Reagan speechwriter thinks Trump is making big speeches – foreign policy


Thirty years ago today, at the Brandenburg Gate in divided Berlin, President Ronald Reagan delivered one of the most iconic lines in a lifetime of speech.

“Sir. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Peter Robinson, then Reagan’s 30-year-old special assistant, wrote this speech. In it, Reagan expressed his solidarity with the German people, pledged to face the threat of nuclear weapons, and called on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to end the partition of Europe. Many believe the speech helped build the momentum that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War two years later.

Thirty years ago today, at the Brandenburg Gate in divided Berlin, President Ronald Reagan delivered one of the most iconic lines in a lifetime of speech.

“Sir. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Peter Robinson, then Reagan’s 30-year-old special assistant, wrote this speech. In it, Reagan expressed his solidarity with the German people, pledged to face the threat of nuclear weapons, and called on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to end the partition of Europe. Many believe the speech helped build the momentum that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War two years later.

Today is a different era – an era in which transatlantic relations seem to be breaking down rather than converging – and it’s hard to imagine a more different president. Critics of President Donald Trump have Noted that if Reagan wanted to tear down walls, Trump wants to build them. In his speeches, Trump denounces his allies, praises dictators and attacks his personal enemies. At other times it doesn’t even seem give sense.

But Robinson, now 60, thinks the current US president has a charm of his own. “Donald Trump has an old-fashioned virtue – love for the homeland,” Robinson said in an interview with Foreign police. “He connects with people. He clearly feels to millions of Americans like an ordinary American himself.

Robinson praised Trump common address in Congress on February 28, and declared that Trump address May 21 in Riyadh was “quite remarkable”. In that speech, Trump underscored shared dreams of freedom and peace and called on leaders of Muslim-majority countries to drive terrorism off their shores.

In reality, Robinson sees parallels between Trump’s speech in Riyadh and Reagan’s in Berlin.

“It follows pretty much the same pattern you saw at the Brandenburg Gate,” Robinson said. PF. “We intend to remain active in the world; However, we also call on world leaders to play your part.

Trump’s speech “took the role of the United States in this conflict very seriously, but he also took the role of other countries very seriously.”

In a strange historical coincidence, the most famous phrase from the Berlin speech – “tear down this wall! – even faced identical criticism. Reagan’s chief of staff Howard Baker in private called the “non-presidential” line, a term now often applied to Trump.

It’s not really common to find parallels between one of the Republican Party’s most venerable figures and the former Democrat now in the White House, who doesn’t seem interested in much of the conservatism characteristic of the GOP. Many see Trump’s America First platform as a withdrawal from America’s leadership role in the world and a middle finger to traditional alliances. Trump’s cold reception of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and his denigration of NATO alarmed European allies, just as Russia’s growing aggression in cyberspace and Eastern Europe has rendered the coalition military of the Cold War era more relevant than it has been in decades.

Richard Burt, the US Ambassador to Germany in 1987, was seated on stage when Reagan spoke that day in Berlin. At an event on June 1 in Washington commemorating the speech’s 30th anniversary, Burt made no comparison so favorable. He referred to Trump’s “rude behavior” and criticized his May 25 speech to NATO leaders in Brussels, in which Trump shocked summit attendees and his own team by not explicitly affirming the US security commitment to Europe.

“I think it was, in my opinion, a terrible mistake on the part of the President not to fully defend Article 5,” said Burt, referring to the collective defense clause of the treaty, although Burt expressed confidence that the transatlantic relationship would remain strong in the long term.

Peter Wittig, the current German Ambassador to the United States, was more subtle in his remarks during the event in Washington. Without mentioning the current US president, he has built a strong case for a close US-German relationship.

“Without the support of the American leadership and the American people, German reunification would not have taken place two years later,” Wittig said, referring to the fall of the Berlin Wall. “This is a lesson in the importance and effectiveness of the transatlantic alliance. “

To be sure, Robinson is well aware of Trump’s oratory shortcomings. He said PF that Trump’s speeches could be “rude”, “scattered” and “unruly” and that he tended to “gibberish” – which, Robinson said, “dilutes the moral authority of the presidency.”

He recommends that Trump build a speech-writing team he can trust and who can channel his tone and message with precision. This way, the president can feel comfortable sticking to the blower and “giving real speeches” regularly.

But Robinson’s most urgent advice for the incumbent president?

“Stop tweeting,” he said. ” Stop that. “

MIKE SARGENT / AFP / Getty Images

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