NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s “America First” fixation was on stark display on Tuesday in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, where he boasted of his accomplishments while in office while emphasizing overall his nationalist ideology.
“Like my beloved country, each nation represented in this hall, has a cherished history, culture and heritage, that is worth defending and celebrating, and which gives us our singular potential and strength. The free world must embrace its national foundations. It must not attempt to erase them or replace them,” Trump told a silent crowd of world leaders and aides. “The future doesn’t belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots.”
Foreign leaders listened closely to Trump’s speech, his third to the multilateral body.
The president’s annual addresses to the international body have often been the stage for some of his most memorable rhetoric. In his first speech there, Trump nicknamed North Korea’s leader “Rocket Man,” a nickname the president used until the two leaders became friendly amid thawing tensions between their nations. Trump’s second address elicited outright laughter in the chamber hall when he bragged his administration had accomplished more in two years than “almost any administration.”
Tuesday’s statement marked the the third year in a row that Trump espoused an “America First” foreign policy, the populist message he pledged to embrace on the 2016 campaign trail that helped fuel his victory.
“The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations, who protect their citizens, respect their neighbors and honor the differences that make each country special and unique,” he said.
Trump spoke deliberately, reading from a teleprompter, appearing not to deviate from prepared remarks.
Trump began by touting his military buildup since taking office, though he added that “hopefully it will never have to use this power.”
The president also dedicated a significant chunk of his speech to condemning Iran’s aggression, reiterating his calls for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Iran but maintaining that he is prepared to respond with force to defend U.S. interests if necessary.
Trump had stark words for the Islamic Republic, declaring that “as long as Iran’s menacing behavior continues, sanctions will not be lifted,” adding that “no responsible government should subsidize Iran’s bloodlust.”