Former Obama administration housing chief Julián Castro accused President Trump of causing tremendous harm to America’s alliances and compromising the security of the nation.
Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and a likely 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, criticized Trump when asked about foreign policy on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” Sunday morning.
“I believe that today the greatest threat to our national security is that this president … is damaging the relationships we’ve had in place since the World War II era — whether it’s NATO or other alliances with individual countries that have kept us safer,” Castro said.
Castro, 44, said strengthening these long-term alliances would be among his top priorities if he were elected president.
“Those alliances have helped keep us safe,” he continued. “It’s also true that being the strongest country, being the safest country, I think requires more diplomatic efforts than ever, and it has been awful to see the decimation of our diplomatic efforts through the State Department.”
Trump’s hardball treatment of longtime allies like Canada has been disparaged and praised. Supporters argue that the president is simply following through on his “America First” campaign promises and negotiating more favorable trade deals. Critics say he’s caused significant harm to relationships that have kept Western democracies safe and prosperous.
Castro falls into the latter group and doesn’t think the Trump administration has done enough to right the ship. He said there are too many vacancies for ambassadorships and the government is struggling to recruit enough diplomats. He said being mayor of a large city and having served in the president’s Cabinet “certainly qualifies one to be commander in chief.”
Castro has already formed an exploratory presidential campaign committee and plans to visit Iowa on Monday and Nevada on Tuesday. He also has a trip to New Hampshire planned for Jan. 16. He is expected to announce his candidacy for the White House at a rally in San Antonio on Jan. 12.
It appears there will be a crowded field of Democrats hoping to challenge Trump for the Oval Office. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has also announced that she has launched an exploratory committee and has taken other steps to indicate she will likely run, such as trying to quiet the controversy surrounding her ancestry.
Castro told Stephanopoulos that he will not be a single-issue candidate if he runs and that the country needs “a strong vision” for the future if it is to prosper. For Castro, this vision includes the U.S. being the healthiest, smartest and fairest nation, which would require investing more in Medicare and education, as well as increasing the minimum wage.
“I have experience actually running one of these federal agencies, being in charge of folks and making things work. Also, being mayor of a city that is one of the most diverse cities in the United States and really in a fundamental way represents the diverse future of America,” he said.
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