The United Nations General Assembly has been given a double dose of Donald Trump unfiltered.
Yes, the tone was relatively measured, but the language used was characteristically blunt.
It’s something rarely seen in the centre of global diplomacy, and while several people would have helped write the speech there’s no doubt it reflected the President’s core views.
“Our Government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens – to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values,” he said, pushing US sovereignty.
“As President of the United States, I will always put America first.”
And then he went on the attack.
“The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based,” Mr Trump told the UN.
First in his sights, North Korea
“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Mr Trump said.
Kim Jong Un will struggle to shake this moniker
“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”
China, and others, got a shake
“It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict,” Mr Trump said.
The Iran nuclear deal is looking shaky (still)
“We cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program,” Mr Trump said.
“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.
“Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it – believe me.”
The ‘loser terrorists’
“The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the re-emergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people,” Mr Trump said.
A sign of things to come on refugee policy
“For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region,” Mr Trump said.
And the UN itself
“In some cases, states that seek to subvert this institution’s noble aims have hijacked the very systems that are supposed to advance them,” he said.
“For example, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the UN Human Rights Council.”
The US, he says, is bearing too much cost for an organisation that’s not returning results:
“The United States is one out of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 per cent of the entire budget and more. In fact, we pay far more than anybody realises,” Mr Trump said.
“The United States bears an unfair cost burden, but, to be fair, if it could actually accomplish all of its stated goals, especially the goal of peace, this investment would easily be well worth it.”
A case in point, Venezuela, where he called for action
“The Venezuelan people are starving and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. This situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch,” the President said.
“I ask every country represented here today to be prepared to do more to address this very real crisis.
“We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela.”
The reaction was swift, and equally blunt
From former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton:
In the entire history of the UN, there has never been a more straight forward criticism of the unacceptable behavior of other member states.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) September 19, 2017
From Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) September 19, 2017
From North Korea:
North Korea confirms it boycotted Pres. Trump's speech today – walking out beforehand & leaving behind only a junior diplomat, per @Abs_NBC.
— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) September 19, 2017
Republicans loved it:
President Trump's speech to the UN: clear, strong, principled. @POTUS
— Jeff Fortenberry (@JeffFortenberry) September 19, 2017
Pres Trump in UN speech put intellectual clarity on his principle that the American President should represent America not global system.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) September 19, 2017
Democrats, not so much. From Senator Dianne Feinstein:
“The goals of the United Nations are to foster peace and promote global co-operation. Today, the President used it as a stage to threaten war.”
Striking how Trump's UN speech embraced sovereignty & non-interference right before calling for regime change in Iran, Cuba, & Venezuela.
— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) September 19, 2017
The UN speech was especially frightening bc it was scripted & presumably vetted. So much for idea Trump is crazy only when he improvises.
— Ned Price (@nedprice) September 19, 2017
And as for the media:
UN speech was a lot of Trump tweets strung together. Saber-rattling. But no clear doctrine. Threats of confrontation around the world.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) September 19, 2017
I'd like to buy the world a drink.
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) September 19, 2017
It was Mr Trump’s first speech to the UN. It won’t be quickly forgotten.