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COLUMN: The UN should be laughing at Trump



There was nothing particularly shocking about hearing an assortment of United Nations delegates laugh during President Trump’s speech last week. Yes, laughter is highly unusual to hear during any meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, but what Trump said was clearly worthy of a chuckle.

After he claimed his administration had accomplished more than any other in U.S. history, a few murmurs of laughter were audible. Trump then doubled down, saying “so true.” That’s when the laughs spread around the whole assembly.

Trump tried to recover without acknowledging any embarrassment, saying “I didn’t expect that reaction, but OK.”

Only hours later, Trump directly contradicting that admission, claiming to reporters, “Well, that was meant to get some laughter, but it was great.”

This is all standard Trump — nothing new about it. He says or does something absurd, people laugh at him, and he tries to protect his ego by brushing it off or lying about it or both. What was especially absurd about this episode, however, was the recovery attempt that U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley engaged in on “Fox & Friends.”

Haley described world leaders’ view of the U.S. in an interesting way. "Do they love America? No. Do they respect America? Now they do," she said.

I’m not sure what it was about a room full of diplomats openly laughing during the president’s speech that indicated a newfound respect for the country in Ambassador Haley’s mind. But she really drove the point home on “Fox & Friends.”

“They love how honest he is,” Haley continued. “It’s not diplomatic, and they find it funny.”

Is that a good thing?

Haley went on to describe U.N. delegates’ treatment of Trump as if the delegates were Trump’s groupies. “All day yesterday, they were falling over themselves to get a picture with him, to talk about how great his speech was, how strong it was," she said.

She said of U.N. diplomats’ attitude toward Trump, “They’ve never seen anything like it, and so there’s a respect there.”

These claims are absurd on their face. Trump and his diplomatic appointees, including Haley herself, have engaged in pathetic stunts at the U.N. and obstructed international cooperation time after time. Why on Earth should we believe Haley for a second when she extols the U.N.’s love for the current U.S. administration? 

Nikki Haley is the woman who, with Trump’s approval, made pitiful and humiliating attempts to intimidate the 128 countries that voted in December to condemn the U.S. decision to recognize all of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite the occupied status of East Jerusalem.

In the run-up to the vote, Haley sternly warned, “We’re taking names.” She did indeed make a naughty-or-nice list of countries,and acted swiftly to punish the 128 naughty delegations by declining to invite them to a Christmastime “friendship” party at the White House.

Any respect U.N. diplomats ever had for the U.S. and its leaders is quickly eroding.

Are we to believe that Trump, the man responsible for the U.S.’s planned withdrawal from the Paris agreement, is adored by the very diplomats who made the deal happen?

The U.S. is rapidly becoming more isolated and less respected on the world stage and for good reason. Of course, the U.S. has never been the noble, benevolent “leader of the free world” is has claimed to be. But Trump and Haley certainly aren’t getting us any closer.

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