Priebus: Syria, China moves part of 'Trump doctrine'

Priebus: Syria, China moves part of 'Trump doctrine'
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President Trump’s decision to launch cruise missiles at Syria in response to a deadly chemical attack was part of a new “Trump doctrine” governing his foreign policy, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said Tuesday. 
 
The top aide said that set of beliefs is “reshaping our position in the world” while guiding Trump’s recent moves on China and the fight against terrorism. 
 
The president is “really establishing, I think, a Trump doctrine in setting some certain lines of where we’re not going to allow people like [Syrian President Bashar] Assad to go, but at the same time making it clear that we’re not interested in long-term ground wars in the Middle East,” Priebus told reporters in his West Wing office.
 
Priebus also cited Trump’s desire to set aside differences with China in order to tackle “ongoing issues with North Korea that are very real and are serious issues that takes cooperation within the region to handle appropriately.”
 
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His comments are an attempt to paint a clearer picture of the administration’s foreign policy beliefs heading toward Trump’s 100th day in office. 
 
The president’s decision to launch cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase has earned praise from the foreign policy establishment in Washington and the general public. 
 
But it marked an about-face from his previous stance that the U.S. should not involve itself in Syria’s ongoing civil war. 
 
And it angered some of his core supporters, who believed Trump would pursue a noninterventionist approach in the Middle East while re-evaluating the U.S.’s role in international institutions, including NATO and the United Nations. 
 
A senior administration official, who requested anonymity to explain the comments, said Trump still believes in his “America first” mantra from the campaign. 
 
But the official said Trump “loves people, and he knows that there are certain things that some people do that are unacceptable, like the nerve gas attack in Syria.”
 
Trump also wants to pursue an aggressive approach toward the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and ensure “we don’t sit around loose and lax and let a country like North Korea continue to proliferate nuclear weapons and grow to a point where we’re simply reacting to an [intercontinental ballistic missile] one day."
 
The aide said Trump’s reversal on labeling Beijing a currency manipulator is part of a strategy to convince Chinese President Xi Jinping to confront North Korea over its nuclear program. 
 
“He’s an incredible negotiator and that he has incredible skill in getting — regardless of what all the pundits might say — getting these folks to a place where they are being helpful in achieving some other piece of what Donald TrumpDonald TrumpManafort in Russian spotlight Russian bank owners sue BuzzFeed over publishing dossier Why global health investments are key ‘Making America Great’ MORE wants to accomplish,” the official said. 
 
Trump is now “playing nice” with NATO, the official said, because allied countries have heeded Trump’s request to commit more money toward defense and focusing more heavily on terrorism. 
 
NATO countries are spending more on defense, but the uptick is largely the result of a 2014 agreement urging members to move toward spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense.