Donald Trump

President Trump Promises Protectionism, Neglects Freedom in Inauguration Speech

"We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American," said Trump.


Screenshot via CNN

In his first speech as President of the United States of America, Donald Trump promised to govern the country as a staunch protectionist with little interest in limited government or individual rights.

"For many decades we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry," said Trump. "We've defended other nations' borders while refusing to defend our own, and spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We've made other countries rich while the wealth strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon."

There was nothing about shrinking the size of government in the speech; on the contrary, Trump essentially promised much more muscular government intervention into the economy. He betrayed no recognition that leaving private businesses alone—rather than managing them from Washington, D.C.—is the most effective proven method of enriching society.

"One by one the factories shuttered and left our shores, without even a thought for the millions of workers who were left behind," said Trump. "The wealth of the middle class has been ripped from their homes and redistributed across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future."

A future in which economic protectionism, a ruinous ideology that fails everywhere it's tried, is the governing philosophy of the leader of the free world.

"This American carnage stops right here," said Trump.

He continued:

"America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries, making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs.

"We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American."

Trump framed the speech as a celebratory moment for the people of America: today is the day the forgotten men and women take their country back, he said. But the American people will not be in charge of the government. They hired Trump for that job: a man who feels that it is his prerogative and duty to interfere in every economic decision he doesn't like.

It's terrifying to think that a man who believes "buy American and hire American" should be rules—actual rules—is now in a position to make that happen.

For more on what Trump means for libertarianism, read Nick Gillespie, Veronique de Rugy, and Peter Suderman.

Read the speech here.