NEW YORK — Donald Trump is scheduled to meet here Wednesday with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger as the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee looks to develop his foreign-policy expertise, according to three people close to Trump.
Kissinger has long been the GOP’s preeminent elder statesman on world affairs, in particular on the U.S. relationship with China.
Trump declined to comment. Kissinger’s spokesperson was not reachable.
Meeting with Kissinger has become a rite of passage for many ambitious Republicans, especially those who land on the party’s presidential ticket. Sarah Palin had a high-profile meeting with him in 2008 when she became the GOP vice-presidential nominee, seeking his counsel and association with his credentials.
The face-to-face session comes after weeks of phone conversations between Trump and Kissinger, who was a top adviser to presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. The people close to Trump spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss his private schedule and his relationship with the 92-year-old former diplomat.
Trump’s conferring with Kissinger underscores not only how he is building relationships with Republican elders but how he leans toward a more realist view of international affairs, which has long been the bailiwick of Kissinger’s work.
While Trump does not describe himself as a realist, which is a worldview lacking in idealism, he has edged closer to that wing of the foreign-policy community. His impulses and comments have often had a hardheaded and non-hawkish tilt, and he has been a critic of extensive U.S. intervention abroad.
“America first will be the overriding theme of my administration,” Trump said last month in a speech at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel, where he also called globalism a “false song.”
Trump delivered his remarks at an event sponsored by the National Interest, a policy journal affiliated with the Center for the National Interest, which was established by Nixon in 1994.
Last week, during a visit to Washington to meet with party leaders, Trump met with James A. Baker III, another former Republican secretary of state.