Donald Trump

President Trump Promises Protectionism, Neglects Freedom in Inauguration Speech

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

|

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.

NEXT: 9 Reasons Why Libertarians Should Be Worried By Donald Trump

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “There was nothing about shrinking the size of government in the speech”

    Surprise, surprise, surprise!

    1. Yeah, it’s almost like he’s not a libertarian or something!

      1. Or a Republican. They usually at least give a symbolic nod towards shrinking government.

        1. Democrats are so retarded they still haven’t realized a Democrat was just sworn into office.

          1. Yeah, sounds like half of the speech could easily have come from Bernie Sanders.

          2. I am so going to use that at a social gathering this weekend. Heads are going to asplode.

          3. Did Bernie write his speech?

      2. Yeah, it’s almost like he’s not a libertarian or something!

        YOU LIE!

  2. I wonder how I can get into German Defense contractor stocks, ASAP?

    Isn’t that “Buy American” already establish law – and a complex and goofy one to boot? No relief from that, I see.

    Oh, and one could almost hear the hardons of the Labor and construction unions forming, as he promised infrastructure building…

    1. On federal construction jobs, everything is supposed to be American-made. Invariably, the contractor will buy one box of American-made roofing screws to keep in the office for show and the ones up on the roof well out of viewing range are not.

      1. That is what I sort of recalled.

      2. I know a couple framers with union cards. It’s great work, well-paid… for maybe 2-3 months a year. The rest of the time they’re pulling UE and working small gigs under the table.

  3. He’s been president for nearly an hour, and the government has not melted away before our very eyes!
    The smell of impeachment is in the air.

    1. Speaking of smell. Did anyone else see Hillary at the inauguration and her and Bill’s trip to the ceremony. She was shooting daggers at the camera! She is fucking pissed! This should have been her coronation.

      1. Now she can go fulfill her true purpose in life, extra on the cast of ‘walking dead’. Unlike most people she just has to take her makeup off for the role.

      2. how about this look, hillary catchs bill looking at melania

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_j4ve1cttc

  4. Gosh, when I went to Hit and Run during my lunch break, the thing at the top of my mind was… “what do all the Reason writers think of the meaningless kabuki theater that is a president’s inaugural speech?”

    I’m so glad that they are there to analyze and provide commentary on this import-laden oration.

    I was on tenterhooks.

    1. “He waggled an eyebrow in his third paragraph….WHAT DOES THIS PORTEND?!?!?!”

      Meh. Imma wait and see what is proposed as legislation, what EOs come out and then get my dander up,as needed.

      1. Holy shit! He waggled it? That means a hurricane will devastate Cuba next week!!!!!!

      2. Speeches matter. They shape people’s ideals and expectations. Remember that this is a battle of ideas. Thank God for Reason. LRC has become a comolested farce.

        1. Good one, autocorrect. I didn’t even know “comolested” was a word.

          1. I didn’t see anything wrong with the statement at all. LRC has become a comolested farce.

          2. That sounds more like euphemism than autocorrect, or at least trying run “clusterfuck” through Google translate into foreignish and then back into English.

      3. then get my dander up,as needed

        It’s never needed, you pervert.

        1. Did I blow the euphemism?!

          1. A euphemism for a euphemism? Well played, sir. Well played.

    2. Especially from Robby “Yay Now We Can Be Friends With the Progs” Soave. I get the practicality of working with progs on some issues, but that’s it, they’re to be used, not treated as like-minded allies. And even then that’s a questionable strategy. Look at how well police reform has gone.

      1. Hey, congratulations on re-discovering the joys of limited government. You’re welcome to join with us on that but given that you spent the last eight years fighting for expansion of government you are very much the junior partner. Show up, pay up and shut up. No, we’re not going to your damn vegan intersectional potlucks and sing “Kumbaya” with you. And take a damn bath, Hippie.

      2. I get the practicality of working with progs on some issues

        I think you’re right that this is a questionable strategy. You have to dig through tons of SJW sewage just to find one half-rotten apple core of a decent idea. Even when you get to the apple core, you’re never going to be able to get the raw sewage washed off of it or yourself.

      3. To quote Garrett, fanatics make unreliable friends.

    3. You were expecting something else?

      It is kind of the big news of the day.

