GOP Congressman: Trump Losing Me on Foreign Policy

by | Sep 6, 2017


A few days before the 2000 elections, I hosted the Duncan Family Barbecue at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum, which aside from free food, always features bands, choirs, and top names from the Country music and Oldies worlds, drawing upwards of 10,000 people.

Governor George W. Bush, then the Republican Presidential nominee, walked out to the podium to the sound of the University of Tennessee Pep Band. After his speech, I walked him back to his vehicle parked in the bowels of the coliseum, and I told him “Governor, you are going to carry Tennessee.” He replied: “If I do, I will win the election,” and that is exactly what happened.

Later that night, one of my sons said, “Dad, I have never heard you so excited as when you said, “The next President of the United States!” when introducing Gov. Bush. In truth, I was excited, primarily because Gov. Bush said almost every day on the campaign trail that what we needed was a more humble foreign policy and we should not be in the business of nation building.

That didn’t last. President Bush did almost nothing to rein in federal spending, supported No Child Left Behind and other big government initiatives, and in response to the 9/11 attacks, caved to the prevailing neoconservative interventionist foreign policy in Washington.

Columnist George Will once wrote that the neocons were “magnificently misnamed” and were really “the most radical people in this City.” After 16 years of failed war policies, it could be said that they were also the worst people Bush could have turned to in crisis.

Now, disappointment is settling in once again. I was one of the earliest members of Congress to endorse then-candidate Trump. I did it primarily because he seemed to be the least-hawkish of all the Republicans running for President. As a result, I was one of six members of the House, (along with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL.) who was invited to the Mayflower Hotel in Washington to hear Mr. Trump’s first major foreign policy speech on April 27, 2016.

That speech was filled ideas and sentiments that could have been taken straight from the pages of the American Conservative Magazine.

It was a non-interventionist, anti-nation-building, America First speech.

Read the rest of the article at The American Conservative.


  • Rep. John J. Duncan Jr.

    John James Duncan Jr. is an American politician who served as the U.S. representative for Tennessee's 2nd congressional district from 1988 to 2019. A lawyer, former judge, and former long serving member of the Army National Guard, he is a member of the Republican Party.

    View all posts