Other world leaders laughed Tuesday when President Donald Trump began his UN General Assembly address by saying his administration has accomplished more than perhaps any in U.S. history.
Trump smiled wide and looked around the hall as the laughter continued.
“Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK,” he said.
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The moment was chock full of irony because Trump — as both a candidate and as president — has frequently contended his predecessors’ policies have led to other countries collectively laughing at America.
One foreign policy analyst sensed a different atmosphere would take over the General Assembly hall than the tense one during Trump’s first UN address last year.
Jon Alterman, senior vice president of the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies said Thursday “this is a different mood than there was last year [when] there was a tremendous amount of uncertainty about what President Trump would be like and what he would do and how to talk to him.”
“I think a lot of leaders actually stayed away last year because they were afraid of getting caught somehow between not wanting to offend President Trump, but not wanting to do anything with President Trump would get them in trouble with the voters at home,” Alterman said. “I think people have sort of figured out how to deal with that.”
The laughter returned later when Trump turned to global energy prices.
“The United States stands ready to export our abundant, affordable supply of oil, clean coal and natural gas. OPEC — and OPEC nations — are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the world,” Trump said. “And I don’t like it. Nobody should like it.”
After the laughter, Trump demanded the organization starting “lowering prices” and contributing more to “military protection” provided by the United States.