President Donald Trump emphasized during his remarks Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly that he would “always put America first.” And that was far from the only distinctly “Trumpian” line in the address, which included nods to the “rocket man” leading North Korea and “loser terrorists” in the Middle East.
Trump read his address off a teleprompter and did not noticeably deviate from the script. Asked who had helped draft the speech, a senior administration official told reporters in a background briefing Monday that “it is the President’s vision, and that’s the only way you should think about it.”
Trump identified the “growing dangers” faced by the world broadly: “Terrorists and extremists [who] have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet,” “rogue regimes,” “authoritarian powers” and “international criminal networks.”
But he also said the United States would not be “taken advantage of” in addressing these international concerns.
“If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” Trump said.
Boosting the far-right members of his administration, Trump deployed the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” a move he avoided in a similar foreign policy address in Saudi Arabia and that his national security adviser H.R. McMaster has advocated against using.
“The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists,” he said.
Trump’s speechwriters were similarly unsparing in addressing individual regimes.
The President called North Korea’s Kim Jong Un the leader of a “depraved regime” and a “rocket man […] on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” He added that “no nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles.”
“We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if the United States is “forced to defend itself or its allies,” he said.
Trump also criticized the nuclear deal his predecessor Barack Obama made with the “reckless regime” and “corrupt dictatorship” in Iran.
“That deal is an embarrassment to the United States and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me,” he said.
One notable passage, reminiscent of Trump’s talk of “American carnage” in his inaugural address, summed up the President’s apocalyptic view of the rest of the globe.
“Major portions of the world are in conflict,” he told the assembled heads-of-state. “Some, in fact, are going to hell.”