- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 20, 2017

MSNBC host Brian Williams questioned whether President Trump’s repeated use of the word “sovereignty” during his speech Tuesday at the United Nations was a “dog whistle” to his base.

On his show Tuesday night, Mr. Williams criticized Mr. Trump’s America-centric speech to world leaders as “plan-free,” “solution-free” and “the antithesis of a Marshall Plan.”

He also suggested that the president’s use of the word “sovereignty” may have had a hidden meaning.

“Back to the use of this word sovereign and sovereignty. Did you hear a buzz word or dog whistle in his repeated use of that word?” Mr. Williams asked McClatchy reporter Anita Kumar.

Ms. Kumar responded, “We were sort of expecting this theme, but it was just way more — it was just over the top. You know, it caused me to go back through and count how many times he used that word sovereign or sovereignty 21 times. It was definitely the word.”

“So what does that mean?” Mr. Williams asked.

“It just means what he was talking about from the beginning, which is ‘America first,’ ‘we’re going to go it alone,’” Ms. Kumar said.

Merriam-Webster dictionary announced Monday that it had included “dog whistle” in its list of new words for 2017, defining it in political terms as “an expression or statement that has a secondary meaning intended to be understood only by a particular group of people.” The term is typically used in politics when referring to racism.

Ms. Kumar argued that Mr. Trump’s repeated use of the word “sovereignty” appeared to undermine “international bodies” such as the U.N.

In his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Trump vowed to put “America first” and to promote the country’s “founding principle of sovereignty” abroad.

“As president of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first,” he told world leaders.

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