President Trump speaks at the UN
President Trump on Tuesday stressed sovereignty as he began his United Nations speech.
“Each of us here today is the emissary of a distinct culture, the rich history, and a people bound together by ties of memory, tradition, and the values that make our homelands like nowhere else on earth,” he said.
He continued: “That is why America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governments, control and domination. I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions. The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship. We only ask that you honor our sovereignty in return.”
Later, he added that "America is governed by Americans" and rejects "the ideology of globalism."
Expect this theme to continue throughout his remarks. The administration has recently made several moves to put this effort on display, including most recently a decision to cut funding for the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees and a speech by his national security adviser John Bolton undercutting the International Criminal Court.
President Trump, speaking at the UN General Assembly, said North Korea has taken "encouraging measures" following the summer summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un.
At the meeting, North Korea and the US "agreed that it was in both countries’ interest to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."
Trump thanked Kim for the steps his country has taken, as well as others who helped them get there.
"I also want to thank the many member states who helped us reach this moment. A moment that is actually far greater than people would understand. Far greater," Trump said.
This rhetoric is a stark contrast to last year's UN meeting, where President Trump called Kim "Rocket Man."
There was a moment of levity at the top of President Donald Trump’s United Nations speech, when some in the crowd chuckled as Trump touted his administration's successes.
Trump began his address at the United Nations this morning by boasting, “In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”
There was some muted laughter.
“So true,” Trump said. “I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay,” he said, prompting louder laughter and some applause.
President Trump quickly addressed reporters on his way into the United Nations where he claimed he's made "tremendous progress" with North Korea -- "far greater than the media would understand or know" -- and yet offering little on any movement towards denuclearization.
"As you know," Trump said, "there have been no tests, no nuclear tests, no rockets, no missile launches. And we got our hostages back. We're getting the remains of our great heroes back. That's already started, that process, and many more are coming in the very short future. So we're doing very well with North Korea. Again, far greater than anybody would know."
President Trump just arrived at the United Nations in New York and approached the press to preview his remarks on a few topics. Here's what he said on Iran:
"Iran has to change its tune before I meet with them. They want to meet. I'm not meeting with them until they change their tune. It will happen. I believe they have no choice. We look forward to having a great relationship with Iran. But it won't happen now."
Earlier on Tuesday President Trump tweeted that "despite requests," he has no plans to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. "Maybe someday in the future. I am sure he is an absolutely lovely man!" he added.
But earlier, in an interview with CNN's Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour, Rouhani denied making any such request.
"Not this year, nor last year. We have never made such a request for a meeting with the President of the United States," Rouhani said. He added, "Under the current conditions, when it comes to a meeting, I do not see it as beneficial nor appropriate. But you should ask him who made such requests."
President Trump will emphasize US commitment to its sovereignty above all international organizations and multilateral agreements on the heels of several moves that have put that effort on display, including most recently a decision to cut funding for the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees and a speech by his national security adviser John Bolton undercutting the International Criminal Court.
John Bolton's influence: Bolston, a longtime and fiercely ideological critic of the UN and the former US ambassador to the body, is certain to leave his imprint on Tuesday through Trump's speech.
Speaking ahead of the address on Monday, Bolton said:
Addressing the sovereignty theme, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said Monday Trump will deliver "a recap about [how] his call for every nation to do its part has paid dividends for the United States and the world over this past year."
And Nikki Haley, the UN ambassador, has also said Trump will "lay down a marker" on foreign aid, remaining generous, but only "to those that share our values ... that want to work with us."
Trump embarks upon another "America First" crusade at the world's foremost diplomatic institution this week.
But while Trump in New York, there are several key political events unfolding back in Washington, DC...
- Brett Kavanaugh: President Trump's Supreme Court nominee faces allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. One of his accusers is set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday as the senators continue to debate his nomination.
- Rod Rosenstein: Is the deputy attorney general on his way out? If Monday's White House drama is to be believed, then it's a strong possibility. President Donald Trump said he will meet with Rosenstein on Thursday to "be determining what's going on."
- The Russia investigation: With Rosenstein possibly on his way out, a fresh round of uncertainty has been injected into the Russia investigation, and it could take a while for things to settle down.