The prepared text of Trump’s speech was leaked on Thursday evening, hours before he’ll take the stage in Cleveland and accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president. The speech is subject to change, of course, and change should be expected—Trump has occasionally shown discipline when reading from a TelePrompter, but no one expects him to stick to the prepared remarks completely.
The speech opens with irony—Trump “humbly” accepts the nomination—before veering into now familiar territory. There are nine mentions of terror and terrorism; four mentions of ISIS; twelve mentions of the word “safe” or its variations; nine mentions of immigration; and eleven mentions of Hillary Clinton, who is blamed for instability around the globe. “We must abandon the failed policy of nation building and regime change that Hillary Clinton pushed in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria,” the prepared remarks read.
As he did in the interview with The New York Times that was published late Wednesday evening, Trump intends to argue that the United States should retreat from the world stage, and leave areas of strategic interest to dictators, who Trump posits are the only solution to the problem of radical Islam. This sentence on Egypt is particularly telling: “Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos.”
The prepared remarks also argue that the world’s problems are coming home to roost in America, in the form of terrorism and the menace of immigration:
“To make life safe in America, we must also address the growing threats we face from outside America: we are going to defeat the barbarians of ISIS. Once again, France is the victim of brutal Islamic terrorism.
Men, women and children viciously mowed down. Lives ruined. Families ripped apart. A nation in mourning.
The damage and devastation that can be inflicted by Islamic radicals has been over and over—at the World Trade Center, at an office party in San Bernardino, at the Boston Marathon, and a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.”
Trump talks about crime, immigration, and terrorism as if they are inter-connected phenomena, all symptoms of American decline. Trump is arguing that he, and he alone, can restore law and order both to America and to the globe—and that Hillary Clinton is making everything worse, both at home and abroad. Of course, as my colleague Jeet Heer has argued, Trump’s foreign policy plans will only result in more chaos. But Trump’s speech nevertheless artfully ties his domestic agenda to his foreign policy one. He has now taken Nixon’s “law and order” message global.