Trump: US aid should ‘only go to friends of America, not enemies’

Trump renewed his threat to slash aid to countries that voted at the UN to condemn the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

By: World Israel News Staff and AP

President Donald Trump on Tuesday declared a “new American moment” of unity in his first State of the Union address, calling on Congress to make good on longstanding promises and warning of evil forces seeking to undermine the American way of life.

“The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling and the underprivileged all over the world,” Trump said. “But as president of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America’s children, America’s struggling workers and America’s forgotten communities.”

On international affairs, Trump warned of the dangers from “rogue regimes,” like Iran and North Korea, terrorist groups, like the Islamic State (ISIS), and “rivals” like China and Russia “that challenge our interests, our economy and our values.”

Calling on Congress to lift budgetary caps and boost spending on the military, Trump said that “unmatched power is the surest means of our defense.”

With regard to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, he called on Congress to strengthen the pact, or he will make way for the US’ exit from it.

“I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal,” he said.

Trump said he was also asking Congress to ensure the US had needed powers to detain ISIS members and other “terrorists wherever we chase them down.”

Trump also announced that Guantanamo Bay detention center, which former President Barack Obama tried but failed to close, would remain open. Reversing Obama’s policy, Trump said he’d signed an executive order Tuesday directing the Pentagon to keep the prison open.

US foreign-assistance only to friends of America

Trump also said he wanted Congress to pass a law ensuring US foreign aid goes only “to America’s friends” — following US aid recipients that voted at the United Nations in December to condemn his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“I took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump told a joint session of Congress, to the applause of Republicans. “Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America’s sovereign right to make this recognition,” Trump said.

“In 2016 American taxpayers generously sent those same countries more than $20 billion dollars in aid. That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to friends of America, not enemies of America,” he stated.