Just hours before he was scheduled to address AIPAC (a pro-Israel conference) in Washington, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump talked to the Washington Post about his foreign policy advisers.
Chaired by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the team of advisers counsels Trump on foreign affairs in addition to helping him shape his campaign policies. Members include Keith Kellogg, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Walid Phares, and Joseph E. Schmitz.
During the interview, Trump “outlined an unabashedly noninterventionist approach to world affairs,” reads the Post. He also questioned the efficacy of NATO, an organization that has represented Western security since the Cold War.
The real estate mogul also questioned the wisdom of building up other countries while letting our own deteriorate. “The United States must look inward and steer its resources towards rebuilding domestic infrastructure,” he said. In regards to NATO, Trump says we simply can’t afford to continue. “NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money.”
“We have $19 trillion in debt,” he continued. “We’re sitting, probably, on a bubble. And it’s a bubble that if it breaks, it’s going to be very nasty. I just think we have to rebuild our country.”
While Donald Trump still considers himself to be his top adviser when it comes to foreign affairs, the billionaire recognizes the value of multiple opinions. The following list of names is not complete, however, and Trump has promised to reveal more names soon. “I have quite a few more. But that’s a group of some of the people that we are dealing with. We have many other people in different aspects of what we do. But that’s a pretty representative group.”
Appointed by President Reagan as US Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama in 1981, Mr. Sessions served in this position for 12 years before winning a seat in the senate in 1996. The Washington Times recently described him as “a tea partyer before the tea party was cool because of his unflinching and vocal conservative views on most fiscal and social issues.”
Mr. Kellogg is a former Army lieutenant general who now serves as executive vice president for CACI International – an information technology and intelligence consulting firm based in Virgina. With experience in homeland security issues and national defense, Kellogg also worked as chief operating officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad just after the invasion of Iraq.
Mr. Papadopoulos currently heads the Center for International Energy and Natural Resources Law & Security at London’s Centre of International Law Practice. “He’s an oil and energy consultant. Excellent guy,” says Trump. Until recently, Papadopoulos was in league with former Republican candidate Ben Carson.
A US Naval Academy graduate and energy-industry executive, Mr. Page is the current managing partner of Global Energy Capital. As a former fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Page focused on the Caspian Sea region as well as the economic development in former Soviet states.
“Walid Phares, who you probably know. Ph.D., adviser to the House of Representative. He’s a counter-terrorism expert,” said Trump to the Washington Post editorial board. You might have seen Mr. Phares on TV as an analyst discussing the Middle East and terrorism.
Joseph E. Schmitz
“The honorable Joe Schmitz,” as Trump says, served under President George W. Bush as inspector general and is a former lawyer and Blackwater Worldwide executive.