President Trump on Tuesday strode to the podium at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City to “share the extraordinary progress” the U.S. has made during his time in office. The reaction he received from the assembled world leaders wasn’t what he was expecting.
“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” Trump proclaimed. There was a smattering of audible laughter from the assembled diplomats, representing 193 countries.
The president paused his prepared remarks.
“So true,” Trump said with a tight-lipped smile, adding: “Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK.”
More laughter and applause followed.
Trump soldiered on with a speech that seemed more suited for a campaign rally than an address to the world, touting America’s economy, stock market, his border wall and U.S. military, which he vowed would “soon be more powerful than it has ever been before.”
“The United States is a stronger, safer and a richer country than when I assumed office less than two years ago,” he said. “We are standing up for America and for the American people, and we are also standing up for the world. This is great news for our citizens and peace-loving people everywhere.”
Trump said that under his leadership, major threats to peace — including North Korea, Iran and ISIS — have been diminished.
“We believe that when nations respect the rights of their neighbors and defend the interests of their people, they can better work to secure the blessings of safety, prosperity and peace,” he said.
The peaceful message was in stark contrast to the dire one Trump offered in his first address to the U.N. General Assembly last year. In that speech, he called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” and warned that the U.S. would “have no choice but to totally destroy” the rogue nuclear nation if Kim continued on his “suicide mission.”
In his speech Tuesday, the president spoke of his “highly productive” June meetings on denuclearization with “Chairman Kim.”
“The missiles and rockets are no longer flying,” Trump said.
Later, when asked by reporters about the laughter his speech received, Trump insisted the part that drew the chuckling was meant to be funny.
“Oh, it was great,” Trump said. “That was meant to get some laughter, but it was great.”
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