2017 New York UN Meeting

This week marked the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly. The assembly included over 190 member nations, from all over the world. The meetings allow many heads of states, as well as UN ambassadors the rare opportunity to speak together in person to discuss both global and bilateral issues. The main event of this assembly was President Donald Trump’s first speech to the UN. In the week leading up to the speech, many speculated about what Trump would and would not discuss. Since his speech on Tuesday, which included numerous inflammatory remarks, the UN has been abuzz with news coming from the US delegation.

President Trump’s 40-minute speech to the general assembly was mostly well received by the delegation, receiving applause at various points. Trump had four main key points during his speech, which included outlining his ‘America first’ policy, and what he considers to be accomplishments of the US under his leadership, the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, the threat of “rogue nations” like Iran, and the failure of socialism in Venezuela. Many members of the media have deemed this to be one of his best speeches yet, but his critics still pointed out what they felt was problematic with his policies, and the way he handled calling out specific countries. Many from both the right and left felt that he went too far in some ways, but not enough in others.

Aside from Trump’s speech, there were protests outside of the UN and Trump Tower. The City of New York and the federal government prepared for any potential threat, whether that be from protesters or from terrorists. Streets around the city were closed so that UN delegates could safely move through the streets. For many New Yorkers, this is their least favorite time of the year, knowing that there’s a good chance they could be late for work with roads closed at every street corner.

There has also been news surrounding Trump’s team while at the UN, including Vice President Mike Pence, First Lady Melania Trump, Chief of Staff John Kelly. First, VP Pence called out the UN Council on Human Rights, saying that “they do not deserve their name,” due to human rights violations committed by countries that sit on that council. The two he specifically named were Cuba and Venezuela, while he defended Israel for the numerous times the council has singled them out.