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Trump condemns threats against Jews in first address to Congress

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 22:56
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DEBKAfile was founded by a team of journalists in June 2000 as an independent Internet Web site, providing an intelligence and security news service. March 1, 2017, 7:55 AM (IDT)

Greeted by thunderous applause, President Donald Trump opened his first address to Congress late Tuesday by condemning the spate of threats to Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City. “We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,” Trump said.

In more moderate tones than usual, Trump outlined a sweeping agenda that promised to rebuild the country and the renewal of its economy and military might, but nonetheless reiterated his most controversial policies.

He warned against “radical Islamic terrorism” and referred to the Islamic State as “a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women and children of all faiths and all beliefs.” The new president vowed: “We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet.”

In the speech, Trump said his administration would continue to put Iran “on notice” and underscored American support for and “unbreakable alliance with the State of Israel.” His White House already has imposed “new sanctions on entities and individuals who support Iran’s ballistic missile program,” he said.

Trump forcefully defended his plan to ban nationals from seven Muslim-majority nations, claiming that “data” shows terrorism-related offenses have been disproportionately perpetrated by foreign nationals since 9/11.

On foreign affairs, Trump said he would honor historic alliances — and explicitly stated his support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — but would seek new ones as well, even with former adversaries.The president did not mention Russia or China, but declared “America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships, where share interests align.” Trump said: “We want harmony and stability, not war and conflict.”

Trump’s 60-minute address went down well and was widely seen as consolidating his young presidency against its many adversaries.

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