In his first address to the global body, Trump sought to assure world leaders that the U.S. would remain committed to the U.N. But he said that Washington would not seek to impose American values or institutions on the rest of the world.
“We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions or even systems of government,” Trump said. “But we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties. To respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.”
The U.S., he said, would not seek to intervene in other countries’ affairs, and should instead stand as a “shining example” for the rest of the world.
“The United States will forever be a great friend to the world and especially its allies,” Trump said. “But we can no longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal, where the United States gets nothing in return. As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interest above all else.”
Trump faces high stakes in his speech before the U.N., where he’s charged with selling his “America first” agenda to world leaders, many of whom have chafed at his criticism of international institutions and agreements.
In the day before he took the podium at the body’s headquarters in New York, Trump met with foreign leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron.