President Donald Trump used his fourth and possibly final United Nations General Assembly address to portray himself as a benevolent and responsible world leader and China as the aggressor of the world.
“America is fulfilling our destiny as a peacemaker,” he said in a recorded speech, praising the agreements to normalize relations negotiated by the United States between Israel and two Arab countries, the negotiations in progress to end the war in Afghanistan and a pact between Serbia and Kosovo signed at the White House.
“As we pursue this bright future, we must empower the nation that unleashed this scourge in the world: China,” Trump added, referring to the coronavirus.
In many ways, the speech was vintage Trump. He boasted that his America First approach to foreign policy – anathema to the multilateral UN ethos – is the best way forward for the United States and the world. He shone on the economic and military strength of the United States. And he bragged about his administration’s handling of the coronavirus, even as nearly 200,000 Americans have died from the disease, while expressing hope for a better, pandemic-free world.
But the main thing to remember is that Trump made China the country most responsible for the Covid-19 epidemic, and therefore the country most deserving of the world’s contempt. He continues the administration’s preference to speak of China as a Cold War-like enemy, with the United States leading the way in ridding the world of its evil. “The United Nations must hold China accountable for its actions,” Trump said.
Many expected Trump to say these things, in part because he had been saying them for months. He initially praised China’s handling of the coronavirus and only began to speak belligerently about Beijing as its failure to control the US epidemic was becoming too important to ignore. Now he has taken that message, first aimed at a national audience, to the world stage.
Of course, Trump hasn’t sworn to distribute a coronavirus vaccine around the world, nor has he sworn to tackle key global issues like climate change. Such failures can lead to ignoring much of the speech.
But in terms of getting his main point across – good US, bad China – the short, practically delivered speech probably did the trick.
An urgent transcript of Trump’s speech at the UNGA is below:
I have the profound honor to address the United Nations General Assembly, 75 years after the end of World War II and the founding of the United Nations.
We are once again engaged in a great global struggle. We have waged a fierce battle against the invisible enemy – the Chinese virus – which has claimed countless lives in 188 countries.
In the United States, we launched the most aggressive mobilization since World War II. We quickly produced a record supply of fans creating a surplus that allowed us to share them with friends and partners all over the world. We pioneered life-saving treatments, reducing our death rate by 85% since April. Thanks to our efforts, three vaccines are in the final stages of clinical trials. We mass produce them in advance so they can be delivered immediately upon arrival.
We will distribute a vaccine. We will defeat the virus. We will end the pandemic. And we will enter a new era of unprecedented prosperity, cooperation and peace.
As we pursue this bright future, we must empower the nation that unleashed this scourge on the world: China. In the early days of the virus, China locked down travel to the country while allowing flights to leave China – and infect the world.
China has condemned my travel ban to its country even as it canceled domestic flights and locked citizens in their homes. The Chinese government and the World Health Organization, which is virtually controlled by China, have falsely stated that there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission. They later mistakenly said that people without symptoms would not spread the disease. The UN must hold China accountable for its actions.
In addition, every year, China dumps millions upon millions of tons of plastic and garbage into the oceans, overfishes the waters of other countries, destroys vast swathes of coral reefs, and emits more toxic mercury into the atmosphere. than any country in the world. China’s carbon emissions are almost double that of the United States, and they’re growing rapidly.
In contrast, after I withdrew from the unilateral Paris climate agreement, the United States last year reduced its carbon emissions by more than any other country in the agreement. Those who attack America’s outstanding environmental record while ignoring China’s endemic pollution are not interested in the environment. They just want to punish America, and I can’t stand it.
If the United Nations is to be an effective organization, it must focus on the real problems of the world. This includes terrorism, oppression of women, forced labor, drug trafficking, human and sex trafficking, religious persecution, and ethnic cleansing of religious minorities. America will always be a leader in human rights. My administration advances religious freedom, opportunities for women, the decriminalization of homosexuality, the fight against human trafficking and the protection of unborn children.
We also know that American prosperity is the foundation for freedom and security around the world. In just three years, we’ve built the largest economy in history, and we’re starting again quickly. Our army has grown significantly in size: we have spent $ 2.5 trillion over the past four years on our army. We have the most powerful army in the world – and it’s not even close.
We have resisted China’s trade abuses for two decades. We have revitalized the NATO alliance, where other countries are now paying a much fairer share. We have forged historic partnerships with Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to end human trafficking. We stand alongside the peoples of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela in their just struggle for freedom.
We withdrew from the terrible Iranian nuclear deal and imposed crippling sanctions on the main state that supports terrorism in the world. We wiped out ISIS’s caliphate 100%, killed its founder and leader, al-Baghdadi, and eliminated the world’s greatest terrorist, Qassem Soleimani.
This month we reached a peace agreement between Serbia and Kosovo. We have achieved a historic breakthrough with two Middle East peace accords after decades of no progress. Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain all signed a historic White House peace deal with many more Middle Eastern countries to come. They come fast, and they know it’s great for them and it’s great for the world.
These revolutionary peace accords at the dawn of the new Middle East, by taking a different approach, we got different results – much better results. We took an approach and the approach worked. We intend to conclude other peace agreements in the near future, and I have never been so optimistic about the future of the region. There is no blood in the sand. We hope those days are over.
As we speak, the United States is also working to end the war in Afghanistan, and we are bringing our troops home. America is fulfilling our destiny as a peacemaker, but it is peace by force. We are stronger than ever. Our guns are at an advanced level, like we’ve never had before, like, frankly, we never even thought about having any before, and I only pray to God that we never have to use them.
For decades, the same tired voices offer the same failed solutions, pursuing global ambitions at the expense of their own people. But it is only when you take care of your own citizens that you will find a real basis for cooperation. As President, I rejected the failed approaches of the past and proudly put America first, just as you should put your countries first. Its good. This is what you should do.
I have absolutely no doubts that next year, when we meet in person, we will be in the middle of one of the greatest years in our history. And frankly, hopefully, in the history of the world. Thank you, God bless you all. God bless America. And God bless the United Nations.
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