What Americans Think about America First

President Trump’s inaugural address, like his campaign, signaled a major departure from the past seven decades of American foreign policy and engagement with the rest of the world. While never fully parsed, the slogans “Make America Great Again,” “America First,” and “Americanism, not Globalism,” along with the president’s speeches and tweets, prescribed greater protectionism in trade, a new financial reckoning with our security allies, and a withdrawal from major international agreements.

The 2017 Chicago Council Survey, conducted roughly six months into the Trump administration, tested the appeal of these ideas among the American public. The results suggest their attraction remains limited. For now, public criticism of trade deals, support for withholding US security guarantees from allies, and calls for restricting immigration mainly appeal to a core group of Trump supporters (defined in this report as those Americans with a very favorable view of President Trump). Yet, aside from the president’s core supporters, most Americans prefer the type of foreign policy that has been typical of US administrations, be they Republican or Democrat, since World War II. CONT.

Chicago Council on Global Affairs