cartoon of the week

America (Usually) First?

Zoom In
CREDIT: Joe Heller/  

During his presidential campaign and then again in his inauguration speech in January, President Trump declared he would focus on “America First, ” avoiding involvement in most foreign conflicts. However, last week, after the Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, used chemical weapons to attack its own people, Trump ordered a missile strike on Syria. He said he was troubled by the brutality and the haunting images of children killed in the chemical attack. The U.S. missile strike marked the first time the White House had ordered military action against forces loyal to Assad.


  1. What’s going on in the cartoon? What do the letters spell out, and why are some of the letters disappearing?
  2. How do you interpret the words on the three missiles, and why do you think the cartoonist chose to put the words on the missiles?
  3. What point do you think the cartoonist is trying to make? Explain.
  4. While many people have expressed support for Trump’s missile strike, others have criticized him for getting the U.S. mired in another foreign conflict. What do you think was the right thing to do in this situation? Explain.
  5. Do you think intervening in the conflict in Syria will prevent Trump from advancing his America First policy? Why or why not?

Want to See More?

Subscribe to Upfront for full access to articles, lesson plans, skills sheets, videos, cartoons, and other resources.

Already a subscriber?