Politics

Gidley: Trump Dropped ‘Obama Apology Tour,’ Regained Respect for U.S.

By growing friendship with French President Macron and bringing North Korea to the table, the president has changed the game internationally

President Donald Trump’s refusal to continue former President Barack Obama’s international “apology tour” is “growing” relationships with foreign leaders and allowing the U.S. to be “respected again,” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Monday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

Although Obama infamously and repeatedly apologized to various countries and religious groups on behalf of the U.S. and promised to atone for the nation’s real and imagined past sins, Trump has worked to fulfill his campaign promise to “Make America Great Again” and rebuild its global and domestic standings.

Trump hosted French President Emmanuel Macron for an official state visit Monday. Macron, who assumed office in May 2017 and ran his campaign as a center-left political outsider, noted over the weekend on “Fox News Sunday” that he and Trump “have a very special relationship because both of us are probably the mavericks of the systems on both sides” and “are not part of the classical political system.”

“Remember when the fearmongers on the Left warned us that President Trump would isolate us from the world?” host Laura Ingraham asked. “They were all trashing Trump because he was going to offend the world. Now the world wants to come here and meet him.”

Gidley agreed, saying that U.S. liberals “thought the Barack Obama apology tour was the way to go about getting friends and allies, and it turns out it’s the exact opposite.”

“We’re feared again, we’re respected again. [Trump’s] growing these relationships. I mean, France has been with us forever, as you know,” Gidley said. “But he has only gone to make this bigger and better. [Trump and Macron] are close friends. They talk all of the time. The relationship couldn’t be better.”

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Trump is a conservative populist while Macron has cast himself as a globalist, and the two world leaders disagree on significant issues including the Paris agreement on climate change and keeping the Iran nuclear deal.

“There are some major differences here, but they just have a really good relationship,” Gidley said. “They were both former businessmen … no one thought they could win this election. They come in and win and they’re trying to do things differently.”

“It’s interesting because they don’t agree, like on the Paris climate deal. They obviously don’t agree on the Iran deal. The president is adamantly opposed to that,” Gidley continued. “Everyone says, ‘What’s Trump going to do? Is he going to kowtow to foreign leaders?’ He does not. He’s the best negotiator we have. He comes to the table and he tells you what he wants.”

Trump’s tough rhetoric and negotiating skills particularly came into play when dealing with the global threat North Korea posed with its nuclear weapons and the missile programs he inherited from his predecessors. Trump, who is preparing for his meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, plans to ask him to dismantle his country’s arsenal and halt its testing.

“Funny how all of the pundits that couldn’t come close to making a deal on North Korea are now all over the place telling me how to make a deal!” Trump tweeted Sunday. “We are a long way from conclusion on North Korea, maybe things will work out, and maybe they won’t — only time will tell….But the work I am doing now should have been done a long time ago!”

“For the president not to get even a modicum of praise or respect for the fact that we’re at least taking a different approach to North Korea with all the predictions of global unrest and he’s going to start World War III, this is something,” Ingraham said.

Eurasia Group founder and President Ian Bremmer, a foreign affairs columnist and editor at large for Time, told Ingraham that “Trump deserves credit” for this.

“I mean, it was the fact that [Trump] was willing to push hard that brought the Chinese to the table supporting U.S.-driven security council resolutions, and the squeezing them on sanctions that concerned the North Koreans … got [the North Koreans] to show up at the Olympics,” Bremmer said. “It got them to be willing to engage with the South Koreans.”

Related: Macron Says He and Trump Are ‘Mavericks’ with a ‘Very Special Relationship’

“If you ask who’s done more bending so far, the North Koreans or the United States, it’s clearly the North Koreans,” Bremmer added. “So far on North Korea the signs have been more positive than negative.”

Although Bremmer admitted that Trump has “made mistakes on foreign policy,” he said the North Korean situation “so far is not one of them.”

“Again, we’ve had both a Democratic and a Republican president over the course of the last decade that’s allowed the North Korean situation to only get worse — more nuclear capabilities, more missile capabilities, more cyber capabilities,” Bremmer said. “Finally we get the Chinese to the table, we get the North Koreans to the table.”

“On balance, since Trump has come in, despite the fact that he doesn’t have foreign policy experience, we have more opportunities with the North Koreans than we did before,” Bremmer added.

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.>

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