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Donald Trump guest speaker at event honoring James Foley

Last modified: 11/13/2014 12:48:00 AM
The First Amendment gives Donald Trump the freedom to criticize President Obama and the country’s policies any way he pleases.

Last night was no exception. As the featured speaker at an event to honor slain New Hampshire journalist James Foley with a First Amendment award given by the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications in Manchester, Trump did not hold back.

“A few months ago, I used the word incompetent to describe the president. It’s a very strong word and I was met with a lot of anger and fury,” Trump said. “Now it’s a word that’s commonly used.”

“I have very little respect for him because I like winners,” he added later.

He said he is not afraid to criticize the country’s failures, which are many, including:

∎ In China, the president is openly mocked by government-controlled newspapers, he said.

∎ The country is poised to return to Iraq alone after spending $2 trillion to fight a war and then leave.

∎ When the U.S. sends weapons to help its allies fight the Islamic State, those weapons end up in the hands of the enemy.

∎ The government allows people to come here who have traveled to Africa and could be ill with the Ebola virus without quarantine.

∎ The lauded 5 percent unemployment rate is a phony number. The real unemployment rate in this country is more like 16, 17 or 18 percent, he said.

“In the political and economic climate today, I’ve realized very few people are willing to stand up and fight,” Trump said.

When speaking about Foley, though, Trump heaped praise.

“I want to thank you James Foley because you are really someone special beyond us all,” Trump said.

He also thanked Foley’s parents before giving them a check for the James W. Foley Legacy Fund, which he called “a little token” but “enough to get the foundation off the ground.”

“Your son was far greater than I and far greater than I will ever be,” he said.

Days before the event, media writer Jim Romenesko questioned Trump’s selection as the speaker at a First Amendment event, given his penchant for criticizing the media.

Trump addressed some of that criticism.

He said he has both friends and enemies in the press. Some are truthful, some are not.

“My entire life has been based on freedom of speech,” he said. “I say what I want to say . . . ”

“As often as I’ve been praised for speaking my mind, I’m often vilified for the same thing.”

(Jonathan Van Fleet can be reached at 369-3303 or jvfanfleet@cmonitor.com. Follow him on Twitter @CMonitor_JVF.)


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