OPINION: President Trump’s UN Speech Misses the Mark

By Clementine Larrouillh, Reporter

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Since President Trump’s debut in office, the United States has felt the brunt of his decisions, but his actions have also rippled out to affect other countries. It’s more apparent than ever that President Trump holds an immense amount of power that he doesn’t know how to wield. When President Trump interacts with other global powers, the outcome is unpredictable as President Trump himself is unpredictable.

On Sept. 18, President Trump gave a speech at the United Nations (UN) — one that was unprofessional, inaccurate, and completely inappropriate for the setting.

Generally, speeches at the UN focus on issues that are prevalent in modern day society. Problems such as global warming, terrorism, drug and human trafficking, nuclear missiles; problems that usually affect multiple countries and warrant a collective response. President Trump does talk about these problems, but not in a professional tone. For example, when he turns to talking about North Korea, it’s not in the the voice that one would expect of a president. In his speech he said, “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.” He does two things in this phrase. First, he insults Kim Jong Un, a  rather dangerous choice considering that now North Korea is taking it’s testing to a new level, and could test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific. Second, he insinuates that the UN excluding the US would solve this problem.  By doing this he alienates the United States from the UN, implying that its decisions are entirely apart from the United State’s decisions.This garnered criticism from many world leaders, but U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres hit the nail on the head when he said, “We are a world in pieces. We need to be a world at peace.”

President Trump said many statements during his UN speech that weren’t true, or were half-truths. These lies seemed to be solely for the purpose of making the United States seem in better state than other countries. Bragging, if you will. For example, he said that “ Companies are moving back, creating job growth the likes of which our country has seen in a very long time.” This is entirely inaccurate, seeing that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job growth in the United States has been stable, with no significant fluctuations since 2009.  Later, he also states, “Frankly, that [Iran nuclear] deal is an embarrassment to the United States.… It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction.”President Trump said that Iran violated the nuclear deal, however, the International Atomic Energy Agency found Iran to be compliant. Meaning that President Trump in stating this inaccuracy, also antagonized Iran, whose president was present during President Trump’s speech.

This speech at the UN was completely inappropriate for the setting, mainly because President Trump talked about his own nationalistic values at the UNITED Nations. United, not apart. He started fairly simple and inoffensive, stating that the strength of the individual countries in the UN would keep the UN strong. However, later President Trump said, “As president of the United States, I will always put America first. Just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first.” This was perhaps not the best message to send at an organization that prides itself on developing relations between countries and  fostering cooperation between nations. By insinuating that he’d expect every leader to focus on their own country’s interests instead of the collective global good, he undermined the very essence of the UN.

President Trump needs to realize that when a threat is affecting other countries along with the United States, the best solution is not for everybody to deal with it on their own. No, President Trump needs to co-operate, respect, and share. It’s true that there’s a period of adjustment and transition that can be rough when assuming a mantle like that of a president, but it’s been eight months, and President Trump needs to get his act together.