Insights & Commentaries

Insights & Commentaries

Trump Responds to Terrorism the Way Demagogues and Dictators Do

Op-Ed for The Washington Post,

Earlier this year, I warned that a terrorist attack under Trump would be “a demagogue’s dream and a uniquely dangerous moment for our democracy.” With this week’s atrocity in New York — the deadliest attack in the city since 9/11 — that moment is here.

Read more »
Insights & Commentaries

Letter from America: Donald Trump Does Not Define Us

Op-Ed for The Huffington Post,

Not unlike the monasteries of Ireland centuries ago protected classic texts from the chaos of their time, people across our country are working to safeguard our democracy today. So please don’t give up on us. America is bigger than any one person, even the president. And we’re still here.

Read more »
Insights & Commentaries

Video: Analysis of President Obama’s Speech in Montreal

Interview with CTV News,

In his speech in Montreal, President Obama never once mentioned Donald Trump. He didn't have to. His speech was "vintage Obama"--a call to reject a politics based on fear and bigotry and an affirmation of the institutions, norms and values at the heart of our diverse democracies.

Read more »
Insights & Commentaries

Video: Previewing President Obama’s Speech in Montreal

Interview with CTV News,

What Canadians can expect to hear from President Obama on his first visit to Canada since leaving the White House, and what it was like to be a White House speechwriter for Barack Obama...

Read more »
Insights & Commentaries

Video: Making Sense of Trump’s First Foreign Trip

Interview with CBC News,

Why the investigations into Trump and Russia won't go away, why $100 billion in weapons for Saudi Arabia won't address the Middle East's real problems, and what we can learn from 40 million Iranians...

Read more »
Insights & Commentaries

Audio: A Speechwriter’s Perspective on Trump’s First Foreign Trip

Interview with Minnesota Public Radio,

MPR News host Kerri Miller speaks with former Obama foreign policy speechwriter Terence Szuplat on Trump's first trip abroad, his "America First" foreign policy and the international fallout from controversy in the White House.

Read more »
Insights & Commentaries

Video: Why Trump’s Embrace of Dictators is Dangerous for the U.S.

Interview on Fox News,

"Real estate diplomacy" -- lavishing compliments on an opponent -- may have worked for Trump when negotiating in business, but heaping praise on tyrants risks aiding and abetting their oppression and is a tragic betrayal of American interests and values.

Read more »
Insights & Commentaries

What President Trump Will Say if Terrorists Strike in the U.S.

Op-Ed for The Washington Post,

Demagogues only succeed when their audiences surrender their agency over their own minds and hearts; when we allow the heated emotions of the moment to overwhelm the facts and enduring values we know to be true. We’ve been put on guard. Whether we succumb to Trump’s fear-mongering or rise above it is entirely up to us.

Read more »
Insights & Commentaries

Video: A Conversation on Presidential Rhetoric & Foreign Policy

Interview at the Dole Institute of Politics, University of Kansas

Reflections on how to correct a speech after the President has started speaking (minute 25); when President Obama said a speech was "fine" (1 hour, 10 min); why there's no such thing as the "deep state" (1 hour, 18); and three basic facts about Trump and Russia (1 hour, 22).

Read more »
Insights & Commentaries

Video: Former Presidential Speechwriters on Trump’s Address to Congress

TV interview with CBC News,

Szuplat: We saw “a tale of two Trumps. He gives the appearance of moderation while his agenda is as extreme as ever. I have to think that presidents and prime ministers all over the world – our closest allies, from Asia to Europe – were scratching their heads.”

Read more »