WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump called on Wednesday his recent Asia tour a “tremendous success,” taking him to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines and he said that the “great respect” he received from foreign leaders was “evidence that America’s renewed confidence and standing in the world has never been stronger than it is right now.”
In a speech at the White House one day after returning from his 12-day trip, Trump emphasized that “When we are confident in ourselves, our strength, our flag, our history, our values – other nations are confident in us. ... (and) this is exactly what the world saw: a strong, proud, and confident America.”
The president said that the challenges facing Washington on the world stage were “inherited” from past US administrations, the leaders of which he did not name.
These challenges, he said, are the result of “mistakes ... born of indifference and neglect. Others from naïve thinking and misguided judgment. In some cases, the negative influence of partisan politics and special interests was to blame.”
“But the one common thread behind all of these problems,” he said, “was a failure to protect and promote the interests of the American people and American workers.”
These were the first public remarks Trump had made after his Asia trip and he discussed the various stops he made throughout the region, saying that in every country he has visited so far as president “I have worked to advance American interests and leadership in the world.”
The president also repeated his standard warning about the North Korean threat, saying that “Time is running out, and all options are on the table,” and emphasized that “fair and reciprocal trade” is “so important” to the US and to US workers.
During his address, Trump halted at one point to take a drink from a bottle of water, a moment that sparked jokes on the social networks because of comments he had made at the expense of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio when both men were presidential candidates.
Trump’s jokes had focused on Rubio’s 2013 delivery of the Republican Party’s response to then-President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address before Congress.
At that time, Rubio interrupted his response and several times reached for a small bottle of water to take a drink.
Trump later mocked Rubio on Twitter for the move, saying that the next time he needed a drink he should use a glass instead of a bottle since it would have less of a negative impact.
Ten minutes into his largely self-congratulatory speech on Wednesday, however, Trump paused to take a drink and could not locate the pre-positioned water bottle until someone in the audience informed him that it was on the other side of the podium and he was able to take a sip.
“Similar, but needs work on his form. Has to be done in one single motion & eyes should never leave the camera. But not bad for his 1st time,” Rubio said on Twitter in response to Trump’s water drinking maneuver.
Moreover, the water bottle was labeled “Fiji” and the social networks made light of the fact that evidently Trump – who has repeated promised to put “America first” – was apparently drinking foreign water.