Trump’s America First vision

President Trump’s inaugural speech laid out a new “America First” vision for the country that may be more in keeping with the increasingly competitive world economy.

“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first,” Trump said. “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”

The term “America First” has a shameful history. The America First Committee, established in 1940, advocated strongly against US involvement in World War II and opposed many of Franklin Roosevelt’s interventionist policies. But there was also an undercurrent of anti-Semitism (and pro-Nazism) in the movement that was given voice by one of the group’s leading spokesman, Charles Lindberg.

Trump says his use of the term has nothing to do with anti-Semitism or isolationism. In a lengthy interview with the New York Times in March, he made clear that America simply can’t afford to play the world’s cop any more. “We’re going to be friendly with everybody, but we’re not going to be taken advantage of by anybody,” he said. “We won’t be isolationists — I don’t want to go there because I don’t believe in that. I think we’ll be very worldview, but we’re not going to be ripped off anymore by all of these countries.”

Despite all of Trump’s bluster about making America great again, his America First vision seems a recognition that America’s power and influence in the world extends only so far.

Jeffrey Sachs, a professor at Columbia University, espouses much the same view in a Boston Globe op-ed.  He says the so-called American century has run its course. “The United States remains strong and rich, but no longer dominant. We are not heading into the China Century, or the India Century, or any other, but a World Century,” he writes.

Where Sachs and Trump differ is on how to respond to this changing political dynamic. Sachs says the world’s nations should join together to address the planet’s biggest challenges, including climate change, poverty, and violence. Trump’s tone is much more combative, saying the United States is no longer going to be the patsy for the rest of the world, that, first and foremost, it’s going to look out for its own interests.



Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget proposal, due to be unveiled Wednesday, calls for more local aid, but the size of the increase was less than it was in this year’s fiscal plan. (State House News Service)

Howie Carr says the Beacon Hill pay raise push is all about fattening the pensions of House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg. (Boston Herald)

On political humor, and Attorney General Maura Healey’s inability to say the word “fart.” (CommonWealth)


A Herald editorial suggests Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s vow in his State of the City to try to bring universal pre-kindergarten to all city residents is admirable, but unlikely to happen through his effort to get the state to hand Boston the money through a surplus account connected to the state convention center.

The lawyer for the owner of a tenant farm in Westport shut down after one of the state’s worst cases of animal abuse was discovered last summer says she is making strides in ridding the farm of vermin and trash but town health officials want more access to confirm the clean-up. (Herald News)

Yarmouth officials are preparing to file a lawsuit against a homeowner that say is illegally keeping a horse and chickens on property that is too small and too close to abutters. (Cape Cod Times)


Kellyanne Conway says her boss, President Trump, isn’t going to release his tax returns, even when the audit he used as an excuse during the campaign is finished. (NPR) Conway inadvertently introduced a new hashtag: #alternativefacts. (New York Times)

A team of scholars and lawyers is filing suit Monday morning seeking to stop payments and loans by foreign governments to Trump-related businesses, claiming such monetary actions violate the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution. (New York Times)

US Rep. Joseph Kennedy, finding his voice in the wake of the Trump triumph, says Democrats must heed the economic needs of the voters who defected from the party ranks in November to cast ballots for Trump. (Associated Press) Members of the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation could find prominent roles in leading the opposition to Trump. (Boston Globe)

A Globe editorial says the weekend comments from the new administration about the Trump inaugural crowd and about the mass demonstration in Washington and hundreds of cities across the US and world “provoked a reaction that exposed Trump’s dishonesty in a way that’s much easier to appreciate than when he lies about more abstract issues.”

Women and their allies who took part in Saturday’s mass protests against Trump start to take stock of how they’ll continue the battle. Among those interviewed by the Globe, somewhat improbably: a 15-year-old black girl named Charlie Baker from Swampscott, hometown of a well-known political figure with the same name.

Russia, where 40 percent of violent crimes are committed by family members, is moving to decriminalize some cases of domestic abuse. (Associated Press)


A new WBUR poll raises issues for Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The MassINC Polling Group survey says 51 percent of Massachusetts voters view her favorably, but only 44 percent believe she deserves reelection and 46 percent think voters ought to give someone else a chance. By contrast, Gov. Charlie Baker is viewed favorably by 59 percent of the electorate, and only 29 percent think someone else should move into the corner office.

Newton Mayor Setti Warren adds Democratic communications guy Kevin Franck to his not-yet-announced 2018 run for governor. (Boston Herald)


A study suggests Airbnb is probably not hurting the traditional hotel industry. (Boston Globe)

A study by the Pew Charitable Trust finds small businesses rarely offer retirement plans for employees because of cost and tax implications but could benefit by attracting higher qualified employees if they did. (Cape Cod Times)

New Boston NAACP President Tanisha Sullivan said she will focus her group on economic and business issues involving the black community. (Keller@Large) Sullivan was featured in a One on One interview talking about her background and her agenda in the most recent issue of CommonWealth.


The US attorney’s office is investigating potential violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act by the tony Park School in Brookline, a private pre-K-8 school that denied admission to a 5-year-old girl with quadriplegia. (Boston Globe)

Meet the latest group that is buckling under the weight of college debt: older Americans. (Boston Globe)

Marshfield school officials have agreed to let the longtime football coach return for one more season, bowing to pressure from parents after initially saying they wanted to search for a replacement. (Patriot Ledger)


The American Spectator says President trump’s executive order Friday instructing his health officials to cease implementing aspects of the Affordable Care Act is “bigger than you think.


Buses are what’s next in transportation, says Mary Skelton Roberts of the Barr Foundation. (CommonWealth)


A homeless man arrested in connection with trying to blow up a Boston police cruiser with crude pipe bomb is well known to law enforcement officials. (Boston Herald)

The parents of a UMass Amherst student killed when a car driven by the Orleans town clerk hit her as she was walking her bike along the side of the road have filed a wrongful death suit against the clerk, who was placed on probation after pleading guilty last summer. (Cape Cod Times)


Sean Spicer, the spokesman for President Trump, put a stake through the traditional way media cover the president over the weekend with his false statements about the crowds at his boss’s inaugural. (Washington Post)


The New England Patriots are headed to the Super Bowl to face the Atlanta Falcons. The coverage of the Patriots win over the Pittsburgh Steelers focused a lot on the deflategate revenge factor with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, but there was nary a mention of the tight ties between the Patriots brass (Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and Robert Kraft) and President Trump. Trump, in fact, gave a shout out to Kraft the night before his inauguration.