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Interpreting Trump: United Nation’s General Assembly Address

On September 19, 2017, President Donald Trump spoke at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York, New York for the first time as President.  Unsurprisingly, a number of news sources had contrasting interpretations of his 41-minute address.

President Trump opened his address with some positive domestic updates for the United States.  He mentioned that the stock market is at an all-time high, the unemployment rate is at a sixteen year low, and that more people are working in the United States now than ever before.  Trump later addressed a number of issues in his speech to the United Nations, including the increasing threat of North Korea and their campaign to launch legitimate nuclear weapons, “radical Islamic terrorism,” and the “rogue regimes” of Iran, Syria, Cuba, and Venezuela.  Trump’s tone and criticisms were no different from his standard rhetoric.  He rightfully bashed Obama’s Iran deal, calling it an “embarrassment” and “one of the worst and most one-sided” deals the United States has ever been involved in.

Although President Trump’s speech received some applause from the diplomats in the audience, much of his speech was met with uncomfortable silence.  An example of this is seen when he asserted that the rogue states who were threatening “world stability” were “going to hell” and that America was being taken advantage of by paying 22 percent of the UN’s expenses.  Another instance was when President Trump referred to Venezuela’s leadership, under President Nicolas Maduro, as a “corrupt regime” that has “destroyed a prosperous nation by ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried.”  After President Trump said this, members of the Venezuelan delegation sat visibly frustrated with their arms crossed. However, criticism of this oppressive state that has a history of rigged elections, emerging dictatorships, killing their own citizens, and food shortages, is just, and perhaps obligatory for the head of the United States–the beacon of freedom and liberty for the whole world.

Despite the criticism from the “fake news,” I believe that President Trump delivered a strong, smooth, and powerful message in his first address as president to the United Nations General Assembly.

President Trump was spot on in terms of identifying the real threats that face the innocent citizens of the world in his address.  The predominant media narrative surrounding the speech described it as “indecisive,” or “ill-prepared”; which is clearly misguided and perhaps blatantly irresponsible journalism, as evidenced by earlier analysis.  No, President Trump is not the smoothest-sounding or most eloquent president, by any means.  However, his address on Tuesday, by his standards, was very smooth, presidential, and real.

President Trump emphasized how important it is for the United States to put its own interests first and, at the same time, for others in the UN to put the best interests of their nation’s first too.  He mentioned that when America puts itself first and leads by example, the world will be a better place.  Despite the criticism from the “fake news,” I believe that President Trump delivered a strong, smooth, and powerful message in his first address as president to the United Nations General Assembly.

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