This study intends to analyse the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency of the U.S. as a symptom of the economic aftershocks to the 2008 financial crisis at the global and domestic levels. In response to the financial crisis and structural shifts in the global economy, Trump is pursuing protectionist measures which are being legitimized domestically by applying exclusionary policies based on a logic of “us vs. them.” By focusing on Trump’s public speeches, U.S. National Security Strategy and budgetary documents, this study will explore how Trump’s intention of “America First” resonates in the political economy and foreign policy plans of the U.S. It claims that the Trump administration, which faces a legitimacy crisis at home and abroad, will continue to be deeply affected by its policy decisions considering, first, protectionism versus openness in foreign affairs and second, equality versus efficiency in domestic politics. The Trump administration may also
hasten the demise of the global system by its isolationist policies which encourage polarization.