President Trump’s third address to the United Nations General Assembly was an unmistakably nationalist one, with the president reiterating the theme of his foreign policy doctrine, that all nations should be looking inward and considering their own interests first.
In a sober, scripted speech Tuesday, he focused more on criticizing other nations that he believes treat the U.S. unfairly than on uniting nations around principles of democracy and humanity.
The president hit on each of his favorite themes — unfair trade, imbalanced defense spending, illegal immigration, and socialism — reading from the teleprompter in a somewhat subdued manner.
“The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots,” Mr. Trump said in one of the defining quotes of his more than 30-minute speech.
He singled out Iran for criticism, saying that the country deserves a government that cares about jobs for its people and for decreasing poverty. Mr. Trump said that after four decades of failure, it’s time for Iran’s leaders to stop threatening other countries and build up their own country.
But he followed up his critique with words of peace, stating that the U.S. is ready to embrace friendship with those who seek it, and it “has never believed in permanent enemies.”
“America knows that while anyone can make war, only the most courageous can seek peace,” he said.
His address came amid heightened instability in the Middle East, following the recent attack on Saudi oil facilities that the U.S. believes was carried out by Iran.
Mr. Trump also listed his complaints against China, including its “massive market barriers,” product dumping practices and forced technology transfers. He railed against the World Trade Organization for failing to compel China to liberalize its economy and called for “drastic change” to the international trade system. The second-largest economy in the world, he said, should not be allowed to declare itself a developing country at the expense of others.
Earlier updates on the president’s day at the U.N. appear below.
Trump says U.N. has great potential
Mr. Trump, speaking at a lunch hosted by the U.N. secretary general, said he’s always suggested the U.N. has a lot of potential, either for war or for peace. But now, the U.N. is demonstrating great potential for peace, he said.
Then the president raised a toast, although he doesn’t drink himself.
Trump says India’s Modi is like Elvis to Indians
Mr. Trump praised his “chemistry” with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a bilateral meeting with Modi. Modi, Mr. Trump remarked, is like “Elvis” to Indians.
“My personal chemistry is as good as it can get” with Modi, the president said, adding later, “Maybe he’s the father of India.”
Mr. Trump said he thinks Modi and the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan can work out a solution to Kashmir, but ignored American reporters’ questions about Kashmir. Mr. Trump praised Indian reporters present instead, taking their less pointed questions.
“You have great reporters. I wish I had reporters like that,” Mr. Trump said.
Trump says Boris Johnson isn’t going anywhere
Mr. Trump, in a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said his British counterpart isn’t going anywhere. Their meeting came after the U.K.’s Supreme Court ruled Johnson illegally suspended Parliament. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, called on Johnson to resign.
Johnson, asked about the ruling, replied that he respects the judiciary even though he disagrees with its decision.
“I disagree profoundly with what they had to say,” Johnson said, adding that the U.K. needs to “get on” with Brexit.
President Trump called that question from a reporter “nasty.”
Mr. Trump, who joked that Johnson is having an easy time with his job, said he has no response to the ruling.
“I had no reaction,” Mr. Trump said. “I just asked Boris and for him it’s just another day in the office.”
During that bilateral meeting, the president also continued to defend his phone call with the Ukrainian president after admitting he brought up the Bidens and foreign aid during the call.
Trump concludes his teleprompter address
At 10:49 a.m., the president concluded his address which he read from the teleprompter, and delivered with little inflection in his voice.
The president received some applause upon concluded, although his audience of world leaders remained quiet as he spoke.
Trump says his administration is working to stop the criminalization of homosexuality
The president said his administration is working to stop the criminalization of homosexuality across the globe, although he didn’t give examples. It’s critical that LGBTQ people be protected, he said.
The Trump administration has often been criticized for its policies affecting LGBTQ people domestically.
Mr. Trump also insisted the U.S. is working to ensure women across the globe can have the same rights as men to own and inherit property, travel freely and access credit.
Trump uses Venezuela “nightmare” to blast socialism
The president said the U.S. is watching the Venezuela situation “very closely.” The Trump administration has long insisted the Maduro regime will be outside soon, but despite months of sanctions and support, that has yet to happen.
Mr. Trump, as his administration often does, used Venezuela as a tool to blast socialism. Socialism only benefits the ruling class, he said.
The Trump administration and Trump campaign has looked to label all Democratic presidential candidates as some variety of socialist, although Mr. Trump didn’t bring up any of his potential rivals in his Tuesday morning address.
Trump says open-border activists promote “cruel” and “evil” policies
Mr. Trump then hit on another favorite topic of his — illegal immigration.
He suggested the U.S. won’t tolerate illegal migration, and said those who promote open-borders policies are only promoting smuggling and abuses of human rights.
