The President of the United States listed the achievements of the country, while also attacking specific countries by name.
In a lot of ways it was a typical Trump speech: big numbers accented by taunts and toeing with his opponents, in this case, other nations. The second speaker of the day, after Brazil’s Jair Bolsanaro, Trump spent the first moments of his speech listing achievements of the USA in the past few years – lowered unemployment, secured borders, and advancements in trade. But a specific note about exports of oil and fuels seemed to be directed squarely at the theme of the United Nations General Assembly itself, which is focused on climate change and reducing emissions.
Trump then launched into a critique of China, from a seemingly academic perspective, but then strictly speculative- delving into the complexities of the trade war. The effect of the trade war has been favorable, according to Trump, due to reinvestment in the United States after intense tariffs placed on China, which are, in effect, paid by Americans.
Then Trump began discussing Iran, in terms of extreme language, regarding Iran as the “leader in funding terrorism”. According Trump, in the interest of protecting America, the USA exited the “very bad” Iranian nuclear deal, which was designed to remove nuclear powers from Iran. Trump has opted for an approach of economic sanctions. Going for a scenic route, Trump described daily life in Iran as being punctuated by “ritual chants” of “death to America”. This is a switch from last year’s speech, in which Trump described North Korea as the most significant threat to America. Trump then requested Iran’s leaders to “step down”.
Speaking to the right to border protection- a very hot topic domestically-, Trump made a surprisingly direct appeal to anyone listening that is thinking about migrating: “Do not pay the smugglers, do not pay the coyotes, do not put yourself in danger, or children in danger. You will not be allowed in.” It was a stern message- very intensely delivered, and seemingly in direct opposition to the United Nations’ mission and Sustainable Development Goals.
Trump then continued into a difficult to interpret mix of complaints that touched on socialism (“American will never be Socialist”), a conspiracy-tinged remark on the “destructive” power of social media (specifically guided by the leadership of an “invisible bureaucracy”) and the apparent silencing of free speech of Americans. This then went into a right to self-defense statement until suddenly jumping to the topic of LGBTQ and women’s rights.