? How would you describe it?

CORKER: I don’t know. That would be something for him to answer.

INGRAHAM: Well, you heard the speech — or you read the speech. Is it more ‘peace through strength’ or is it more pre-emptive action?

CORKER: I see it as more of a realism, something that … Bush 41, a Jim Baker approach, that just looking at what our national interest is first and dealing with what we have in the world sphere on that basis, and not trying to change the world … I sense more of a realism creeping into what he’s saying … I do think that he’s evolving.

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