Trump to double down on U.S. primacy at U.N.
A year after his stormy debut at the global forum, president plans to return with focus on American interests, threat from Iran.
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump is poised to redouble his commitment to “America First” on the most global of stages this week.
In the sequel to his stormy U.N. debut, Trump will stress his dedication to the primacy of U.S. interests while competing with Western allies for an advantage on trade and shining a spotlight on the threat that he says Iran poses to the Middle East and beyond.
One year after Trump stood at the rostrum of the U.N. General Assembly and derided North Korea’s Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man,” the push to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula is a work in progress, although fears of war have given way to hopes for rapprochement.
Scores of world leaders, even those representing America’s closest friends, remain wary of Trump. In the 12 months since his last visit to the U.N., the pres- ident has jolted the global status quo by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, starting trade conflicts with China and the West, and embracing Russia’s Vladimir Putin even as the investigation into the U.S. president’s ties to Moscow moves closer to the Oval Office.
Long critical of the United Nations, Trump delivered a warning shot ahead of his arrival by declaring that the world body had “not lived up to” its potential.
“It’s always been surpris- ing to me that more things aren’t resolved,” Trump said in a weekend video message, “because you have all of these countries getting together in one location, but it doesn’t seem to get there. I think it will.”
If there is a throughline to the still-evolving Trump doctrine on foreign policy, it is that the president will not subordinate American interests on the world stage, whether for economic, mil- itary or political gain.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters in a preview of Trump’s visit, that the president’s focus “will be very much on the United States,” its role and the relations it wants to build.
In his four-day visit to New York, Trump will deliver major speeches and meet with representatives of a world order that he has so often upended in the past year.
On Monday afternoon, Trump planned to sit down with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who comes bearing a personal message to Trump from North Korea’s Kim after their inter-Korean talks last week. Trump and Moon were expected to sign a new version of the U.S.- South Korean trade agree- ment, one of Trump’s first successes in his effort to rene- gotiate trade deals on more favorable terms for the U.S.
Even so, some U.S. officials worry that South Korea’s eagerness to restore relations with the North could reduce sanctions pressure on Kim’s government, hampering efforts to negotiate a nuclear accord.
“We have our eyes wide open,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
Trump’s address to the General Assembly comes Tuesday, and on Wednesday he will for the first time chair the Security Council, with the stated topic of non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The subject initially was to have been Iran, but that could have allowed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to attend, creating a potentially awkward situation for the U.S. leader.
Aides say the president will also use the session to discuss North Korea and other proliferation issues. While Trump is not seeking a meeting with Rouhani, he is open to talking with the Iranian leader if Rouhani requests one, administration officials said.
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters.