But in his inauguration dress, delivered from the Capitol building in Washington D.C. on January 20, he used the term again – twice.
That “America First” term doesn’t sit too well with many Americans, though. It originates from the country’s pre-World War 2 era, in which some anti-Semitic Americans, including notable aviator Charles Lindbergh, were members of a political group using that name. According to this group, the U.S. shouldn’t enter the war because Germany was too powerful to defeat … and Jews weren’t good enough to defend. Lindbergh had also toured Germany before the war, calling the country and its Nazi leaders “thrilling” with “organized vitality.”
In a 1940 public address about “the Jewish race” on behalf of the “America First” group, Lindbergh said:
“Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government.”
Any war with Germany would be damaging “to the white races,” he also noted.
“(F)or many Americans, the term ‘America First’ will always be associated with and tainted by this history,” said ADL leader Jonathan Greenblatt in April 2016. He also wrote a letter to Trump asking him to cease use of the phrase.
Trump continued use of the term anyway only two months later. And he used it twice today, his first day in office, and in his first address as U.S. president.
You can catch Trump using the phrase in the video below, which is a condensed account of his address compiled by The Washington Post. At the 1:10 mark in this video, you hear him proudly say “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first.”