The Atlantic

A Short History of 'America First'

The phrase used by President Trump has been linked to anti-Semitism during World War II.
Source: Rick Wilking / Reuters

President Trump’s speech Friday will go down as one of the shorter inaugural addresses, but it will also be remembered for its populist and often dark tone.

“From this day forward,” Trump said at one point, “it’s going to be only America first. America first.”

Trump appears to have first used the phrase last March in an interview with The New York Times when he denied he was an isolationist. “I’m not isolationist, but I am ‘America First,’” he said. “So I like the expression. I’m ‘America First.’”

Trump insisted publicly that he wrote his own speech, going as far as to tweet

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic5 min readScience
A Breakthrough in the Mystery of Why Women Get So Many Autoimmune Diseases
About 65 million years ago, shortly after the time of the dinosaurs, a new critter popped up on the evolutionary scene. This “scampering animal,” as researchers described it, was likely small, ate bugs, and had a furry tail. It looked, according to a
The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
How Harvard Should Handle the Kyle Kashuv Mess
The university and its critics can transform this polarizing culture war controversy into a constructive moment––if both take steps to placate the other side.
The Atlantic6 min read
Kyle Kashuv Becomes a Symbol to Conservatives Who Say the Left Can’t Forgive
The 18-year-old gun-rights activist and Parkland-shooting survivor is being touted by the right as the latest victim of “cancel culture.”