Trump says he’s getting ‘A’s and A-pluses’ on foreign policy

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor
President Trump speaks aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford in March. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Trump says the United States must not only defeat ISIS, but it also must “humiliate” the terror group in order to dissuade young Americans from joining it.

“We have to humiliate the enemy,” Trump said in a wide-ranging interview in Time magazine published Thursday. “And if we don’t humiliate them, we’re going to have our kids continuing to go and fight for ISIS. We have kids leaving this country because they’re so damned good at the Internet, ISIS, they’re better at the Internet than Google.

“You know it’s a smart enemy, believe it or not,” the president also said. “And these kids are going over and fighting.”

Last year, U.S. law enforcement officials estimated that about 250 Americans had tried to join ISIS — though most of them never left the United States. “But a few dozen of those American recruits have made the trip to ISIS’s heartland in Syria and Iraq,” NBC News reported in May 2016.

Meanwhile, Trump says he’s been “getting very good marks in foreign policy” so far.

“People would not think of me in that light,” he told Time. “I’m just saying, and you read the same things I read. I’m getting A’s and A+s on foreign policy. And nobody thought about it.”

Related: Trump on health care: ‘Actually, it’s a very interesting subject’

Trump highlighted the missile strike against Syria as one of his chief foreign policy accomplishments.

“I think we have to be a strong nation. I think we were being laughed at by the world. They’re not laughing anymore,” Trump said of the military action taken against Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to his government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians in rebel-held areas.

“When I saw that, I thought it was incredible,” Trump said. “And then [Assad] called them child actors, and that was even, that was just a terrible disrespect. I mean when he actually said they were child actors, who would even think of that? But I felt something had to be done.”

Trump also took full credit for pressuring America’s NATO allies to increase their spending on defense. In his February speech to a joint session to Congress, Trump said that “based on our very strong and frank discussions,” members of the alliance were beginning increase their defense spending, even though some had agreed to do so before Trump’s election.

“You know we’ve gotten billions of dollars more in NATO than what we’re getting. All because of me,” Trump told Time. “I mean it’s not like a bragging thing, I’m just saying. If Hillary Clinton would have gotten in, she wouldn’t even know that we’re getting screwed by everybody.”

Describing a conversation with a naval officer, Trump boasted about his military acumen in telling the Navy what kind of catapults to use in its new Ford-class carriers:

You know the catapult is quite important. So I said, “What is this?” “Sir, this is our digital catapult system.” He said, “Well, we’re going to this because we wanted to keep up with modern [technology].” I said, “You don’t use steam anymore for catapult?” “No sir.” I said, “Ah, how is it working?” “Sir, not good. Not good. Doesn’t have the power. You know the steam is just brutal. You see that sucker going and steam’s going all over the place, there’s planes thrown in the air.”

It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out. And I said — and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers. I said, “What system are you going to be?” “Sir, we’re staying with digital.” I said, “No you’re not. You going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.”

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