  5. Iowahawk:

    Congratulations to the President and The Third Lady

    1. David Burge, American Hero.

      1. Adapted from a joke about what to call the President of France’s mistress:

        Well, let’s see, Air Force One is a term we use for the plane the President happens to be riding at the time…

    2. Not getting it. Did he mean Trump’s daughter?

      1. I took it as referring to the fact that Melania is his 3rd wife.

      2. Melania is Trump’s third wife.

      3. Third wife joke, maybe?

        He’s a treasure but no one is 100% for the 100% of the audience.

      4. Thanks, guys. I obviously don’t pay attention to the gossip-column aspects of this.

        1. He was referring to Melania being Trump’s third wife.

        2. FWIW – I thought Ivanka as well.

        3. MELANIA IS TRUMP’S 3RD WIFE. THAT’S WHAT HE MEANT.

      5. Melania is Trump’s third wife.

      6. Trump’s been married a few times. Maybe Melania is his third wife? I’m not sure.

      7. Trump’s third wife is Melania.

      8. I think what everyone is trying to say but not getting across is that Melania is the third wife Mr. Trump has grabbed.

      9. I’m not 100% sure, but I think Melania might be Trump’s third wife.

      10. *narrows gaze at everyone except Tonio*

  6. T”here was nothing about shrinking the size of government in the speech; on the contrary”

    Maybe vaguely?

    Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.

    For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have bore the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.

    The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

    That all changes starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment

    1. That sounds more like calling for a government carrying out the Popular Will, as authoritatively ascertained by Trump as Tribune of the People.

      1. Redirecting the machinery of government, not dismantling it.

        1. Draining the swamp by moving the waters to a different but nearby location.

    2. Hope and Change! For real this time!

  7. It’s like Reason WANTS us to keep losing to East Asia.

  8. terrifying

    Has the English language run out of adjectives, or is “being a gigantic pussy” now fashionable?

    Discuss

    1. It’s fashionable and somehow viewed as edifying as well.

      I’m scared! Listen to me!

    2. I like peppering in ‘horrorscape’

    3. “Almost as scary as a flat tire in the country” work for you?

      1. /flips toothpick in mouth.

      2. /flips toothpick in mouth.

    4. Watch Robby Soave DESTROY, DISMEMBER, MUTLITATE, EVISCERATE IN FRONT OF HIS ENTIRE FAMILY BEFORE SODOMIZING HIS CORPSE Donald Trump.

      1. It may cost me my life, but I’ll make ” STEVE SMITHS ” a Reason thing.

        1. Oh right, dont’ use angle brackets. Embarrassing.

          insert name STEVE SMITHS person or concept is what I was aiming for.

          1. HTML STEVE SMITHS Pan Zag.

      2. Ok, maybe its “Hyperbole” rather than pants-wetting as a fashion-statement.

    5. I like wahgina personally. It’s shorter than saying ‘giant weeping vagina’ but pretty much means exactly that for those times just calling someone a pussy isn’t enough.

  9. Reason, please stop commenting on a major political event. I don’t comment at H&R for thoughtful political analysis. I come here to watch shit flung and to gain keen insights on the unmitigated malevolence of pierogies.

    If you have nothing blindly sycophantic or brayingly contrarian to say about the Trump inauguration, then kindly don’t say anything at all.

    1. malevolence of pierogies

      As a Polish-American, I can’t abide this.

      1. Join me, we can ally with out Lithuanian cousins, in some sort of commonwealth to defend the good name of Pierogies.

        1. Jezsze Polska nie Zglodnela!

        2. defend the good name of Pierogies

          Wouldn’t they have to have a good name to defend first?

    2. unmitigated malevolence of pierogies.

      I can’t decide now if I want to eat lunch or to form a band with that name.

      1. Those are not mutually exclusive options.

  10. “Hire American” already is a rule.

    When you don’t hire an American, HR has to through a visa process. That shouldn’t be a shocking revelation.

    1. When you don’t hire an American, HR has to through a visa process.

      That’s news to a lot of greencard-holders.

      1. Which is given permanent residents here legally on some kind of visa – and has to be shared with HR during the hiring process.

        1. So you’re saying “hire American” isn’t a rule.

  11. CNN is still fawning over Obama. They also tell me that Trump’s speech only appeals to 46% of the country.

  12. with little interest in limited government or individual rights.

    Oh, you mean like every other politician in DC?

