Trump: UN is just a club for people to have a good time
Donald Trump is questioning its effectiveness of the United Nations, saying it’s just a club for people to “have a good time,” after the UN Security Council voted last week to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, The president-elect wrote Monday on Twitter that the UN has “such great potential,” but it has become “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!”
On Friday, Trump warned, “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan 20th,” referring to the day he takes office. The decision by the Obama administration to abstain from Friday’s UN vote brushed aside Trump’s demands that the US exercise its veto and provided a climax to years of icy relations with Israel’s leadership.
Charity in question
Meanwhile, the billionaire businessman took to Twitter Monday evening to say he believes his election as president has benefited the economy. “The world was gloomy before I won - there was no hope,” he said in a verified post on his Twitter account. “Now, the market is up nearly 10 percent and Christmas spending is over a trillion dollars.” Markets are up since Trump won the general election, although not quite by that much. The Standard & Poor’s 500 is up about 6 percent since Election Day, while the Dow has risen more than 8 percent.
As for holiday spending, auditing and accounting firm Deloitte projected in September that total 2016 holiday sales were expected to exceed $1 trillion, representing a 3.6 percent to 4.0 percent increase in holiday sales from November through January. Trump also used social media to complain anew about criticism of the Donald J Trump Foundation. In one post, he said, “The DJT Foundation, unlike most foundations, never paid fees, rent, salaries or any expenses. 100 % of the money goes to wonderful charities.”
He also tweeted that “I gave millions of dollars to DJT Foundation, raised or received millions more. ALL of which is given to charity, and media won’t report.” Trump had said Saturday that he wanted to dissolve his charitable foundation amid efforts to eliminate any conflicts of interest before he takes office next month.
He said in a statement that he has directed his counsel to take the necessary steps to implement the dissolution of the Donald J Trump Foundation. The Democratic National Committee criticized him for what it called “a wilted fig leaf to cover up his remaining conflicts of interest and his pitiful record of charitable giving.”
A 2015 tax return posted on the nonprofit monitoring website GuideStar shows the Donald J Trump Foundation acknowledged that it used money or assets in violation of IRS regulations - not only during 2015, but in prior years. Those regulations prohibit self-dealing by the charity. That’s broadly defined as using its money or assets to benefit Trump, his family, his companies or substantial contributors to the foundation.
The tax filing doesn’t provide details on the violations. Whether Trump benefited from the foundation’s spending has been the subject of an investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. On the Middle East, Trump told The Associated Press last December that he wanted to be “very neutral” on Israel-Palestinian issues. But his tone became decidedly more pro-Israel as the presidential campaign progressed. He has spoken disparagingly of Palestinians, saying they have been “taken over” by or are condoning militant groups.
Trump’s tweet Monday about the UN ignores much of the work that goes on in the 193-member global organization. This year the UN Security Council has approved over 70 legally binding resolutions, including new sanctions on North Korea and measures tackling conflicts and authorizing the UN’s far-flung peacekeeping operations around the world. The General Assembly has also approved dozens of resolutions on issues, like the role of diamonds in fueling conflicts; condemned human rights abuses in Iran and North Korea; and authorized an investigation of alleged war crimes in Syria.
Trump’s criticism of the UN is by no means unique. While the organization does engage in large-scale humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts, its massive bureaucracy has long been a source of controversy. The organization has been accused by some Western governments of being inefficient and frivolous, while developing nations have said it is overly influenced by wealthier nations. The president-elect is spending the holidays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. —AP
PALM BEACH: In this Dec 21, 2016, file photo, President-elect Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at Mar-a-Lago. —AP