President Donald Trump’s pre-election proclamation at a mid-Western rally that he must be a “nationalist” because he wants to protect our nation and our interests in the forefront. He was met with an uproar of support from the crowd. If you asked, most would say being a nationalist is the same as being patriotic.

However, once again we learned the president cannot say anything that is not challenged or ridiculed by the Democrat opposition and their mouthpieces in the media. Some went so far as to liken his nationalism statement to Nazism.

French President Emmanuel Macron also jumped on the opportunity (in France) to criticize President Trump’s statement. To the French president, nationalism is the opposite of patriotism.

He said, “Nationalism is the betrayal of patriotism. By putting our interests first, with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values.”

I would say our moral values are the basis for American exceptionalism and the French president’s lengthy statement was exceedingly erroneous. Unfortunately, he included the phrase “with no regard for others.”

My sense is President Trump equates nationalism with patriotism, a love of country and the inherent values we Americans hold dear, individual freedom, for one. That kind of nationalism does not disregard others, as President Macron said, instead it has the moral strength to stand up to vile tyrants, the demons of human bondage and destruction, wherever they lurk. American blood has spilled around the world for many just causes, has it not?

While we may believe in American exceptionalism;it is not a license to impose our will on another nation and its people. Our history is to defend and preserve the God-given right of all humankind to be free. It seems to me, leaders who put their countries first and are willing to defend freedom around the world should neither be ridiculed nor feared.