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Trump Delivers Conciliatory Speech…without Compromises | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan applaud as President Donald Trump arrives to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington. REUTERS/Jim Lo Scalzo

Washington – “Thank you”, tweeted US President Donald Trump in his first remark following a pacifying address to the Congress on Tuesday – a message intended to express the president’s appreciation to positive coverage by US and international media of his first official Congress speech.

Trump addressed the Congress for the first time on Tuesday in a conciliatory and calm rhetoric, presenting his vision on the country’s political, economic and foreign affairs, while maintaining firm stance on issues that have sparked public controversy since he took office in January.

During an hour-long discourse, which was interrupted by more than 96 rounds of applauses, the US president vehemently defended his decision to ban the entry of refugees and citizens of seven countries of Muslim majority, an executive order that was halted by the federal court.

“We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America. We cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists,” Trump stated.

“That is why my administration has been working on improved vetting procedures, and we will shortly take new steps to keep our nation safe and to keep out those out who will do us harm,” he added.

The US president talked concisely about diplomatic and defense policies, but warned that he would prioritize his country’s interests above all other matters.

“My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America,” he said, sparking a wave of applause.

On the other hand, Trump acknowledged US support to the international community.

“Our foreign policy calls for a direct, robust and meaningful engagement with the world. It is American leadership based on vital security interests that we share with our allies all across the globe,” he stated.

Seeking to reassure long-time allies, Trump said Washington would continue to “strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two world wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War, and defeated communism.”

He also stressed the need for US allies to increase their defense spending to guarantee a unified defense strategy.

“Our partners must meet their financial obligations. And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that. In fact, I can tell you, the money is pouring in,” he stated, adding: “We expect our partners — whether in NATO, the Middle East, or in the Pacific — to take a direct and meaningful role in both strategic and military operations, and pay their fair share of the cost.”

On terrorism, the US president pledged to work with America’s friends to fight ISIS and combat all forms of terrorism.

“As promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS — a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, men, women, and children of all faiths and all beliefs. We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet,” he said.