    1. Hey, Justin Amash has some interest!

    2. Rand Paul? Thomas Massie? Justin Amash? And…um, …..

      *begins crying at tiny list*

  13. “We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American.”

    So…full employment for immigration lawyers as we get a flood of naturalization applications?

    1. …and corporation lawyers as they come up with elaborate structures for companies so they can make themselves American.

    2. Are there unemployed immigration lawyers now?

  14. America first.

    That’s not the problem. Americans elect a president not to look out for the world’s interests but America’s. Unfortunately, as the United States isn’t a monolith, there is seldom if ever one single solution for the lot of Americans’ issues. Trying to save jobs at the expense of affordable goods isn’t putting America first. It’s putting some of America first.

    1. This does nothing to solve the problem of a largely uneducated, untrained blue collar workforce. I’m not crying about the woes of automation – because just like with every other economic revolution, new jobs will be created, but those jobs will almost all require STEM education, trade schooling or some other more specialized skill. There will be fewer and fewer jobs for people who want to walk away with a high school diploma or GED and be able to just clock in and out in a job requiring no or little expertise.

  15. As Ruler of my household, everything I do is geared toward the best interests of my household. I would expect that the mayor of my city gears everything he does towards the best interests of my city. I would expect that the governor of my state gears everything he does towards the best interests of my state. I would expect that the president of my country gears everything he does towards the best interests of my country.

    There’s nothing surprising here, this is the way it’s supposed to work. Personally, if I have to be ruled by a government, I’d just as soon have that government only care about my best interests.

    1. “My best interests”
      “The best interests of my country”

      Hmm

      1. Sorry, I didn’t really intend to put a stumbling block for slow people in there.

    2. Well that’s a shame, because the governments that rule you are motivated only by their own best interests. You are a cash machine or prison fodder.

      1. And that’s unfortunate, but I can always dream of something better. Or nothing at all.

    3. Huh, I thought the purpose of governments was to protect our liberties, not work for “our” interests. That’s what I was told, anyway.

      1. Is protecting your liberties not in your interests?

        1. Not according to most of the people in government.

          1. I guess everything needs a disclaimer now so that people don’t constantly get hung up on is vs ought.

            1. And you were talking what is, right?

              There’s nothing surprising here, this is the way it’s supposed to work.

              1. Supposed to work is the way it ought to work. If there is going to be a government that a president is “in charge” of, that president should only care about the interests of the people that the government governs. Protecting liberties from threats foreign and domestic is, I would think, in your interests.

            2. Nah. People just take any opportunity to spout their opinions, whether called for or not.

    4. And that would be the problem. I don’t want anyone in that festering shithole of a city deciding what my ‘best interests’ are.

      Governments are like small children in that they should be seen and not heard.

  16. The great prog tear binge is about to end. Soon, we too will have to start complaining about the guy. Sad!

    1. I personally just can’t wait to be sick of winning so much.

      1. I’m already sick of whining so much.

      2. You might be waiting a while. I don’t think Trump is a visionary or altruistic.

  17. “One by one the factories shuttered and left our shores, without even a thought for the millions of workers who were left behind. 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.”

    I wonder how easy it would be to post this somewhere out of context, attribute it to Bernie Sanders, and get leftists to wholeheartedly agree with it.

    1. Its amazing home much Trump’s inaugural sounded like a Walter Mondale campaign speech from 1984.

      1. I was thinking more along the lines of Dick Gephardt

      2. Nobody wants to admit that Donald Trump just won the 2016 Presidential election by running on the Democratic Party platform from the 1980s.

        1. I’m voting for Dukakis.

          1. +1 tank

  18. Jesus Soave, go wash down a couple of Valium with a half pint of something. The rules quip was a figure of speech…calm down.

    1. I’m not so sure about that being just a figure of speech. No he isn’t going to make it illegal for anyone to buy anything that isn’t American made. But he’s made it pretty clear that he is going to use the power of the office to push companies and governments in that direction. It was pretty much his central campaign promise.

  19. Days like today make me especially proud to be a patriotic American.

  20. “America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”

    But not American consumers or investors who are hurt by trade protectionism.

    I’d like Donald to explain why the interests of certain selected companies and their employees are of higher importance than those of the entire consuming public who will have fewer choices and higher prices – or of higher importance than that of investors whose investments in global companies will be negatively impacted.

