President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the United Nations now feels “like home,” but his speech to the yearly assembly in New York didn’t exactly get a warm reception from world leaders gathered there.
From thinly veiled jabs during their speeches to full-on laughter when he was at the dais, many world leaders condemned Trump’s rejection of “globalism” and what he sees as a broken international system in need of reform.
Here’s a round-up of how world leaders reacted to Trump during the General Assembly gathering.
French President Emmanuel Macron
Macron, who has cozied up to Trump in the past and invited him to a military parade in Paris on Bastille Day in 2017, rejected Trump’s foreign policy vision and said in his own speech that “no single one of us can effectively combat inequalities.”
The French leader also defended the Paris agreement on climate change, from which Trump withdrew the U.S. in June 2017.
“France continues with all interested parties to spearhead this global fight against climate change,” Macron said. “In the G7, we will be working to see the Paris obligations increased. Should someone be against that, we shall nonetheless press ahead through new fora.”
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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno
Peña Nieto, in his last appearance at the UN before handing over the presidential mantle to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, defended multilateralism as “the best way to defend the sovereignty and dignity of each state.”
In his speech, he also called on the United States to end the commercial embargo on Cuba, saying it would bring benefits for the entire Western hemisphere. Trump tightened restrictions on U.S. business with and travel to the island in an attempt to trigger political change in Havana.
Moreno joined the calls to lift the embargo in his own remarks, saying that as long as the embargo continued, the nations of the world would not be able to reach “true liberty and democracy.”
“We insist on respecting state sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention,” Moreno said. “Militarism is not the answer. It only brings suffering, pain, and death.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Rouhani’s rhetorical assault in his General Assembly speech was the latest in a war of words with Trump, who has railed against Iran since before arriving in the White House.
Trump last year withdrew from the joint nuclear agreement brokered by the Obama administration and reinstated economic sanctions on Tehran. Rouhani rejected the unilateral moves as signaling “an inability in understanding a complex and interconnected world.”
“It is unfortunate that we are witnessing rulers in the world ride public sentiments and gain popular support through the fomenting of extremist nationalism and racism and through xenophobic tendencies resembling a Nazi disposition,” Rouhani said.
Trump had sharp words for Iran in his own speech, but earlier in the day, he tweeted of Rouhani: “I am sure he is an absolutely lovely man!”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
The speeches weren’t all confrontational. Trump has previously lavished praise on Erdogan — the Turkish president who he has said “is getting very high marks” despite criticism for cracking down on political dissent in Turkey — and Erdogan seemed to echo Trump’s talking points Tuesday by calling for reform of the United Nations.
“We need to admit that, in time, the United Nations moved away from the capacity to meet the expectations of humanity for peace and welfare,” Erdogan said. “We expect more abundant and flexible support to Turkey, which has prevented a large refugee influx [from Syria] to spill over elsewhere in the world.”
But he wasn’t entirely on Trump’s side. Erdogan said “those who remain silent in the face of repression against the Palestinians only embolden their oppressors,” seemingly a criticism of Trump’s strident support for Israel.
Assembled world leaders
Perhaps the most obvious sign of the incompatibility between Trump and the United Nations came during the U.S. president’s own speech, when he drew laughter from the audience after boasting of his administration’s success.
“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” Trump said before leaders audibly laughed. “I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay.”
Members of the German delegation were also seen smirking as Trump lambasted the country over a Russian energy pipeline, which he claimed would make the country “totally dependent on Russian energy.”
Source – www.politico.com