PoliticsForeign Policy


Trump Calls For Reform In Muted UN Debut

Trump toned down his past anti-United Nations rhetoric but still pressed for the organization to reform itself.
Posted at 6:10 PM, Sep 18, 2017

President Trump made his first presidential appearance at the United Nations about one thing above all else: reform.

Trump said, "We encourage the secretary-general to fully use his authority to cut through the bureaucracy, reform outdated systems and make firm decisions to advance the U.N.'s core mission."

Trump hasn't always been so kind to the organization.

He told a crowd at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee's policy conference: "The United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It's not a friend to freedom. It's not a friend even to the United States of America where, as you know, it has its home."

But Trump reined in his anti-globalist rhetoric for this event, in favor of making common cause with the U.N.'s new secretary-general, António Guterres.

Guterres pledged when he took office to streamline the organization's budget and bureaucratic rules, as well as foster accountability in the U.N. management. Trump supported all of these initiatives.

But in keeping with his "America First" approach to foreign policy, Trump also exhorted the U.N. member states to evenly share the burden of supporting the organization. The U.S. currently pays about 22 percent of the U.N.'s budget.