      1. You can’t fool me. That’s Tyrone laughing for 45 seconds, over and over again.

        1. Oh my goodness. Like Winston’s mom, that joy is infectious.

  21. President Trump

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  22. 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.

    I am not sure the President can stop you from buying a Prius.

    From Trumps speech:

    For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left. And the factories closed

    The camera on the channel I was watching panned to President Obama during the speech. I thought his head was going to explode. I thought it was hilarious. It may have been when Trump started talking about inner cities.

    At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction — that a nation exists to serve its citizens.

    To me, that was most telling. As pointed out above thread, a Democrat just took the oath of office. I for one, am glad it was not Hillary.

    1. “that a nation exists to serve its citizens”

      where as all democrats believe the citizens exist to serve the nation

      I would say his comments are more in line with kennedy who would be a republican by todays standards of the left

  23. 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.

    A man is elected President thinks the interests of the people who elected him and pay his salary should come first. That is pretty terrifying all right.

    Robby, you need to go into comedy and be a Steven Colbert like character of the internationalist man.

    1. “Terrifying” is rather hyperbolic. None of this is anything new or surprising.

      But the huge arrogance of assuming that he is capable of knowing, let alone serving, the best interests of the American people is not good. There are plenty of Americans whose best interests are not served by the simplistic slogan of “buy American and hire American”.

      1. Of course the same criticism applies to pretty much every politician. Trump is just a lot more in your face about it.

  24. 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.

    Robby, you should meet one day some foreign nationals who reside legally in the US. They could educate you that “hire American” is already an actual rule. Of course, the rule has lots of exceptions like various visas and more often than not “American” in “hire American” includes green-card holders who are, by definition, not US citizens. But that’s how the things are and have been that way as long as anyone can remember.

    1. Very true. Also, many American companies treat green card holding employees poorly, knowing that they have extra leverage over them than they would over American citizens. Usually this is most visible as lower salaries/wages, but there are other abuses.

      (Not that I want the gov’t to step in and fix what is a voluntary exchange of services for currency; if the green card holders didn’t like how they were treated, they could have simply moved back to their home countries. These employers are not using force to prevent the green card holding employees from leaving.)

      1. What leverage do you think they have over green card holders?

  25. “We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American,” said Trump.

    This is a least more honest and direct that the last few administrations who said “We favor free trade – as long as our trading partners follow these 90,000 pages of simple rules.” Which winds up being same exact thing.

    1. Your gruff comment represents critical thinking that is superior to both Robby’s and Suderman’s cowering surprise and childlike fear.

  26. This was literally the message when my grandparents were starting their families in the 50’s. So just buy American and that will solve all of our problems? What happens when American companies get cheap and greedy and make substandard products, like their cars for many years? I have owned several American cars when I was younger, and would not go back again. My new cars were in the shop for something every six months. I have had three foreign cars in 8 years, and I have never had any problem other than routine maintenance.

  27. If Trump’s going to try to force me to buy American by using tariffs to raise the price of foreign goods, then I’m not going to buy anything at all.

    I refuse to spend more for a product without getting a commensurate increase in quality or quantity or both.

  28. it’s almost like he attended a labor rally right before….

    1. better yet….it’s like he’s a wal-mart ad from the old days.

  29. So if we are going to go back to the 50’s to stimulate our economy, does that mean we will need another world war?

  30. own, and spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into dis it is his prerogative and duty to interfere in every economic decision he doesn’t like.

  31. not mentioning something does not mean he is against something.

  32. Predictably, his speech is being panned by the media as narrow and uninspiring. That’s because, you know, he didn’t wax poetics about bringing people together, achieving some new understanding, and creating a unicorn society where everyone gets a fair share. It was a straightforward “I’ll stand with America and its people ignored for far too long” speech.

    Trump certainly had protectionism in mind when he made that speech. But many libertarians long objected to nation building and foreign aid, even to Israel. I’m against tariffs and trade wars, of course. But the heart of libertarianism is “I want to do what I want to do as long as it doesn’t hurt others”. I see nothing wrong with “America first” attitude. As a nation, we can have whatever laws and immigration standard (within constitutional limits) as we please. If we don’t want to accept refugees or expand gun rights among citizens, we can do so without heeding lectures from other nations.

    Trump will learn very quickly that many red states depend on trade and exports. A bit of pivot is inevitable for all presidents.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.