Donald Trump spoke in Houston, Texas on Monday night at a rally held for Ted Cruz and Texas Republican candidates. One of the most pivotal moments was when Trump officially put a term on what encompasses his political ideology. After speaking critically of so-called “globalists”, Trump went on to identify himself as the opposite. “I’m a nationalist, OK? I’m a nationalist.”
Trump first explains the agenda of globalists. “A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country so much.” This is not a form of leadership that falls in line with Trump’s political platform, as he goes on to suggest, “And you know what? We can’t have that.”
Criticizing globalism is one thing, and is rather mainstream on the right with the emergence of Trump. However, the president did not stop there. He went one step further, well aware of the weight that comes with identifying himself in this manner. Trump said, “You know, they have a word. It sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist. And I say, really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, OK? I’m a nationalist.”
The crowd responded energetically to him labeling himself as such. To many who understand his policies, this label is only fitting, and belongs right alongside his “America First” slogan.
Trump goes on to say, “Nationalist. Nothing (paired with a brushing aside of anticipated criticism as if to say ‘Nothing is wrong with this word’) — use the word. Use the word.”
And criticism came quickly. CNN hopped on the issue immediately. “On its face, Trump seemed to simply be saying that while past presidents — and politicians — cared a lot about other countries and what other countries thought about the United States (i.e. globalists), that he cares primarily about the US and what is good for us (nationalist),” CNN reports.
They got the last bit right, how Trump “cares primarily about the US and what is good for us.” However, they incorrectly suggest that Trump does not care about “what other countries [think] about the United States.” This could not be farther from the truth. It is simply that Trump aims to have other countries perceive the United States in a different light than what previous presidents have allowed.
It can be seen throughout the many layers of Trump’s policies that he desires the U.S. to be recognized as strong, independent, and a force in the world that demands respect. Previous administrations, enacting globalist policies, allowed America to be taken advantage of when it comes to foreign relations. America has long provided more than its fair share of defense for the UN. Trade relations have dismissed the interests of the American economy and American worker. Countries have discarded members of their impoverished class to illegally immigrate to the United States and thus be America’s burden.
The American people are growing to realize the reality of this, and can see the immediate results that have come by way of two short years of nation first policies. However, this does not fall in line with the political desires of CNN and the globalist agenda.
CNN sites a reasonable definition of nationalism: “a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.”
Reading this definition, it is hard to extract something provocative if one is an unbiased observer. Nationalism sound synonymous with patriotism, and the two can be interchanged in many contexts. However, CNN suggests, “While patriotism, like nationalism, shares a pride and belief in one’s own country or values, it doesn’t include the idea of promoting your values and culture as inherently superior to those of others.”
Perhaps they grabbed a not cited second definition of nationalism here. Nowhere in the first definition is it suggested that a nationalist views their own country as “inherently superior”. Nationalism is simply the prioritization of one’s nation over others.
This is analogous to how someone would likely view their own family. It is entirely unnecessary for someone to believe that their family is “inherently superior” to others in order to live a “family first” life, and prioritize the interests of one’s family above others.
“Words matter,” CNN explains. “Especially when those words are coming out of the mouth of the President of the United States.”
Credit to CNN, this is right on point. A stadium of nearly 20,000 Americans cheered when he said, “I’m a nationalist.” Tens of thousands of Americans also cheered outside the stadium while watching it on big screens, and likely millions more were watching from home. The president is a influential beacon for the nation and the world, and his words were heard that night and continue to be discussed.
The cat is officially out of the bag. Any political analyst could have identified that Trump was a nationalist prior to this declaration. However, as CNN notes, “words matter”. This moment is pivotal and symbolic. These words are powerful, and Americans are in the wake of their effect.