MEMO: Trump’s Foreign Policy Failures Made America Less Safe


TO: Interested Parties

FROM: DNC War Room

DATE: October 22, 2020

RE: Trump’s Foreign Policy Failures Made America Less Safe

Trump’s foreign policy record is a record of failure. He promised to make better deals and end endless wars. And he said he’d make America safer and that we’d be respected again. None of that has happened.

Instead, America’s global standing has fallen to a record low. Trump has put our national security at risk for his own personal gain. He’s cozied up to dictators while alienating our allies. He’s lied about bringing our troops home. He’s brought us to the brink of war and manufactured new crises, including allowing for the resurgence of ISIS. And he’s failed to make any meaningful new deals as he ripped up old ones that were working.

Trump might think that foreign policy is an advantageous debate battlefield, but he couldn’t be more wrong. Because of Trump we’re a global laughing stock and Americans are less safe today than they were when he took office.

Trump squandered America’s global standing and weakened our influence abroad.

  • America’s global standing has plummeted to a record low under Trump, weakening our influence. For the first time ever, America’s approval rating is even lower than China’s.
  • Trump’s failed coronavirus response did further damage to America’s global standing.

Trump failed to end endless wars or bring our troops home despite his promises.

  • Trump keeps lying about having brought home our troops. There are nearly as many troops deployed in the Middle East now as when Trump took office.
  • Trump dispatched more than 20,000 additional American troops into harm’s way last year and earlier this year before lying about progress on bringing troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. 
  • Trump lied about his progress on bringing troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and is now claiming that the troops in Afghanistan will be home by Christmas, which his own military disputes

Trump put his own personal and political interests ahead of our national security.

  • Trump jeopardized national security in service of his personal interests and to grant favors to authoritarian leaders while he alienated our allies.
  • Trump said he would accept foreign interference in the election and repeatedly broke with U.S. intelligence agencies to deny Russian interference in U.S. elections.
  • Trump has business conflicts across the world, including China, where he has a secret bank account and for a number of years paid more in taxes than he did in federal income tax to the U.S.
  • Trump admitted that he owes $400 million in debt but wouldn’t say to who, despite his promises to the contrary, which experts and former intelligence officials warned is a national security risk.

Trump failed to resolve foreign policy issues and manufactured new crises abroad.

  • ISIS ISIS is resurgent inside Syria and attacks have surged in Africa, despite Trump’s claims that he defeated “100 percent” of the caliphate, and ISIS now has a greater ability to mount terrorist attacks against the West as a result of Trump’s decision to hastily withdraw American troops from Syria.
  • North Korea Despite Trump’s promises and embrace of Kim Jong Un, North Korea is more dangerous than ever after continuing to expand its nuclear and missile programs. Trump got nothing out of his summits and photo ops with North Korea, but he gave Kim legitimacy on the world stage.
  • Iran — Iran has accelerated its nuclear program and is now closer than ever before to building a nuclear bomb after Trump pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, which his own administration confirmed was working. Iran was emboldened by Trump’s empty threats and unenforced red lines, leading to an attack on U.S. service members in Iraq that left more than 100 Americans injured.
  • China — Trump settled for a phase one trade deal with China that failed to address the structural issues that sparked his trade war in the first place and only secured vague pledges to buy U.S. products, which China isn’t living up to. American farmers, manufacturers, and consumers paid the price for his failed trade war, and Trump gave China a pass on the coronavirus outbreak to secure his failed trade deal.
  • Venezuela — Trump’s strategy  failed to resolve conflict and over a year after Trump demanded that Maduro leave office, he remains in power with the backing of U.S. adversaries Russia and Cuba. 
  • Afghanistan — Trump promised to issue an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, but instead he escalated the two-decade long conflict throughout much of his presidency. Meanwhile, Trump’s promised Taliban peace deal is falling apart after months of delays and ceasefire violations.