Mr. Trump insisted those who promote “open-borders” policies are only promoting “cruel” and “evil” policies, cloaked in the guise of social justice.
He said that as long as he’s president, the U.S. will enforce its laws and protect its borders. Anyone who enters illegally, he said, will not be allowed to stay.
Trump urges other nations to join U.S. in pressuring Iran
The president then moved on to Iran, urging other nations to join America in cutting the nation off financially.
The Trump administration blames Iran for the recent strikes against Saudi oil facilities.
“All nations have a duty to act,” Mr. Trump said. “No responsible government should subsidize Iran’s bloodlust. As long as Iran’s menacing behavior continues sanctions will not be lifted. They will be tightened.”
But the president made no new specific threats and did not mention any potential military options. The Pentagon announced at the end of last week that the U.S. would be sending troops to aid Saudi Arabia in a defensive posture.
Trump says U.S. seeks “justice” with China
Mr. Trump then went on to criticize China over its trade practices, with China’s representative looking ahead toward him.
The president said China’s “abuses” have been “ignored” or “encouraged” for years.
“Globalism exerted a religious pull” on many nations’ leaders, Mr. Trump said, making them overlook their own national interests.
Mr. Trump said “hopefully” the U.S. and China will strike a fair deal, but he won’t accept anything less.
“I will not accept a bad deal for the American people,” he vowed.
The president also brought up Hong Kong, saying the world expects China to uphold its agreement.
“We are all counting on President Xi as a great leader,” he added.
Trump emphasizes nationalist approach to trade and defense
Mr. Trump, who has long emphasized the importance of fair trade and every allied nation paying their fair share for defense, did so again on Tuesday.
The room was quiet as the commander-in-chief hit those central themes.
Trump blasts “globalists,” says future belongs to “patriots”
The president, introduced as “his excellency,”began speaking at 10:13 a.m.
Mr. Trump said the current time is one of “high stakes” and “clear choices.”
The president said the essential divide is the choice between those who have a thirst for control, and people and nations who want only to rule themselves.
Mr. Trump then went on to say the U.S. is the most powerful nation with the greatest military, and he hopes America never has to use that power.
“The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots,” the president said.
Trump defends temporarily withholding Ukraine aid
President Trump, when asked about his decision to block aid to Ukraine shortly before his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he said he “wanted other countries to put up money.”
“We paid the money,” he said, arguing that other European countries should help Ukraine with its defenses. “That’s been my complaint from the very beginning,” Mr. Trump added.
And in language that echoed his sentiment about the 2016 Russia investigation, Mr. Trump decried the Ukraine controversy as a “witch hunt” when addressing reporters shortly before his speech before the United Nations General Assembly.
He again described his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as “perfect” and maintained that he had applied no pressure on him to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden.
“But there was pressure put on with respect for [Joe] Biden’s son,” he argued. “That’s something they should be looking at,” he said.
Excerpts of the president’s speech
The White House sent along a few lines of the president’s prepared speech before delivery. In the speech he plans to return to themes urging countries to act in accordance with their own interests above all. He’ll also call for reform of the international trade system and will state that the U.S. seeks peace and cooperation.
The excerpts follow:
“If you want freedom, take pride in your country. If you want democracy, hold on to your sovereignty. If you want peace, love your nation.”
“At the center of our vision for national renewal is an ambitious campaign to reform international trade. For decades, the international trading system has been easily exploited by nations acting in bad faith. As jobs were outsourced, a small handful grew wealthy at the expense of the middle class.”
“The United States does not seek conflict with any other nation. We desire peace, cooperation, and mutual gain with all. But I will never fail to defend America’s interests.”
“When you undermine border security you are undermining human rights and human dignity.”
“Love of our own nations makes the world better for all nations.”
Trump to address China, Iran and Venezuela
Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway told Fox News Tuesday morning that the president will focus on putting America’s policies first in his speech.
The speech, which she described as “very powerful” will include discussing China and Iran.
The president will also bring up Venezuela, according to a senior State Department official.
Christina Ruffini contributed to this post.
Trump’s Ukraine call
Mr. Trump’s presence at the U.N. General Assembly has so far been dominated by questions about a phone call this summer with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Mr. Trump confirmed he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden and aid to Ukraine. Indeed, his most anticipated meeting at the U.N. is the one he’ll have on the sidelines of the General Assembly with Zelensky.
On Monday, Mr. Trump denied that he ever pressured Zelensky and threatened to withhold funding from Ukraine, and when he was asked about whether he’d be willing to release a transcript of the call, he said that he hoped reporters would be able to see the transcript, although he also said he’d “rather not do it, from the standpoint of all of the other conversations I have.”
He offered this prediction to reporters about the transcript: “You’ll be very disappointed when you see it.”