- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2017

President Trump said Wednesday that his trip to Asia was a success in bolstering security and trade, and that his visits demonstrated a renewed respect for the U.S. abroad.

“My fellow citizens, America is back and the future has never looked brighter,” Mr. Trump said in remarks delivered at the White House.

The president touted building a united front against North Korea and negotiating billions of dollars in trade deals during a nearly two-week trip to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

He said that he was greeted with great respect at every stop and forged stronger relations based on his “America first” foreign policy agenda.

Mr. Trump’s triumphant return was overshadowed by the political turmoil over allegations that former Judge Roy Moore, the Republican candidate in Alabama’s special election for U.S. Senate, had pursued romantic relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s, including inappropriate advances on a 14-year-old girl.

As he exited the room after his remarks, Mr. Trump did not answer questions about Mr. Moore that were shouted by reporters.

In his remarks, the president said he made good on his vow to put American citizens and American workers first, and that was a position of strength that garnered respect.

“I swore that in every decision and with every action I would put the best interest of the American people first,” Mr. Trump said. “That is exactly what I have done.”

The 12-day journey was the longest visit by a U.S. president to Asia in more than a quarter-century.

It coincided with rising tensions with North Korea, and Mr. Trump made confronting the nuclear threat from the rogue regime a top priority in each visit.

The other goals outlined by Mr. Trump were to strengthen alliances and partnerships in the region and reverse years of what the president described as lopsided trading relationships.

Mr. Trump said he met each of the goals.

However, the president’s critics were less than impressed with his performance.

“President Trump failed to make meaningful progress on these critical economic and security issues during his trip to East Asia,” said Sen. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations’ East Asia Subcommittee.

“It is past time for President Trump to focus on working with our partners to find a meaningful diplomatic solution to the North Korea crisis,” he said. “President Trump was too distracted by the pomp and circumstance in Beijing to extract meaningful economic and security concessions from China.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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