President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that the U.S. was “locked and loaded” in response to the bombing of major Saudi Arabian oil facilities. But Trump’s supporters object to the aggressive use of American power on the global stage, according to former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.
In a recent interview, Power said backers of both Trump and his political adversary Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) hold “a deep skepticism that America can do good in the world.”
Supporters of the two politicians both share a sense that “America has gotten a raw deal,” Power told Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer last Tuesday. “By being a country that has had a role in global stability for so long, or by being the country that contributes a large amount to the United Nations.”
Noting that Trump and Ocasio-Cortez occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum, Power said the shared distrust of an assertive U.S. foreign policy among their supporters suggests widespread erosion of confidence in the U.S. as a force for stability in the world.
“Elites have been speaking to each other for too long,” she says. “Whatever consensus might have existed 70-plus years ago about the United States undergirding the international order from which we do benefit enormously, that consensus has frayed or broken down entirely.”
“The fact that there could be overlap among people who support Donald Trump on the one hand and people supporting AOC on the other, I think, is a reflection of that,” she adds.
Power made the comments during a conversation that aired in an episode of Yahoo Finance’s “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.
The conversation took place days before the attack, which prompted a tweet on Sunday from Trump that the U.S. is “waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”
The attack on the facilities, which account for about 5% of global output, sent oil prices soaring. On Sunday, Trump said “we know the culprit” but did not name the country or group he believed to be responsible for the attack, though U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the day before had accused Iran of “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” Saudi Arabia said on Monday that it believes Iranian weapons were used.
The developments come on the heels of Trump’s firing last week of National Security Advisor John Bolton, widely known as a foreign policy hawk, who reportedly clashed with Trump over the administration’s unwillingness to carry out a military strike in Iran in response to the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone in June.
A poll conducted in February by the Eurasia Group Foundation, a Washington think tank, backed up the characterization of the American public expressed by Power. It found that just 18% of Americans believe that peace is best sustained and achieved by the U.S. when the country is promoting and defending democracy around the world. Meanwhile, 34% of respondents believed the best way for the U.S. to sustain peace is by keeping a focus on domestic needs and the health of the U.S. economy.
Other polling data contradict’s Power’s characterization, however. In April, the Pew Research Center found that nearly eight in 10 Americans say being a part of North Atlantic Trade Organization is a good thing, despite repeated criticisms of the alliance by Trump.
On Tuesday, Power released a memoir entitled “The Education of an Idealist,” which chronicles her upbringing in Ireland and the United States, as well as formative moments throughout her career.
Before she entered government, Power worked as a journalist and human rights advocate. In 2003, she won the Pulitzer Prize for “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” an account of America’s role in protecting vulnerable people around the world.
During the Obama administration’s first term, she served as a member of the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. In 2013, she became U.S Ambassador to the United Nations — a position she served in for more than three years.
Andy Serwer is editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter: @serwer.